Planning a Trip
Monaco has rail, bus, and highway connections from other coastal cities, especially Nice. Trains arrive every 30 minutes from Cannes, Nice, Menton, and Antibes. For rail information, call tel. 36-35, or visit www.voyages-sncf.com. Monaco's railway station (Gare SNCF) is on avenue Prince Pierre. It's a long walk uphill from the train station to Monte Carlo. If you'd rather take a taxi but can't find one at the station, call tel. 93-15-01-01. You will face no border formalities when entering Monaco from mainland France.
In late 1999, Monaco opened an enormous train station .4km (1/4 mile) east of the old station. This station has three exits on three levels, and if you don't know which exit to use, you might have trouble finding your hotel. Monaco is a confusing place to navigate, so you might want to pick up a free map at the station's tourist office (daily June-Sept 8:30am-7:30pm). Arriving at the Monaco train station after 9pm is like arriving on Wall Street after 9pm -- it's desolate, without a soul on the street. On the bright side, Monaco restaurants serve dinner late, so you can usually get a full meal at least until 11pm.
Frequent bus service (every 15 min.) runs to Nice, Beaulieu, and Menton on line no. 100 of the French bus company Rapides Côte d'Azur (tel. 04-93-85-64-44). The trip from Nice to Monaco by bus takes a half-hour and costs 2.60€ ($3.40) round-trip or 1.30€ ($1.70) one-way. The times and prices are the same to Menton. The easiest place to catch a bus is in front of the gardens that face the Casino, but it also stops in front of the port (on bd. Albert-1er at the Stade Nautique stop) and at several other spots around town.
If you're driving from Nice to Monaco, take N7 northeast. The 19km (12-mile) drive takes about 35 minutes because of heavy traffic; Cannes to Monaco requires about 55 minutes. If driving from Paris, follow A6 to Lyon. In Lyon, take A7 south to Aix-en-Provence and A6 to Monaco.
The Direction du Tourisme et des Congrés office is at 2A bd. des Moulins (tel. 92-16-61-66; fax 92-16-61-16; www.monaco-tourisme.com).
The best way to get around Monaco is by bus (www.cam.mc), and you can buy bus cards, which cost 1.80€ ($2.35) per ride, directly on the bus. Bus stops are set up every few blocks on the main streets in town, including boulevard Albert-1er, avenue St-Martin in Monaco Ville, and boulevard des Moulins in Monte Carlo. Buses go to all the major tourist sights; just look at the front of the bus to see the destination.
For a taxi, call tel. 93-15-01-01. Taxi stands are in front of the Casino on avenue de Monte-Carlo, at place des Moulins in Monte Carlo; at the Port de Monaco on avenue Président J. F. Kennedy; and in front of the Poste de Monte-Carlo on avenue Henry-Dunant. A Hertz car rental office is at 27 bd. Albert-1er (tel. 93-50-79-60), and an Avis office at 1 av. des Guelphs (tel. 97-97-18-55).
Two of the most-watched car-racing events in Europe are in January (Le Rallye) and May (the Grand Prix; www.monacograndprix.info). For more information, call tel. 99-99-30-00. In June, Monte Carlo is home to a weeklong convention that attracts media moguls from virtually everywhere, Le Festival International de la Télévision, Grimaldi Forum, Avenue Princess Grace (tel. 99-99-30-00). Shows from all over the world are broadcast and judged on their merits.
Tips -- Number, Please: Monaco's Telephone System
Since 1996, Monaco's phone system has been independent of France.
To call Monaco from within France and the European Union, dial 00 (the access code for all international long-distance calls from France), followed by the country code (377), then the eight-digit local phone number. (Don't dial the 33 code; that's the country code for France.)
To call Monaco from North America, dial the international access code, 011, the country code, 377, then the eight-digit Monaco number.
To call any other country from within Monaco, dial 00 (the international access code), then the applicable country code, and the number. For example, to call Cannes, you would dial 00, 33 (France's country code), 4 (the city code, without the zero), and the eight-digit number.