Monaco’s idyllic location on the Cote d’Azur combines with its sunny climate to create a great environment for alfresco dining. Whether that means a restaurant terrace or harbourside cafe, or even a relaxed picnic with family and friends, Monaco can deliver. Spring has arrived and there are lots of places to enjoy the natural beauty of Monaco’s parks and surrounding countryside. Those who call the Principality home, or who are considering a property to rent in Monaco, are close to several excellent picnic spots.
The Jardin Exotique
The Jardin Exotique is a picturesque reminder of a bygone time in Monaco. Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace passed on their love of gardening to their son Prince Albert II who is a keen conservationist and proponent of biodiversity. This garden demonstrates the Grimaldi love of gardening, bringing together eclectic species of tropical plants from all over the world, but most notably the Middle East and South Africa. It was opened in 1933 on the mountainside overlooking the Principality and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a stunning spot for a picnic with a view.
The Rock, Monaco-Ville
Les Jardins St Martin is located in the historic Monaco-Ville district of Monaco. The gardens are made up of a series of paths that snake along the southwest face of Le Rocher, or the Rock, of Monaco. Benches and tall trees line the paths, making it a great place to enjoy some shade on a hot day. A pond and a range of sculptures provide plenty of scenery, but the backdrop of coastal views steals the show. There is also a small secret gravel beach that locals call the Fisherman’s Cove down some steps on Le Rocher. It’s a secluded area that only residents know about.
The Japanese Garden
This garden is an oasis of calm in the centre of Monaco next to the Grimaldi Forum; it even manages to stay quiet despite the busy surroundings. It was commissioned by Prince Rainier III to bring some Eastern tranquillity to the Principality and makes a nice spot for a solo or duo picnic. It is small but features a variety of original Asian designs with stone lanterns, a pool full of koi carp, a bridge, waterfall, bamboo fencing and benches.
Parc du Cros de Casté
Located in the neighbouring French municipality of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Parc du Cros de Casté was once a military base designed to protect against an attack from Italy. It still has three bunkers and could house several hundred men underground. These days, it attracts visitors who want to experience its peaceful ambience rather than its defence system. The park is open from 7.30am to 8pm during spring and summer and it covers 9 hectares with a promontory position offering exceptional sea views.
Parc de la Grande Corniche
This 712-hectare park is covered by the municipalities of La Trinité, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Eze and La Turbie. Excavations have revealed that it was used in pre-Roman times (200 BC) onwards, making this a great spot for history buffs. It’s an easy destination to reach if you own or rent property in Monaco and makes for an accessible half-day trip. The nature park is home to 450 plant species as well as mammals and rare bird species.
The drive is a highlight in itself with the famous winding road being used as a location for Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief and Bond film, Goldeneye. You will be following Grace Kelly, Cary Grant and Pierce Brosnan to name just a few of Hollywood’s big names who have discovered this rugged section of the Riviera coast. The mountainous stretch from Nice to Monaco has an abundance of panoramic areas for a picnic and the views reach as far as Italy and Corsica on a clear day.
How to Find Provisions for a Picnic in Monaco
The Marché de la Condamine is a great stop to buy provisions for your picnic. The market is open every day and has a focus on regional produce such as bread, cheese, olives and wine, along with fresh produce. Pick up some Monegasque and Niçois specialities such as socca, barbagiuans and fougasse. For more convenience, you can shop online at Maison del Gusto. The online store sells hampers and individual gourmet products including truffles, charcuterie products, dried fruit and nuts, Manuka honey and biscotti. Maison del Gusto creates artisan boxes with selected products for special occasions, such as the Luxury Celebration Gusto Box packed with goodies including sardines, foie gras, panettone, stuffed dates, pralines and Champagne.
If you are interested in properties to rent in Monaco, please contact La Costa Properties Monaco.