The Principality of Monaco has an area of only 1,95 sq.km., and is officially divided into five districts (also known as the quarters).
Monaco-Ville (aka La Rocher, or the Rocks) is a historic center of the city, where the Prince’s Palace, the main Cathedral, and the famous Oceanographic Museum are located.
Area around the main port of the Principality (the Port Hercules) is the Condamine district. Monte-Carlo district is a center of attraction for tourists and shopping lovers, and the Casino, the Opera, the main five-star hotels, and the famous brands boutiques are located there.
Larvotto is the closest district to the Mediterranean Sea and the beach.
Fontieville is the district to the left from the Monaco-Ville; it was artificially created in the second half of the twentieth century. The circus, the rosary, the helicopter deck, the stadium, and a big shopping center with Carrefour hypermarket are all here.
La Russe district extends towards Italy; Jardin Exotique is in the upper part of the Principality, it has got a namesake park with exotic plants and a cozy children’s park named after Princess Antoinette. These are quiet districts of Monaco, and tourists are rare here.
If you are new to Monaco, we highly recommend stopping by the main Office of Toursim of the Principality – Office du Tourisme at the Casino bus stop (2а, boulevard des Moulins), and stock up with various maps and brochures in various languages for free. The Ministry of Tourism has published the maps for all tastes, including a special one with all the elevators, and pedestrian ways between the streets – don’t learn those the hard way!
Here is an example of a map from the Ministry of Tourism website which is better than the omnipresent Google maps…
My favorite district of the Principality to live in is Jardin Exotique / Bv. de Belgique, where in fact, we live right now. I like it a lot because it is quiet (and this is important in Monaco), beautiful, cozy and green with the major parks across the street.
I personally also like some parts of Fontvieille for the same reasons: next to the sea it’s quiet, beautiful, cozy; however many people believe that it is far away from everything, and complain that this is an artificial land, and that there are too many industrial enterprises in the district. Yet, at the same time, these people do not live here, while those who do (including one of the Prince’s sisters) are quite happy and satisfied.
Typically, the Condamine dwellers complain most. Next to the Port Hercules, on the one hand, you are in the focus, everything is very close, and all the means of transportation are at your disposal. On the other hand, all the means of transportation are here, as well as the crowds of tourists, and old buildings. Stay here if you do not mind the constant noise and bustle.
The Monaco-Ville dwellers face the same problems. They have the Prince, the Palace, the Cathedral, the Oceanographic Museum close by; all the streets breath in history; and the view is breathtaking. At the same time, every day, except for some short seasonal breaks, crowds of tourists pass by their house from morning until night. Moreover, all infrastructure, such as big groceries stores and sport clubs, are down there…
If you want to be in the center of events, and have breakfast at the Café de Paris, then the Monte-Carlo district is the one for you. It is convenient for life, though maybe a bit noisy. Many long-term residents gradually migrate toward the Larvotto beach district at the Princess Grace Avenue, getting apartments at the buildings that overlook the sea. No need to explain why, right? 😀
Which Monaco district do you prefer and why? Share with us!