Monaco is located between the South of France and Italy, right on the Mediterranean Ocean. Monaco is country of monarchy with Prince Albert II as head of state. The country is only about two squared kilometres in area, but still boasts a population of over 30,000 people, making it the most populated country in the world. Monaco is made up of several areas; Monte Carlo, Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Fontvielle and Larvotto Beach.
Monaco is well known for its tax haven status, and has a great deal to do with its exclusivity and appeal. It is also well known for tourism as a playgroud for the rich and famous, with it’s renowned Monte Carlo Casino. The Grand Prix is another major part of Monaco too, but it does boast many other exciting sports and activities.
Monte-Carlo Casino and Opera House
Charles Garnier, the architect of the opera house in Paris, built the Casino in 1878. The “atrium,” paved in marble, is surrounded by 28 Ionic columns in onyx. It leads into the auditorium of the opera, called the “Salle Garnier,” which is decorated in red and gold, with a profusion of bas-reliefs, frescoes and sculptures. Here, for more than a century, outstanding international performances of opera, ballet and concerts have been staged. The “gaming rooms” comprise a succession of numerous rooms featuring stained glass windows, admirable decorations and sculptures, allegorical paintings and bronze lamps.
Sarah Bernhard inaugurated the new Salle Garnier in 1879. Between 1893 and 1951, Raoul Gunsbourg directed the Opera and built fame and prestige for Monaco’s Opera House. Among the best internationally, Monaco’s Opera hosted great voices such as Patti, Tamagno, Melba, Caruso, Chaliapine, Garden, Schipa, Dalla Rizza, Gigli, Lubin, Muzio, Thill, and Pons.
With its international reputation for excellence, this exceptional museum is dedicated to marine science and oceanography. Its collections of marine fauna collected by Monaco’s pioneering Navigator Prince Prince Albert 1 are both invaluable and unique.
Along with its world-famous Aquarium where the rarest species of fish and marine life in many magnificent shapes and colors swim about in 90 pools, offers a grandiose and unique perspective of oceanic life. Its latest installment, the Shark Lagoon, is a giant pool measuring 450 cubic meters, that reveals the diversity and extraordinary coloring of the coral reef and the creatures which populate it.
Built with the stark white stones from La Turbie in 1875, this Roman-Byzantine-style building houses the burial places of past sovereigns, including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.
From the interior design, you can admire an altarpiece by the Niçois painter Louis Bréa dating from 1500 as well as the high alter and the Episcopal throne of Carrara white marble. Pontifical services are held during great liturgical celebrations accompanied by the harmonies of a grand organ with four keyboards, inaugurated in 1976 the magnificence of which permits the organisation of outstanding spiritual concerts. From September to June every Sunday at 10am, mass is sung by the “Les Petits Chanteurs de Monaco” and “Cathedral Choir”.
Guardian of an ancient tradition, this Palace located in a unique setting upon the “Rock” of Monaco,was built on the site of a fortress erected by the Genoese in 1215. Today the splendors of this Palace can be admired by all, such as its Italian-style gallery and its 15th century frescoes; its Louis XVth lounge all in yellow and gold, its blue room, a harmonious blend of glorious blue and gold; its Mazarin room covered with multicoloured wood-panelling; the Throne Room, decorated with an impressive Renaissance fireplace; the Palatine Chapel built in the 17th century; St-Mary’s Tower, built from the white stones of nearby La Turbie; the Main Courtyard and its 17th century Carrara marble double staircase…
This early XVIII century fortress, built on the northeastern tip of Le Rocher “the Rock,” is now used as a marvelous outdoor theater with a capacity of some 350 spectators in tiered seating built in a semi-circle. In this enchanting setting, high quality performances are given during the summer season.
Its military architecture, watchtower and the almost total solitude which can be found there, combine to give it a unique and particular charm. Its stage has been pleasantly arranged with a pyramid of cannon balls at its centre. The military architecture of the fort is emphasised by the pittosporum hedges which serve as protection as there is no parapet.