Monaco may be better known for its fast-paced lifestyle of casinos, restaurants and bars, but with so many beautiful parks and green spaces to explore, it’s also a great place to relax and unwind. Here are the top picks of Monaco’s scenic parks and gardens.
Princess Grace Rose Garden
This beautiful garden was cultivated in 1984 by Prince Renier III of Monaco, two years after the death of his wife, the legendary American actress Grace Kelly. The pair were famously married in Monaco in 1956, with their glamorous ceremony being televised internationally. As the rose was a favorite flower of the princess, the garden in Monaco-Ville is now home to more than 300 different varieties of the plant sourced from around the world. Refurbished and enlarged in 2014 to create more space for visitors and events, the garden is a tranquil and poignant place in which to spend a few quiet moments.
Surrounding the rose garden is Fontvieille Park, a four hector outdoor space with a celebrated sculpture trail. The trail makes for an interesting afternoon of browsing, and includes works from notable figures such as the French-born American artist Arman, one of the cofounders of the nouveau réalisme movement and close friend to both Andy Warhol and Yves Klein. It also boasts a charming and picturesque lake bordered by a variety of different plants, including pretty cyprus and palm trees.
Le Jardin Japonais
Situated on the Avenue de Princess Grace just minutes away from the Casino de Monte Carlo, this detailed garden provides a piece of tranquility amongst the bright lights and bustle of the city. Commissioned by Prince Renier III and designed by Japanese landscape-architect Yasuo Beppu, Le Jardin Japonais brings a bit of Eastern zen to Monaco, and features a variety of interesting and unusual Asian designs. Keep an eye out for the stone lanterns, bamboo fencing and idyllic meditation area, where visitors can enjoy the garden’s serenity for hours.
Le Jardin Exotique
Opened in 1933, Le Jardin Exotique has been impressing visitors for over a century with the variety of unfamiliar, tropical plants it breeds. Sourced mostly from South Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the flowers here are vibrant, diverse and sweet-scented, and there are many different types of cacti to explore. As well as being a botanist’s dream, a visit to the garden is also enjoyable for those less interested in plants, with various attractions on offer in the glorious natural surroundings. Be sure to try out the observatory cave, where rock specialists offer guided tours around the limestone rock caverns situated in the garden.
Les Jardins St Martin
Situated in Monaco-Ville just metres away from the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, Les Jardins St Martin offers breathtaking views of the sea, exquisitely sculpted statues and nature in abundance. Follow the winding paths here to experience a rich variety of Mediterranean and exotic plants, a tranquil pond and a number of interesting sculptures and art works, with views of the coast providing a beautiful backdrop at all times. Benches are placed all around, making the park a great place to grab some respite and a bit of shade on a sunny day.
Jardin Animalier de Monaco
Founded in 1954, Jardin Animalier is both a garden and zoo, situated in the Southern face of the Grimaldi rock on Place du Casino. The gardens are arranged over several levels, and are home to over 250 types of animal, 50 species of bird and many primates and large mammals. All the animals in the garden have been either donated or rescued from unsafe homes and relocated in the park.
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