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  Age on Sunday   09 Jul 2017  Living the good life

Living the good life

THE ASIAN AGE. | SOPHIE CHOUDRY
Published : Jul 9, 2017, 6:50 am IST
Updated : Jul 9, 2017, 6:51 am IST

While Monaco might be the world’s second-smallest country squeezed into just 200 hectares, it makes up for the size with its larger than life attitude

Opéra de Monte-Carlo
 Opéra de Monte-Carlo

Monaco is a small independent city-state on France’s Mediterranean coastline known for its high-end glamour, nightclubs, yacht-lined harbour and  the prestigious Grand Prix motor race. Squeezed into just 200 hectares, this principality might be the world’s second-smallest country (with the Vatican City being the world’s smallest country measuring a mere 0.2 square metres), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in attitude. This year was my third visit to Monaco. The first time I visited the country was way back when I was still in college with my friends and we drove from London to the South of France. This year, I visited as the face of an international alcohol brand to witness the Grand Prix.

Vue Larvotto

Vue Larvotto

The annual Formula 1 Grand Prix is held every year in May. The Grand Prix weekend is all about two things: insane amounts of partying, the race, the adrenaline and the noise of the cars. I was fortunate enough to meet Finnish professional racing driver Mika Hakkinen over dinner and also met current world champion Nico Rosberg. We then went out to the hotspots like Jimmy’s, the Meridian sundown party, Sass Cafe and more. Did you know that a magnet for high rollers and hedonists since the early 20th century, Monaco is also one of the world’s most notorious tax havens? (Residents pay no income tax) Well, due to its prodigious wealth, Monaco is also an ode to concrete and glass, dominated by high-rise hotels and apartment blocks that rise into the hills like ranks of dominos, not to mention an utterly bewildering street layout that seems solely designed to confound lowly pedestrians.

Princess Grace Rose Garden

Princess Grace Rose Garden

In Côte d’Azur, the water is as blue as you can imagine and even though it’s a tiny city, there is much to see and enjoy. The old Hotel de Paris Monaco is incredibly famous for its style, old world charm, and glamour as is L’Hermitage. All around there are beautiful designs and unique boutiques as well as cafés. The harbour itself is beautiful with the most high-end, stunning yachts you will ever see. If there is something you must absolutely do when visiting Monaco, it is to chill by a yatch. Then, of course, there is the palace, the Princess Grace Rose Garden, and other such beautiful spots you could visit. Monaco is an electrifying combination of fun, sports, and glamour — things that one can never get tired of.

A must thing to do:
You can see the best of the Principality of Monaco on a hop-on-hop-off tour by open-top minibusses. See Monaco’s top attractions, including the Cathedral of Monaco and the Monte Carlo Casino.

France

With regular departures and the option of either a one or two-day ticket, this hop-on-hop-off tour is the perfect way to explore Monaco independently

— The writer is an actress, singer and former VJ

Tags: monaco, mediterranean, vatican city