Living the High Life in Monaco - Yachts, Cars & Gourmet Food
By James Drakeford
Monaco is without doubt Europe’s original millionaires’ playground. For those who can all but dream of its glitzy and glamorous lifestyle it is somewhat synonymous with its favourable tax system, its high stake casinos and the suave sophistication of James Bond. Sipping champagne on a luxury yacht, Formula One and roads filled almost exclusively with supercars all year round. And of Hollywood starlet Grace Kelly, and the expectation of rubbing shoulders with millionaires, if not billionaires.
All of these are certainly perks of residing in the cascading hills of the French Riviera; where you can wake up each morning to overlook historical architecture and a stunning waterside setting within eye-shot of Italy. However, life for many of the 25,000 residents is a lot more languid and laidback than the usual clichés perceived during tourist season. You will see housewives perusing the vast array of boutiques and little old ladies nipping out to pick up a baguette for lunch. Friends and business associates mingling in a quaint and quiet restaurant or bar, boasting a surprisingly affordable menu. There is every indication that Monaco has the ambiance of a countryside village – albeit a sophisticated, elegant and luxurious village at that.
True, you are still likely to see the occasional designer dog escorted through the famous Golden Circle in a Hermes or Balenciaga handbag in the same manner that at some point a young teenager is likely to emerge from the Monte Carlo Casino with his father, clad in the finest linen that Hugo Boss probably hasn’t even hung out on the racks yet. The startling contrast between the two only adds to the endearing nature of this magical location.
Live the High Life
It is no coincidence that the rise in profile of Monaco as a playground for the rich and famous coincided with the introduction of its gambling industry in the mid-19th Century. There is something about the opulent façade designed by Jules Dutrou and Charles Garnier (the architect who had designed the Paris Opera House now known as the Palais Garnier) that is alluring; while on the inside the spin of the roulette wheel and the sound of the slot machines are sure to fill each and every one of you with an incomparable excitement.
Unlike the casinos of Las Vegas where every inch of floor space is money, Monte Carlo Casino is comfortably spacious. During the day Monte Carlo Casino is something of a tourist attraction and its clientele can often resemble a bingo hall in Blackpool and crowds assembling around a table to watch those with the nerves of steel take their chances. At night time the casino transforms into the opulent hotspot it has garnered a well-earned reputation for. Make sure you dress smart and wear a jacket otherwise you will be refused entry into the private gaming rooms out the back.
For the gambling novice the minimum bet on the roulette wheel for a 50-50 game of chance (red-or-black; odd-or-even) is €20 while backing numbers carries a minimum bet of €5. You change your money for coloured chips at the table and upon finishing playing you exchange your coloured chips for monetary-valued chips to cash out at the desk. Again, for the novice it is also worth noting that money and chips needs to be played on the table as the croupier cannot take them directly out of your hand.
Food & Drink
Situated in the very heart of Monte-Carlo on the famous Place du Casino, you can retire from the tables and head over the road to the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. Cote Jardin is the perfect setting to admire the sea, the harbour, the famous Rock of Monaco and the palm trees as you enjoy a pot of afternoon tea. Le Bar Americain provides a lively atmosphere to enjoy live music in the evening courtesy of Doctor Gabs’ piano accompanied by the double bass and drums. However, no trip to Monaco is complete without booking a table at Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse, and finding out for yourself why this French and Italian Riviera inspired menu has earned three Michelin stars. Especially if you have won big in the casino and call for a celebration; its wine cellars are among the finest in the world, a prestigious home to almost 600,000 bottles providing a treasure trove in itself.
Alternatively, if you prefer a more private or intimate setting and wish to eat in the comfort of your own living quarters opt for the phenomenal services of Emmanuel Sofonea. With more than 30 years’ experience working as a professional chef, Emmanuel Sofonea provides a high standard of service for a wide variety of occasions; from intimate dinners and cocktail parties to corporate functions. His style of cooking is heavily influenced by the Mediterranean, Fusion Middle Eastern Cuisine and Italian, light, and some Asian. Each dish or appetiser includes nothing but the highest quality produce freshly sourced by Emmanuel himself. His glittering CV boasts many famous clientele from Mr and Mrs Will Smith to Cyndi Lauper, as well as many world renowned CEOs.
Private Yacht Charters with Fraser Yachts
Whether you are in Monaco on business or pleasure there is nothing better than chartering a yacht and taking to the pristine waters of the French Riviera. Take a trip across to Cannes or St Tropez, or go further afield to the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. Alternatively, sit back and soak up the atmosphere – along with the sun’s rays – whilst enjoying all of the action from the Monaco Grand Prix. You will literally have front row seats!
Fraser Yachts is the premier luxury yacht charter company in the world, specialising in the finest private yachts, international destinations and captivating experiences. With hundreds of yachts to choose from and a vast array of options, they can meet all your wishes in terms of budget, number of cabins, location, itinerary, food, activities and crew. Charter yachts offer the ultimate flexibility and personalisation. Their highly experienced team ensures the charters are professionally handled from start to finish for the charters, captains and owners alike. Every single aspect of your vacation can be tailored to your personal preference.
Flights & Transfers
easyJet flies to Nice from 8 UK airports (Bristol, Belfast, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton and Newcastle). Prices start from £23.74 per person (one-way, including taxes and based on two people on the same booking). easyJet flies from London Gatwick airport to Nice up to five times a day, with prices starting from £29.74 per person (one-way, including taxes and based on two people on the same booking). All flights can be booked at www.easyjet.com
WR Chauffeurs Ltd specialise in the rental of cars with drivers on the French Riviera. Created in 2005 by the husband and wife team of Jean Michel and Beatrice, WR Chauffeurs are available 7 days per week 24 hours a day, to provide luxurious and comfortable vehicles and meet all of your expectations. Nice is about 30 minutes away from Monaco by car. For more information please visit www.wrchauffeurs.com
Share this article: