Pierre
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The oldest part of the Principality of Monaco is Le Rocher, a rocky promontory between Monaco’s port and the Fontvieille district. The old town is the only part of the microstate to have been spared by developers. With a maze of narrow cobblestone streets bordered by Renaissance houses, the old district has a certain charm. The rocky outcrop gathers the political, judicial and religious institutions of Monaco: the Prince’s Palace, the Town-Hall, the Government, the National Council (parliament), the tribunal, and the Cathedral. There are 975 inhabitants in the district called “Monégasques”.

 

Situation Map of Le Rocher de Monaco

Rocher de Monaco Situation Map

 

The Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Palais Princier © Monaco Press Centre Photos
Palais Princier © Monaco Press Centre Photos

The Palais Princier is the official residence of the ruling Prince of Monaco: Prince Albert II (born 1958) and has been the home of the Grimaldi dynasty since the end of the 13th century.

Find out more about the Prince’s Palace of Monaco.

 

Monaco Cathedral

Monaco Cathedral © Martinp1 - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Monaco Cathedral © Martinp1 – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The cathedral of Monaco (also known as Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) is famous for containing the tombs of most of the Monaco princes, including Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. The sanctuary was built in Romanesque-Byzantine style between 1875 and 1903 on the site of a former parish church dedicated to St Nicholas.

Inside is the beautiful retable dedicated to St. Nicholas executed in 1500 by Louis Bréa, an artist from Nice.

Monaco Cathedral © jimmyweee - licence [CC BY 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Monaco Cathedral © jimmyweee – licence [CC BY 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Monaco Aquarium

Aquarium de Monaco © Monaco Press Centre Photos
Aquarium de Monaco © Monaco Press Centre Photos

The monumental white building of the Oceanographic Museum was edified in 1910 over the cliff face dominating the sea. It houses an excellent aquarium with eerie sharks, delicate leafy sea dragons, angler fish, star fish, turtles, jellyfish, crabs, lobsters, rays, eels, and all sorts of strange and colourful sea-creatures.

Monaco Aquarium © Georges Jansoone - licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Monaco Aquarium © Georges Jansoone – licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The institute was directed from 1957 to 1988 by famous underwater explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Some of his films are projected in the conference hall of the aquarium. The building is also home to the Mediterranean Science Commission.

The rooftop terrace offers some fantastic views over Monaco and its surroundings.

Rocher de Monaco © Monaco Press Centre Photos
Rocher de Monaco © Monaco Press Centre Photos

 

Palace of Justice

Monaco Palais de Justice © Weefemwe - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Monaco Palais de Justice © Weefemwe – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The Courthouse was built in 1924 by Prince Louis II out of sea tuff containing small pebbles and a few mollusc shells.

 

English-French Vocabulary

Rocher de Monaco © Monaco Press Centre Photos
Monaco Rocher © Monaco Press Centre Photos

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • Alps = Alpes (f,p)
  • aquarium = aquarium (m)
  • cathedral = cathédrale (f)
  • castle = château (m)
  • court house = palais de justice (m)
  • French Riviera = Côte d’Azur (f)
  • harbour = port (m)
  • marina = port de plaisance (m)
  • Maritime Alps = Alpes Maritimes (f,p)
  • Mediterranean Sea = Mer Méditerranée (f)
  • micro-state = micro-état (m)
  • museum = musée (m)
  • old town = vieille-ville (f)
  • palace = palais (m)
  • Prince = Prince (m)
  • Principality = Principauté (f)
  • port = port (m)
  • rock = rocher (m)

Featured image: Rocher de Monaco © Monaco Press Centre Photos

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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  1. very usefull information, as our cruise ship will anchorage in Monacco. as a crew member we have only around 2 hour free time to explore Monacco, is it enough time to see all view like in your post ? we will start our journey from Port de Fontvieille.

    Thank you so much

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