When you travel to the Côte d’Azur in the south of France, you might decide to go to Monaco because you’ve heard that’s where all the rich and famous go. Should you take short excursion to Monte Carlo and gamble?
Technically, Monaco is a country and not part of France. You won’t need to show your passport to get into the country, but you will need it to gamble in Monte Carlo, which is a district within Monaco.
Monaco WAS NOT originally thought of as THE place where the rich would hang out. The Casino de Monte-Carlo was actually created in the 1800s to help the Principality of Monaco bring in more revenue after two nearby towns, Roquebrune and Menton declared independence and refused to pay any more taxes.
My Visits To Monte Carlo:
Although significant development has taken place in Monaco with real estate costing a fortune and many high rises, in terms of appearance, not a lot has changed in the casino square. It’s still full of expensive autos like Ferraris, Maseratis, and Lamborghinis and there is still a magnificent view of the Mediterranean.
As I mentioned in my last post (Dear Dad: Thank You For Taking Me To France), my dad and I were able to walk straight into the casino, without showing, as I recall, our passports, although one had to be 21 years of age. I wasn’t. Dad basically snuck me in.
We played the slot machines but didn’t have the courage to do any of the other games and to be honest, gambling wasn’t that exciting. What I do recall, however, was being able to see the beautiful architecture inside. It was elaborate.
A Few Years Ago
When I travelled with 4 other women to the Cote d’Azur we rented a house on the outskirts of Nice. [It was beautiful with a pool but I wouldn’t do that again. It wasn’t in an area with enough stores, restaurants, or activities.] One night we headed to Monaco. We arrived late in the afternoon and only had a little time to visit a few high-end boutiques. We then headed to the casino but we didn’t stay long. We just did a bit of gambling and then had a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant. On this occasion visiting, passports were required.
I have been back to Monaco numerous times between 1978 and 2008 and to be honest daytime is much more interesting than night time. There is the palace, the changing of the guards, the gardens, and the Oceanographic Museum. Had we arrived earlier, we could have seen much more of Monaco and gotten more photo-ops.
So is it worth gambling or even visiting the Casino?
Couple of things to help you decide:
- you must be over 18 and not be banned from gambling (they have lists of those who are banned.)
- wear proper attire. The website states: no shorts or sports shoes. And you certainly won’t be let in if you are wearing flip flops! After 8 pm, jackets are recommended.
- you’ll need your passport
- cost to enter: 10 Euros
- cost to enter the private gambling rooms: an additional 10 Euros
- architecture is stunning. It is NOT like a casino in Vegas
- consider having a drink at the bar
- depending what time of day you go, it might not be that busy; therefore, the atmosphere in the casino will be dull, to say the least. There may be a number of tables which are closed. Not a lot of action going on.
Knowing this, would I go if I had never been? Yes. But I would go at night when it is busier and I would visit more than just the casino in Monaco as there is much to see.