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Monaco France Attractions

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Unless you love motor racing, do not go to Monaco during the last week of May as that is when cars race around the town and you will not be able to do any sightseeing unless you have a ticket. Even if you do, the streets are lined with spectators, making movement impossible.

The rest of the year is more peaceful but you will find that Monaco is always packed with the rich and famous, the aristos and the nouveau riche, because residents (whether part of the 16% of true Monegasques, or non French) do not pay any income tax.

http://www.monaco tourisme.comhttp://www.monaco Official tourist site for Monaco.

Retail tycoons, football club owners and software empire owners gather here to outdo each other on the size of their yachts, how many helipads these colossal vessels have, and whether or not they are too big to fit into the recently enlarged port. When the sun goes down they head into the part of Monaco known as Monte Carlo and dine in exclusive surroundings (even the cafés can be €100 a head for dinner) before being seen in all the right places. Wealth is certainly a prerequisite and there are ostentatious displays of it everywhere, from the cars parked outside the casino, to the jewels on Fifi the miniature poodle's collar.

Monaco is only two kilometres long and covers less than two square kilometres, but it certainly packs in the tourist traps. The old town may seem like an endless stream of souvenir shops but gems like the Musée de la Chapelle de la Visitation (€3) has rare religious artwork by Vermeer and others by Rubens and Rivera. In the basement of the Musée Océanographique the aquarium (€11) is worth a look for its weird and wonderful fishes.

Staying the night in Monaco leaves the normal human being with only two options. If you have a spare €700 or so and a Mercedes convertible you can rock up to the Hôtel de Paris next door to the casino, relax in your marina view room whilst enjoying the complimentary seasonal fruits, and then try not to spend too much money on dinner at the Café de Paris. (It is difficult to tuck in when stick thin supermodels adorn the next table anyway.) Alternatively, you can stay just over the border in Beausoleil, or in La Condamine where hotels such as the Villa Boeri at 29 boulevard du Général Leclerc (93 78 38 10) offer accommodation at a stone's throw away from Monte for a mere €40 55 or so per night.

Bare feet or chests and swimwear are illegal in the state of Monaco unless you are on the beach. As the beaches are private, stony or filled with beautiful young rich people, it is probably sensible to steer clear of them and sunbathe on the less inhibiting beaches at Cannes.