From museums to religious buildings, theatres, operas and festivals, the Principality of Monaco is full of buildings and cultural events of all kinds. Discover the cultural diversity of an inspired and inspiring principality.
Better known as the Prince’s Palace, the Palace of Monaco has been the official residence of the Prince of Monaco since 1927. Built in 1191, the building sits atop the Rock of Monaco, the oldest district of the principality. The Rock rises almost sixty metres above the deep blue sea. Originally built to become a fortress of the Republic of Genoa, the palace has today become a strong symbol and the residence of Prince Albert II of Monaco.
The Opéra de Monte-Carlo, just like the Casino de Monte, was designed by the architect Charles Garnier and was inaugurated on 25 January 1879 with a performance by Sarah Bernhardt. She was one of the most influential French actresses of the 19th century. Renovated for many years in the early 2000s, the Monte-Carlo Opera was once again opened to the public in November 2005, with a performance devoted to Gioachino Rossini’s Le Voyage à Reims. Many 20th century artists have also contributed to the reputation of the hall, including Pablo Picasso, Léon Barsacq and Léon Zack.
The Yacht Club de Monaco is the very place where elegance blends with yachting. Its architecture, worthy of a luxurious vessel of the seas, houses sumptuous salons, theatres for prestigious ceremonies, private parties and other official presentations. It was founded in 1953 as a nautical club. Nowadays, the club has nearly 1600 members and brings together owners of classic and modern boats, motor-yachts or pleasure and regatta sailboats. The club has been chaired by Prince Albert II since 1984.
Other sites and monuments in Monaco: Hôtel de Paris, Port Hercule, Port de Fontvieille, Louis II Stadium, Port Hercule, Port de Fontvieille, Casino de Monte-Carlo, Exotic Garden, Japanese Garden.
Launched in 1974 by Prince Rainier III, the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo takes place every year in January and presents a selection of the best circus acts from around the world. Alongside these acts, awards are presented during a gala evening to celebrate the best performances (Gold Clowns, Silver Clowns and Bronze Clowns).
The Monte-Carlo Television Festival has been held every year in June since 1961. The members of the jury decide on the works in competition at the Grimaldi Forum. The festival is open to the public and allows its audience to meet international celebrities. Like the Césars or the Oscars, the Golden Nymphs ceremony honours the winners of the best TV programmes from all over the world.
The Monaco International Motor Show has been held since 2017 and is organised under the patronage of Prince Albert II. The show’s special feature is to highlight electric and hydrogen hybrid cars, while giving special attention to luxury cars. The show is located in Monaco’s Port Hercule and attracts more than fifty car brands.
Other festivals and events in Monaco: Monaco Film Festival, Imagina, Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo, World Music Awards, Monaco Automobile Grand Prix, Monaco International Clubbing Show.
It is impossible not to notice the Oceanographic Musum of Monaco. Perched at the top of the Rock, on a cliffside, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is the most imposing and fascinating building in the Principality, along with the Palace of Monaco. It is a museum of the sea founded in 1889 by Prince Albert I of Monaco and inaugurated in 1910. Nowadays, the museum is made up of ninety basins and houses no less than three hundred and fifty species of fish.
The Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology of Monaco is built in the heart of the Exotic Garden of Monaco, alongside the Observatory Cave and the new Villa Paloma National Museum. It is the oldest scientific institution in Monaco. The museum was founded by Prince Albert I of Monaco in 1902 and it boasts a wealth of collections, including a skeleton of a Siberian mammoth.
Prince Rainier III inaugurated this new theatre, formerly the Fine Arts Theatre, on 17 December 1981 on the wishes of Princess Grace, who wanted to revive the theatre of comedy in Monaco. Today, the Théâtre Princess Grace is frequented by many artists and it is a valued place which contributes greatly to the cultural influence of the Principality.
Other theatres and museums in Monaco: Stamp and Coin Museum, New National Museum of Monaco, Museum of Old Monaco, Naval Museum, Theatre of the Muses, Theatre of Fort Antoine.
A Romano-Byzantine building constructed in Monaco in 1903 under the reign of Charles III, the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate of Monaco is the main church of the Monegasque archdiocese. The cathedra lis an essential element of the Principality’s identity and, according to Prince Albert II, it is “the symbol of a strong attachment to our roots and our Christian faith.” The cathedral is located on the Rock of Monaco and hosts the pontifical offices during major religious festivals.
First built as a Jesuit church at the beginning of the 20th century, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Monaco became a parish church in 1965. The church is a Catholic religious building and part of the Sacré-Cœur Saint-Martin parish. It is located in the “Les Moneghetti” district and it underwent renovation work in 2013 with the support of to the Prince’s Government.
The Saint-Charles Church is a parish church built in the centre of the principality by Prince Charles III at the end of the 19th century in place of the former St. Lawrence Chapel. It is shaped like a Latin cross and it is a reconstruction of the French Renaissance style, designed by Charles Lernormand. He is also the architect of the Notre-Dame-Immaculée Cathedral of Monaco and the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice.
Other religious buildings in Monaco: Saint-Jean-Baptiste Palatine Chapel, Sainte-Dévote Church, Saint-Martin Church, Saint-Nicolas de Fontvieille Church, Saint Paul’s Church, Annunciation Chapel, Sainte-Thérèse de Monaco Church, Monaco Mercy Chapel, Franciscans Chapel, Saint-Honoré Chapel, Visitation Chapel, Notre-Dame de Lorette Chapel, Monaco Synagogue, Protestant Temple, Antoinist Temple.