There’s something about those big red buses travelling around Monaco that is so appealing. Even as residents of Monaco we are tempted to jump on one from time to time.
Have you ever wanted to tour the whole Principality in one hour – just sit back and relax and let someone else do the driving. And actually learn interesting tidbits about the sights. The other fascinating thing about these buses is that the top level is open-air. A little breeze adds to the charm. These open-air double-deckers used to be nicknamed toast-racks. That is no reference to this year’s hot summer!
There are twelve stops along the way so people who want to take a whole day or two days touring around Monaco, can hop on and off the bus at will.
Imagine you start your tour in Port Hercule, North Quay. What are you going to see? Well how about the large yachts and the Grand Prix chicane for starters. First-time visitors will then probably be surprised to encounter the beautiful Japanese Garden, though most, at some point in their life, will have have heard of the Grimaldi centre which flies by next. What an opportunity to learn about the history of the Grimaldi family, whose dynasty has already lasted 700 years.
If it’s Monaco it’s beaches and night life – so the next part of the run takes in Larvotto beach, The Sporting and Jimmy’s night club and the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel. That’s a lot of Monaco in one breath. Of course, everyone wants to see the Crown Jewel of Monaco, not the Palace yet, but Casino Square. The red bus contrasts well passing a parked yellow Lamborghini and a blue Rolls Royce by the Casino. Cafe de Paris, Salle Garnier, Hotel de Paris. Belle Époque, Ritz and Blitz – you can’t beat it. Glimpses of lush gardens and meccas of luxury shopping. This is the Monte Carlo of everyone’s dreams. Casino Royale, James Bond, Aston Martins – it never disappoints.
And then the icing on the cake and the only way to deliver a high at the level of Casino Square. It is the Rock where there in fact lie two jewels including The Palace of Prince Albert II. The other is the Oceanographic Museum, the creation of a visionary Prince. Here, open to the world community swim the fantastic species of the Mediterranean, and the incredible diverse inhabitants of a living coral reef – not to mention a shark lagoon. Now that just gives you a flavour of the tour – less than half of it.
This is the tour that just “keeps on giving”. And luckily there are five of these red “beasties” circulating between 10 am and 5.45pm. So in the summer season, just about every 15 minutes at 12 embarkation points you can hop on and do this one hour super-tour of the Principality for 23 euros. Commentary is available in 8 languages and you will learn fascinating things about Monegasque culture and the fiery ceremony at Sainte Devote; and everyone wants to hear about Princess Grace. Did you know that Monaco is expanding into the sea with one of the most celebrated ecologically-friendly projects in Europe. See this and Fontvieille, the prior expansion into the Mediterranean, atop the Red Bus with a sweet breeze sweeping through your hair.