With summer in the Mediterranean looking more and more like a distant dream, armchair travelers should try exploring the principality’s attractions through 360-degree panoramas.
With the Covid-19 pandemic making travel to Monaco—a two-square-kilometer sliver of the French Riviera and the world’s second-smallest country—all but impossible, there’s no better time to check out Monaco 360° for an immersive virtual tour of the city-state.
The tool doesn’t just offer a bird’s-eye perspective on Monaco from multiple viewpoints, but also lets you roam the principality’s major sights. At the Old Town’s Place du Palais Princier, the square in front of the royal Grimaldi family residence, a slider allows online viewers to compare the plaza’s appearance at night and day. And clicking on the lookout beside the Prince’s Palace unveils a nighttime panorama of the city skyline as it fans around the marina at Port Hercules.
Users can marvel at the limestone stalactites and stalagmites inside the Observatory Cave, located 60 meters below ground at the hillside Exotic Garden, or stand on the promenade above Larvotto Beach. Microsites act as gateways for more immersive explorations of attractions and several grand hotels; you can inspect the sea view suites at the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo and take stock of its bars and restaurants, including the three-Michelin-starred Le Louis XV, Alain Ducasse’s flagship venue. Nearby, the swimming pool and Jacuzzi of the Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo spa is a must-see, as is the Winter Garden lobby at the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, whose wrought iron and glass cupola was the work of Gustave Eiffel. And you need not don resort attire to explore the ornate marbled atrium of the Casino de Monte-Carlo and the landmark’s various gaming rooms, such as the domed Salle Europe hung with crystal chandeliers, or the ultra-exclusive Salle Blanche.
Back in the Old Town, don’t forget to tour a Romanesque Revival landmark, the Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate. Take stock of the vaulted nave, then turn your gaze to the crossing or the impressive mosaic ceiling in the choir. It’s also possible to visit spaces not usually open to the public: you can even take the spiral staircase to see the cathedral office and the belfry.
Another microsite lets you wander the cliffside Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, a “palace to the sea” opened in 1910. In case you get lost, a tab labeled “plan” at the upper right-hand corner of the screen displays a dropdown map so you can easily jump between the floors and individual galleries. Don’t miss the life-size model of a 13-meter-long giant squid that washed up on the shores of Newfoundland in 1877 (it’s on the second floor), plus a shark tank and live corals in the basement aquariums. White camera icons in a red box allow virtual visitors to hone in on specific details: these include the Grimaldi coat of arms found a decade ago during restoration works for the museum’s centenary, and the Medusa Chandelier, inspired by a jellyfish discovered in the Strait of Malacca at the turn of the 20th century. Alas, the descriptions on the museum microsite are only in French, but since we’ve all got more time on our hands, we can easily run the text through Google Translate.
Click here to launch Monaco 360°.