Monaco’s art scene is gearing up for an eclectic calendar of events
Even mundane national statistics take on an air of glamour when you’re talking about Monaco. Unemployment rate? Zero. Tax rate? Zero. Number of millionaires per capita? Highest in the world, at 30 percent of its 37,800 residents. Real estate? The world’s most expensive, at $5,300 to $5,900 per square foot. That’s a lot of luxury packed into 499 acres—half the size of New York’s Central Park. But for all of its wealth and luxe reputation, Monaco is welcoming to more than 300,000 visitors annually.
“Since it’s situated in the Southern Alps, I like to think of Monaco as having Southern hospitality,” says Cindy Hoddeson of the Monaco Government Tourist Office. “It's a very international population. Almost everyone speaks French, English and Italian.”
Of course, Monaco hosts the most prestigious Formula 1 race, the Monaco Grand Prix, and it’s home to the extravagant James Bond favorite, Casino de Monte-Carlo. But perhaps less well known is that Monaco has always been a cultural paradise of festivals, music, art exhibitions and galas.
The summer offers an eclectic calendar of events that adds to its allure as one of the most sought-after destinations offering visitors a memorable experience. July’s activities kick off with the Monte-Carlo International Musical Fireworks Competition, which attracts thousands to Port Hercule to view stunning firework displays. Once night falls during the summer, Monte-Carlo sparkles even brighter with fabulous summer concerts at the exclusive Salle des Etoiles of the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club. And what could be better than to escape under the stars as you sit in the main courtyard of the Princely Palace and listen to the music of the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra?
In addition, this summer Monaco offers two major art exhibitions: the Grimaldi Forum’s “Francis Bacon, Monaco and French Culture,” which will be on display from July 2–Sept. 4 and explores his Monegasque period; and the New National Museum’s celebration of the late American sculptor Duane Hanson at Villa Paloma until Aug. 28.
“Monaco is so small, exploring by foot is one of the best ways to see it,” Hoddeson adds. “For people attracted to the story of Princess Grace, the American who found her prince, one can take a self-guided tour that stops at points of interest in her life.” Every visitor should also tour the Oceanographic Museum, founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I and home to Jacques Cousteau, the museum’s director from 1957 to 1988. And perhaps the most royal thing you can experience in Monaco? “Don’t miss the door-to-door helicopter transfer from France’s Nice Airport,” Hoddeson says. “It’s truly special.”