Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted in Travel | 23 comments

Four go mad in Monaco #thejamesway

Four go mad in Monaco #thejamesway

If you’re a regular reader here then you’ll remember that as part of our family holiday in the South of France recently I planned some day trips that I was really looking forward to – and Monaco was definitely one of them.

The jewel in the Cote d’Azur crown this tiny principality (the second smallest ‘country’ in the World after the Vatican) is the home to the famous road Grand Prix and we set of the day after the race to see the aftermath and hopefully catch a glimpse of the glitz and glamour that it attracts.

Monaco harbour

From our base at Villa Camiole it was only a short one hour drive to Monaco through the beautiful Provence countryside.

Top tip #1: When you’re driving to Monaco make sure you have Euro change handy for the tolls.

Thanks to my superb navigating *ahem* we took a wrong turn while looking for some shady underground parking and found ourselves on the race grid! Woo hoo! The husband was so excited he forgave me instantly and we revelled in the sights and sounds of the clear-up that had started that morning and wouldn’t finish for another three weeks.

Monaco has been home to this spectacular race since 1929 with over 200k spectators and 2000 people helping it to run smoothly.

Pitlane and track by the harbour in Monaco

Pit lane sign

Boats moored in Monaco

Yachts in Monaco harbour

Top tip #2: When you’re sightseeing in the South of France use underground parking so that you have a cool car (and usually some decent toilets) to come back to.

Once we’d finally parked at Condamine (Euro 15,80 for the day and near to some rather special Ferrari’s!) we set off up the hill to the Oceanographic Museum and wonderful little Monaco Tours trains which are located right next to each other.

Monaco Oceanographic Museum

Monaco Tours train

The Little Man’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the bright red train. We jumped on board and set off for a 30 minute trip around Monaco taking in the sights and sounds of the city and learning loads from the on-board commentary.

We passed the Grand Prix circuit, Place du Casino (where James Hunt famously retired by just parking his car and walking into the Casino – so cool), the Old Town, the harbour (built in the early 20th century by Prince Albert I and home to the most expensive yachts in the World) and of course the Royal Palace.

Incidentally there are hidden CCTV cameras everywhere in Monaco – so you have to look your best at all times!

Monaco harbour

Palace in Monaco

Unbelievably while we were on the train I spied a good friend from my PR days, and one of my bridesmaids many moons ago, and after shrieking a bit I uttered the immortal words “we have to do lunch darling!” It felt so appropriate in Monaco! We hastily booked somewhere to meet up for a drink later on.

After the train ride we wandered into the Oceanographic Museum which houses an amazing collection of artifacts and was founded in 1906 by Prince Albert I, a keen oceanographer who led 28 scientific expeditions and had a keen interest in travel and science from an early age.

Oceanographic Museum Monaco

The little people were most interested in the aquarium in the basement so we headed downstairs and marvelled in the wonderful selection of fish, sharks and other stunning sea creatures.

Top tip #3: The aquarium has a good baby change facility if you’re visiting with babies or toddlers.

Little Man's first visit to an aquarium



Moray Eel

Baby jellyfish

Hermit crab

It was lunchtime by this point and with rumbling tummies we took the lift up to the roof terrace for a delicious lunch and the some spectacular views out to sea. There’s also a free fun playground for children to run off any extra energy in the sunshine while you finish your glass of wine!

Salade Nicoise

Hubbies salad

The little people tuck in

Playground on roof at Oceanographic Museum in Monaco

Even the seagulls pose in Monaco!

Posing seagull

Top tip #4: If you visit the Oceanographic Museum have lunch on the terrace – they have the most delicious fresh fish, generous salads, children’s meals and a playground.

After lunch we took the  rather-longer-than-anticipated walk back down the hill and around the bay to Cafe de Paris at Place du Casino for drinks with my friend Caroline, co-owner of Munro Studios who make the most amazing 3D photo realistic CGI’s and cinematic animations. It was so lovely to see her and her fiance and the little people feasted on ice-cream (and played with my phone!) while we chatted in the sunshine.

Curly girl and me at Cafe de Paris

All too soon it was time to head back to our lovely cool car and James Villas home-from-home but we couldn’t resist walking along the pit lane and taking one last long look at the amazing view and million dollar yachts moored in the harbour.

The pit lane in Monaco

Monaco harbour and hills

Linking up with #AllAboutYou at Mama and More, Monday Escapes at My Travel Monkey, Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum, The List at You Baby Me Mummy, Happy Quacks at Mama Duck Quacks


  1. Monaco sounds perfect, and your pictures are stunning (especially the aquarium ones). I always assumed it would be somewhere to visit without children but you’ve proved me wrong!
    Love From Clueless Mum recently posted…

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! The aquarium was amazing and we loved it there x

  2. It looked like such a fun day!! I always thought of Monaco as a bit pretentious but actually it looks really child friendly. Never would have thought. And how serendipitous is it to bump into such an old friend?! I was in Barcelona in 2010 and we went to a random Chinese restaurant. 10 minutes later an old friend I hadn’t seen in about 16 years walked in. Turns out she was backpacking around Europe and happened to walk into the same restaurant. I love “coincidences” like that.
    Thanks for linking up to #happyquacks
    Natasha recently posted…#HappyQuacks Linky Wk 1

  3. I’ve always wanted to go to Monaco! It looks like you had a great time. I love your handy tips too! Xxx
    Catherine recently posted…A Room Fit for a Little Boy

  4. you had me at Monoco but then The Aquarium won my heart! What a fab trips and thanks for the tips – I never have any change in my purse and you’re so right about the underground parking, essential unless you want to be burnt by the belt buckle!!! Looks wonderful and I love that last photo of you, you stunner! Can’t wait to finally meet you on Friday 😀 waaaaaa!!!!

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList xx
    Hannah Mums’ Days recently posted…I’m going to Britmums Live 2015

  5. What gorgeous photos and of all the places to bump into someone you know! Haha! It really is a small world after all, huh! x
    Debs @ Super Busy Mum recently posted…Ten!

  6. What a great way of structuring the post with your fab tips running throughout! Sounds like you had a brilliant time away hon. I’ve never fancied Monaco to be honest, but it does look lovely xx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…It’s Official. She’s on the Spectrum. Now What?

    • Thanks Renee I wish I’d known some of these things years ago so happy to share my experience with others! And Monaco was actually more family friendly than I expected :)

    • We love aquariums too – reminds me of my scuba diving days before the little people came along :) Thank you for your kind words too x

  7. I love this post as it so full of fab photos and ideas but insanely jealous that you got to go to such a fab place – added to my bucket list! Pinning to our travel inspiration board too.
    megan – Truly Madly Kids recently posted…A go-to guide for Father’s Day

  8. Really fab post Michelle! Love your tips – very helpful. Love how you managed to swerve an angry driver hubby by directing straight onto the Grand Prix track – genius. I love F1 so would be fab to go to Monaco. It’s definitely somewhere I need to experience. How funny you bumped into your friend…such a small world. #thelist

  9. I loved reading this! And seeing your gorgeous sunny photos has made me just a teeny bit jealous, haha! x

  10. I have always, always wanted to go to Monaco! And see the grand prix. So exciting that you got to go in the aftermath, I bet the atmosphere was electric still. And love the fact that you bumped into your friends – what a small world! Some really great tips here Michelle and fabulous photos daaaarling! xx Thanks so much for linking up with #MondayEscapes
    Ting at My Travel Monkey recently posted…A Sunny Day Out at National Trust’s Claremont Landscape Gardens

    • You would love it Ting! It was still buzzing, if a little hectic with lorries and trailers packing up everywhere. Still so much fun though. Thanks for your lovely comments too and for hosting your fab linky! x

  11. I see someone ordered a salade niçoise! I hope it was good. We love the Musée Océanographique and make sure we go there at least once a year or if there’s a new exhibition on we want to see. To celebrate its centenary a few years back there was an amazing Damien Hirst expo there which was a great place to see his “art” in amongst real scientific samples of dead animals!
    Phoebe @ Lou Messugo recently posted…Guadeloupe: The Caribbean Butterfly

    • I did! Your post whet my appetite for it and it was delicious! The Museum was so fun – would love to go back x

  12. Beautiful photos. We’ve been to Monaco pre-kids and loved it. But didn’t realise there was stuff to do with kids too. Might have to make another trip very soon.
    Nomita | Ebabee recently posted…Gorgeous Summer knitwear

    • Thank you Nominta – yes the kids really loved the train and aquarium and the sights and sounds of the harbour too x

  13. Wonderful photos Michelle! I love that you bumped into an old friend – isn’t it weird when that happens?! Glad you had such a lovely time x

    • Thanks Kate! I know it was one of those serendipitous moments that happen very rarely but we embraced it with both hands and it was so lovely spending time together in the Monaco sunshine :)



  1. Monday Escapes #4 - My Travel Monkey - […] Four Go Mad in Monaco – Bod For Tea […]
  2. Beaches, islands and film festivals - living #thejamesway - Bod for tea - […] the glitz and glamour of Monaco we wanted to spend some time exploring other parts of the Côte d’Azur and, …

Leave a comment

Awards for Bod for tea


Post archives