Racing through Monaco

Grand Prix race carSince 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been one of the world’s most prestigious auto races. On May 26, Formula One drivers will again race through the narrow streets of Monaco – the tiny, wealthy principality perched on a mountainside between France and the Mediterranean, just a few miles west of the border with Italy – in hopes of taking the checkered flag.

The narrow course – steep at times, with tight turns and a tunnel to navigate – is considered by many to be the ultimate test of Formula One driving skills. ┬áTickets to watch the qualifying runs and the race itself traditionally sell out in advance. At last check, a few tickets were still available for this year’s race, although the best seats have long been sold out. But some of the luckiest guests at the seaside Fairmont Hotel have one of the race’s best vantage points – rooms overlooking one of the notorious hairpin turns.

Even if you’re not able to see much of the actual race, the Formula One weekend is an especially exciting time to visit glamorous Monaco, a principality that occupies less than one square mile of the French Riviera.

Monaco has a lovely harbor full of sleek yachts – you may be surprised that only two participants in the Monaco Grand Prix have crashed their cars into the harbor, as there is certainly the potential for more. Monaco’s Old Town, located on a promontory known as “The Rock,” includes the royal place and government building, as well as the Oceanographic Museum. The centerpiece of Monaco, however, is the glittering Casino de Monte Carlo, a setting that may seem familiar to you from its many television and movie appearances.

In addition to the Old Town and the casino complex , tiny Monaco has room for a number of high-end hotels, beautiful gardens, a cathedral, and exclusive boutiques. For more moderately-priced accommodations, it’s probably best to step across the border into Beausoleil or one of the other French towns adjacent to Monaco.

During your stay, you might enjoy a musical performance at the Opera de Monte-Carlo or the new Grimaldi Forum convention center. You could sun yourself at Lavotto Beach, enjoy fresh seafood or gourmet French fare, or dance all night at a club or piano bar.Grand Prix of Monaco

For more information on getting to Monaco (many visitors fly into Nice and take a train or 7-minute helicopter ride to Monte Carlo), securing a hotel room and perhaps even some Grand Prix tickets, talk with your travel professional.

Article courtesy of Travel Leaders

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Copyright © Margaret Owen, Cruise Pro