Destination Spotlight: Monaco and the French Riviera
June 24, 2014
There are countless reasons to head to Europe for a summer vacation. Comedian Eddie Izzard once described the continent as “where the history comes from.” Some of the biggest events in the world, both cultural and sporting, take place in Europe. Of course, there are those who visit for its spectacular outdoors settings, be it skiing in the winter or gorgeous beaches in the summer.
Mitch-Stuart, Inc., loves to send non-profit donors across the Atlantic Ocean via one of our charity auction travel packages, and one of our favorite destinations on the continent is Monaco. The tine principality is the second smallest country in the world (on The Vatican takes up less space), but it fits more fun into its .78 square-mile area than one could possibly imagine. Best of all, it can act as a home base to visit the entire French Riviera, stretching from Toulon to the Italian border.
Within Monaco itself, visitors can find plenty of activities and diversions, but the gambling of Monte Carlo may be the best known. However, anywhere that gambling takes hold, other high-end services follow closely behind, and the dining, shopping and spas of Monaco are world-class. Gamblers have to have something to do when they step away from the tables, after all. It can seem like every restaurant, from the dinner-and-a-view of Le Grill de L’Hotel de Paris to the open kitchen at superstar chef Joel Robuchon’s eponymous eatery, is featured in travel magazines and on cooking television shows.
In addition to the everyday opulence of Monaco, two major events draw thousands to the south of France every year, for very different reasons. The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the world’s most famous car races, having been run 72 times since 1929 and being one of the three races to make up motorsport’s “triple crown” (alongside the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans). It is often preceded on the social calendar by the Cannes Film Festival, one of the world’s biggest – and most important – film festivals. Winners of the top prize at Cannes, the Palme d’Or, include “Pulp Fiction,” “Sex, Lies and Videotape” and “Apocalypse Now,” among other cineaste favorites.
Of course, even stripped of all of those attractions, the French Riviera would still be a major travel destination, thanks to its location. The Spanish coast (including Barcelona and dance-music island haven Ibiza) and Italian cities like Genoa and Livorno are all within close proximity to the Riviera, making the French locale a perfect home base for a southern European adventure. Beaches like Paloma attract jetsetters from around the world, and Saint Tropez is synonymous with luxurious resort living; it turns out being located on the some of the world’s most naturally-beautiful coastline has its advantages.