The Palace of Monaco, commonly known as the Prince’s Palace, has been the official residence of the Prince of Monaco since 1297. It is located at the top of the Rock, the oldest district of the Principality, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from sixty metres up.
Built in 1191, originally to become a fortress of the Republic of Genoa, the building has been bombed and besieged by numerous foreign forces throughout its history. The history of the Grimaldis is linked to that of their home as early as 1297. The Grimaldis ruled the Principality as feudal lords and since the 17th century as sovereign princes. While the European rulers built luxurious palaces in Renaissance and Baroque style, the geopolitical situation led to the palace being fortified. The occupation of the place by the Grimaldis is unusual, compared to other European sovereign families, due to the absence of secondary palaces as well as the narrowness of the territory. As a result, this residence was inhabited for more than seven centuries by the Princely Family.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Palace and its occupants became the glamorous, jet set symbol associated with the splendour of Monte Carlo and the French Riviera. At the height of this glamourous period, in 1956, the American film star Grace Kelly became the lady of the Palace after her marriage to Rainier III. Over the years, illustrious characters have passed through or stayed at the Palace: popes, an emperor, kings and queens… It is in the salons of these Grand Apartments that the Prince welcomes his guests at official receptions, as well as Monégasque children at Christmas time.
As for decorations, marvellous floors are found in every room, made in marble marquetry, with the monogram of Prince Rainier III. In addition, cabinets once belonging to François the First and Florentine and Boulle furniture are among the diverse pieces found in the Palace. As for the walls, they are decorated with gold, rich drapes, brocaded or damasked silks, in delicate or strong colours. Numerous paintings hang on the walls too, such as those by Nicolas de Largillière, Hyacinthe Rigaud, Marie Veroust, Philip de Laszlo de Lombos or by contemporary artists. These works often represent Members of the House of Monaco. Usually, the Palace is open to the public for part of the year. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will remain closed until April 2021.