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Destination Monaco    
Sat, 15 Apr 2006

Situated beside the sparkling Mediterranean, it has the romance of being a Kingdom and the glamour of being home to an International Jetset. It reeks of allure and tragedy from the lingering aura from Princess Grace, and it reeks of riches and high-rolling adventure from the most famous casino on earth. It is situated in the social centre of the Mediterranean’s Riviera, AND it’s wonderful to visit as a cruising sailor.

On the Mediterranean Sea, yet charmingly tucked into the Maritimes Alps, Monaco is only minutes from both the French and Italian Rivieras. Covering just .76 of a square mile, it has a mere 32,000 inhabitants. But it has every modern convenience and an ideal climate, and a visit is well worthwhile, although don’t go there if you’re on a tight budget. It's worth a visit, even if only to see the line-up of the most luxurious yachts in the world.....

In 1997, the Principality of Monaco celebrated the 700 year reign of the Grimaldi dynasty. It all began on January 8, 1297 when the Guelf François Grimaldi dressed as a Franciscan monk, seized the fortress protecting the famous rock of Monaco and the port of Hercules.

Surmounting the trials and tribulations of history and throughout the dark periods of foreign domination, the Principality has managed to affirm its identity and preserve its independence throughout the centuries due to the wise guidance of its Princes.

The Grimaldi dynasty has bequeathed Lords and then Princes to the Principality, illustrious in their many domains, who wrote the most enticing pages in the history of Monaco. To cite but a few: Rainier I, General Admiral of France; Honore II, the first Prince of Monaco at the origins of the most important treaties with France; Louis I, Ambassador to the Holy See under Louis XIV; Antoine I, grand patron of the arts; Charles III, founder of Monte-Carlo; Albert I, renowned as the father of oceanography; Louis II, the soldier Prince.

Religious and civil traditions have been upheld for centuries in the Principality of Monaco. They are sometimes linked; rites and ceremonies being accompanied by popular festivities, but the former are more firmly anchored in the collective memory of Monégasques than the latter. They are an integral and exclusive part of the social, cultural and moral heritage of the Principality.

If you can find a suitable place to keep your boat, the area is rich with promise. You won’t want to miss a visit to the Monte-Carlo Casino, or a drive by the Princes Palace. There’s the Salle Garnier Opera House – but you may need to book well in advance if you’d like to see a performance. The Oceanographic Museum is rich with naval antiquities and the Monaco Cathedral is exquisite. O and don’t forget that no visit would be complete with seeing the famed Princess Grace’s Rose Garden
The opera, ballet and concerts do operate all year round, but in the summer months there are also some interesting events – the Spring Arts Festival in April-May, the Grand Prix of course in May, and the International Fireworks Festibal in July August. For yachties, of course the ‘must-see’ is the Monaco Yacht Show in September, and, what about even choosing THIS destination to learn to sail?!

There are several marinas, some of which are off limits for berthing for visiting boats.

Port de Fontvielle-Monaco
1 Quai C.Ch Rey, 98000 Monaco
Tel:+377 9315 8569, Fax:+377 9315 3712
This is THE place to see and be seen! Port Fontvielle-Monaco is a private port and there is not usually any space available for visitors.

Most yachts will need to berth in the public port:
Porte de Monaco
Quai Antonine 1er, 98000 Monaco
Tel:+377 9315 8577, Fax:+377 9350 2483, VHF Channel 16,12
Water, electricity, toilets, showers, 20 ton crane, repairs.
The pontoons are to port, in the NW area of the harbour. Call on VHF 12 for instructions. The shelter is good.

Yacht Club de Monaco
16 Quai Antoine 1er, 9800 Tel:+377 9310 6300
This is a very active club, with facilities for a wide range of sailing activities – and where better to have your children learn to sail?

Phone Weather : Tel 0836 680806 for up to date local forecasts

For more information about Monaco, please visit

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by Cruising Editor

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