Front of the Grand Casino I Monte Carlo, Monaco
It's impossible not to recognize the facade of Monte Carlo casino, whether from European travel guides or James Bond movies. Walk inside and have a look around at its ornate marble atrium. Play a hand of blackjack. Or simply stay near the entrance and gawk at the long line of Lamborghinis and Maseratis the valet attendant is busy parking.
The Prince's Palace of Monaco, the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, in Monte Carlo, Monaco
The only thing more rewarding than ascending the hill where Monaco's resplendent Prince's Palace sits? The view you enjoy from the top, whether of Monte Carlo's iconic yacht port beneath, France's Cote d'Azur to your west and the start of Italy's Ligurian coast to your right. Now that's a view fit for a prince or princess.
While many of Monaco's most popular to-do's involve glitz and glamour, the simplicity of Larvotto Beach remains more or less as nature intended. The beach is stylishly manicured, of course, with dramatic carmine umbrellas and ivory beach chair covers. Plus, the martinis and wines on offer here are no more expensive than on any other European beach.
Despite the island's reputation for extravagance, residents of Monaco are famously modest about their food. While it's true that local specialties like stocafi — dried cod cooked in tomato sauce — and socca chickpea pancakes can be found elsewhere in the Mediterranean, this simple cuisine manages to be every bit as elegant as the casino and the yachts.
Monaco's local markets are as delightfully simple as its local food. Condamine Market evokes France's nearby Provence region — head here for handmade goods, including the region's signature lavender products. Cruise to Monte Carlo and head to the Place du Casino or Cercle d'Or if you want to shop with the city's highest rollers for luxury goods such as designer watches, silk scarves and leather shoes.
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