Travel - Head south for a high-rolling weekend in Monaco

My sisters and I are trying to organise a surprise holiday for our parents for their anniversary. We were thinking of the south of France and preferably a location that is in close proximity to a city so that they could take a day-trip. Where would you recommend and what is there to do in the locality?

My sisters and I are trying to organise a surprise holiday for our parents for their anniversary. We were thinking of the south of France and preferably a location that is in close proximity to a city so that they could take a day-trip. Where would you recommend and what is there to do in the locality?

If your parents like to keep busy, I would recommend booking a trip to Monaco. This is the ideal base to explore the wider area of the Côte d’Azur. The Principality of Monaco needs no introduction; famed for its Grand Prix, Casinos and royal family, this glamorous destination is sure to make the perfect anniversary gift!

Monaco is divided into three different areas, Monaco-Ville, Monte-Carlo and La Condamine. Monaco-Ville is situated on high ground but can be accessed by road, public transport or on foot by means of a series of steps which leads up to the front of the Prince’s Palace. These steps can be quite draining but the view along the way up is most certainly worth it. Tours can be taken of the palace – usually costing about €7 per adult. There is a spectacular view from the cathedral which overlooks the sea. Visitors to the cathedral can also view the burial grounds of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.

Monte-Carlo is best known for its famous visitors and its high living standards. Ferrari, Porsche and Bentley are amongst the quality of cars seen cruising through the streets and parked outside the internationally-renowned Casino Monte Carlo, indicating the high calibre of client that the casino attracts. The capital city of Monaco also hosts luxury hotels and a whole host of places to dine.

Monte-Carlo is also home to some of the most famous luxury brands in what is known as the Golden Circle. Probably an area most used for window shopping, it offers the latest products from fashion gods such as Hermès, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Prada and many more.

La Condamine is the port area which includes a fascinating harbour, complete with an impressive line-up of cruise ships. If shopping is an interest, La Condamine boasts 200 shops which are located in an area full of character

around the traditional market at Port Hercule.

On the food front, Monaco doesn’t disappoint. There is a whole host of places to eat. From brasseries and Italian to Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, there are options to suit every appetite and every budget.

Monaco is easily accessible by means of public transport routes. Nice is home to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, France’s third-busiest airport (after Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Paris-Orly). Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus run frequent flights departing from Dublin. Aer Lingus also fly from Cork Airport.

Public transport in the area is reliable and budget-friendly. The local train will take you from Nice airport into the heart of Monaco. Cannes can be found further along the track but in the opposite direction. It offers more shopping, site-seeing and cultural activities. So the entire area is action packed with things to do and places to go! Note, although Monaco is not in the EU, it does use the Euro currency.

Where to stay:

Hotel Napoléon(**)

Prices start from €84 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This two-star hotel is close to all the major sites such as the Casino Monte Carlo and the Monaco harbour. All rooms have air conditioning, wireless internet, satellite TV and room service.

Adagio City Aparthotel Monte Cristo (***)

Prices start from €129 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

This three-star hotel is close to the harbour in Monaco and also the world famous Casino Monte Carlo. Wireless Internet access is complimentary in public areas and they also offer complimentary newspapers in the lobby. All rooms have kitchenettes with microwaves, refrigerators, dishwashers, and separate dining areas.

Quai Des Princes Residence Hotel (****)

Prices start from €157 per room per night on Hotels.com

*Prices are subject to availability at the time of booking

Situated near the beach in the heart of Cap d’Ail, Quai Des Princes Residence Hotel has a pool, a health club and a sauna. Rooms feature balconies with sea views and all offer air conditioning, a must have in the summer heat!

For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.hotels.com or call 1800 553 338 to wake up happy on your holiday! Kate