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48 Hours in Monaco: A Luxury Guide

By Paul Joseph

With the 2019 Monaco Yacht Show just over three weeks away, we thought we’d whet the appetites of those planning to attend the prestigious event with a guide on how they can best enjoy their time in the iconic Monaco principality.

From its money-strewn casinos to its luxury fashion and jewellery boutiques to its streets lined with supercars, Monaco’s appeal needs little introduction. But with four full days of perusing the world’s biggest and best superyachts to cram into your schedule, making sure you get to experience luxurious Monaco to its fullest can be a challenging task.

To help ensure you depart the “millionaire’s playground” with no regrets, we’ve curated an exclusive 48-hour itinerary that allows you to enjoy all that Monaco has to offer, including its shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, tourist attractions, and more.

DAY 1

Morning

If you want to fully maximise your time in Monaco, there’s no rest for the wicked. With the show opening its doors at 11am, there’s plenty of time for dedicated early risers to kick off their day with a hearty, leisurely breakfast in one of Monaco’s most luxurious establishments. Our tip is to head to Saphir 24, a cocktail lounge and bar at the Fairmont Monte Carlo Hotel, with its uninterrupted views of the blue ocean as far as the eyes can see. Breakfast comes in one option – a simple continental feast – and, it goes without saying, make sure to sit with it outside.

By 10am you’ll have an hour to wander down to the show for opening and gratefully it’s both a scenic and down-hill walk from the Fairmont. For more stunning vistas, cut down as close to the coastline as you can get and enjoy the tantalising thrill of seeing the specs of dust in the distance crystallise into the world’s finest ocean-going vessels as you get ever closer.

Early afternoon

If you don’t quite make it out of bed for a sit-down breakfast, remember, you’re in France, so you can always get a croissant to go. There are numerous boulangeries and patisseries in Monaco and so wherever you’re staying, you should come across one on foot. For a late breakfast, you could even take your food into the show at Hercule Port. Once inside the gates, you’ll want at least a couple of hours to explore and get your bearings – be sure to upload the MYS app to help you navigate everything on offer.

By 1ish, you may want to escape the mid-afternoon heat. Luckily, with your MYS pass you can duck in and out of the show as many times as you please. Use the opportunity to go for some lunch at a nearby eatery – we’d recommend Chez Edgar, located just off Hercule Port – before heading around the harbour for a quick peek at Fort Antoine, an impressive 18th-century fort. From here, head back indoors for some air-conditioned respite at the Métropole Shopping Center Monte-Carlo, with its beautiful marble set under a magnificent period chandelier and array of luxury boutiques. An hour or so of relaxed retail therapy should reinvigorate you before heading back into the show.

Late afternoon

For 2019, MYS has rejigged its opening hours and now stays open until early evening. This gives you ample time to get around the show and see, not only the luxury yachts on display, but also the Car Deck, an exhibition of classic and customised vehicles on Quai Antoine Ier, and the Tenders & Ttoys area, which showcases a wide range of innovative items in addition to the historical tender exhibition on Quai Jarlan.

Evening

As is the norm on the continent, dinner is a relatively late affair. This give you time to head back to your hotel to slip out of your dock wear and into something a little more evening-appropriate. As for where to eat, you’re spoilt for choice in Monaco, but for a truly memorable meal, we recommend Le Grill, nestled on the top floor of the iconic L’Hôtel de Paris. Le Grill features a dramatic sliding roof that reveals not only the star-lit sky of the Riviera but also panoramic views across Monaco. But it’s the food that draws most people here, with the restaurant owning a coveted Michelin Star.

Into the early hours...

Monaco’s yacht parties are legendary occasions, but almost as renowned are its after-parties, where hedonists keep going into the early hours. If you’re of this type, there are a number of renowned Monaco after- parties you can pick from. One of the best takes place at the La Reserve De La Mala beach club, which holds a nightly after party as well as a closing party at the end of MYS each year. With its own private beach, cocktail bar and restaurant, this is a superb place to let your hair down in a buzzing setting and bring your long day to a fitting finale.

DAY 2

Morning

After yesterday’s exertions, you’ve certainly earned a lie-in. Happily, with the show not opening until 11, you’ll get your chance for some extra shut-eye. But keep that alarm clock on stand-by, as you’ll want to make the most of your second day. Amble down to the show for opening and spend a couple of hours traversing the docks at Hercule Port before the afternoon crowds descend.

Early afternoon

Head to lunch at the one-Michelin star Blue Bay, with its sublime terrace views and fusion of Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisine. Then venture back into the show to catch the Only Watch exhibition of 50 one-off timepieces created by some of the world’s most famous high-end watch brands. The exhibition begins its world tour during MYS, before the watches are auctioned in November to raise money for research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Late afternoon

To round off your two days at MYS, it’s time for a final look around. Take a last chance to speak to the exhibitors and fellow yacht enthusiasts, and enjoy a final glance at the floating temples on display. And if you happen to be on the docks on Saturday and you’ve timed it right, you might even be treated to a famous MYS tradition: the yachts blasting their horns in synch to mark the end of the show.

Evening

If you’ve got the appetite for it, then there really is only once place to go for the ultimate Monaco dining experience. Helmed by legendary executive chef, Alaine Ducasse, Le Louis XV is a regular presence on lists of the world’s top restaurants. Set menus contain every delight from local seafood to caviar, truffles and Monégasque delicacies. What better way to bring to a close your two days in Monaco?

Into the early hours...

Oh, but you’re not quite ready to call it a night? In that case, we suggest moving on to the La Reserve De La Mala beach club for a nightcap or three. The beach club hosts a nightly after party as well as a closing party at the end of MYS each year. With its own private beach, cocktail bar and restaurant, this is a great place to kick back and reminiscence about your two magical days. And if you’re still not ready to head home, there’s always the famous Buddah Bar…

The Monaco Yacht Show takes place from 25-28 September. For more information about the event, including online ticket purchasing, visit the official MYS website.            

By Paul Joseph