A Walk on the Rock – A Trip through the Old Town of Monaco
While the concept of Monaco may evoke images of towering skyscrapers in close proximity to one another on the glamorous shores of the Principality, the various quarters of Monaco vary enormously in architecture and atmosphere.
Amid the scattered rows of luxurious Monaco real estate and glorious yachts, the beauty of Monaco’s Old Town is a hidden jewel in the crown of the French Riviera and sits perched atop a hill between the ports.
Also known as ‘Le Rocher’ or ‘The Rock’, the old town best exemplifies the rich history of the settlement. Moving out of the train station, bear right towards the rock, walking adjacent to the port and passing the fabulous Place d’Armes. Browse the Provencal market held there every morning. The market is the best place for Mediterranean food and a delightful place to sip your morning coffee, partake in local gossip or bask in the sun. Rest your legs and prepare for the climb up the Rampe Majeure, which, albeit a little steep, provides an incredible vista of the harbour and offers an immediate view of the Prince’s Palace.
Following the challenging climb, a golden statue of a monk, who is brandishing a sword and is known to all as “Maliza”, will greet you. The monk, who stormed the Palace in 1297 and founded the ruling dynasty, glimmers from the middle of the Palace Square. Be sure to stay around for the colourful changing of the guard at 11:55am every day for insight into the traditional heritage of the Principality.
Perched above the turquoise Mediterranean Sea, the ancient walls of the Old Town bare secrets that are worthy of the incredible scenery. Amongst the Middle-Aged narrow streets lay spectacles such as the idyllic Place Saint Nicolas, the Chapel of Mercy and Jardins de Saint Martin.
The magnificent Jardins de Saint Martin surround the new Oceanographic Museum and provide incredible panoramas of the harbour and the elegant Monaco real estate that is dotted across the town. Other than the incredible curiosities of the museum – which include the shark lagoon and the fact that its previous manager was Jacques-Yves Cousteau – the Rock offers so much more by way of entertaining attractions. From The Fort Antoine amphitheatre at the tip of the Rock to the Place de la Mairie, with the incredibly quaint Chapelle de la Miséricorde, the Old Town really is the heart of Monaco.
The evening is when the Old Town regains its peaceful character, once the tourists have left. The idyllic streets of rue des Remparts and rue Notre Dame de Lorete, which run from the Palace to the harbour and house some of Monaco’s most luxurious real estate, really begin to flourish. The dusky streets are as romantic as they are magical and we highly recommend incorporating a peaceful stroll into your visit.
Le Rocher, The Rock or the Old Town; whichever appellation you assign to this wondrous place, you’ll be sure to hold it dear to your heart. Like everything in Monaco, it has an enduring charm, which is as beguiling as it is beautiful.