The Beauty of Monaco's Architecture in 10 Buildings

Monaco | © Ming-yen Hsu / Flickr

Monaco fits a lot of beautiful architecture into such a small size. From its grand Belle Époque buildings to new modernist designs, here are Culture Trip’s favourite 10 buildings that show Monaco off in all its glory.

1. Saint Nicholas Cathedral


Saint Nicholas Cathedral
© Hans Braxmeier / Pixabay
Saint Nicholas Cathedral was built from 1875-1903 in gorgeous light limestone from La Turbie, nearby in France and sits within the old historic ward ‘Monaco Ville’ of Monaco. Inside, you’ll find an impressive Carrara marble altar and it’s also worth noting that it is the resting place for Princess Grace (Kelly) and other members of the royal Grimaldi family.

2. Monaco-Monte Carlo Train Station

Train Station

Monaco-Monte Carlo Station
© Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner / Flickr
If you are arriving in Monaco by train, then you will see the architecture of the principality’s railway station first-hand. If not, then definitely swing by for a look. Due to Monaco’s hilly location, the station has been built into the hillside itself and so rock and concrete combine in the very way the principality does itself: old with new.

3. Monte-Carlo Pavilions

Building, Casino

You can find the Monte-Carlo Pavilions in the Casino’s gardens. These pebble-shaped temporary structures opened in 2014 and were designed by architect Richard Martinet as a new design take on a shopping centre. Visit them while you can, the buildings are scheduled to be demolished in 2018.

4. Hexa Grace


From a little outside of the Monte-Carlo Casino, you’ll be able to see the Hexa Grace on the roof of the Grimaldi Forum. It’s the striking work of Victor Vasarely (1979) overlooking the sea. The colours dazzle in the sunlight and offer another dimension to the principality’s more ornate buildings.

5. Hermitage Hotel


The exterior of the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, a grand, tall, white building partially obscured by trees
Courtesy of Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo / Expedia
There are many gorgeous hotels in Monaco, but a bit of roof (called the Eiffel dome) of the Hermitage Hotel is one of our favourite elements to this stunning, monument hotel. Built in the early 1900s, The Hermitage Hotel offers visitors to Monaco a truly luxurious experience and if you can’t see inside, the beautiful facade is a sight enough.

6. Odeon Tower


The Odeon Tower is a skyscraper in Monaco that was recently finished in 2015. In the 1980s, Prince Rainer III put a ban on high rise building projects but this was lifted in 2008. Behind the designs externally and internally are architect Alexandre Giraldi and interior designer Alberto Pinto.

7. Monte-Carlo Casino

Casino, Opera House

Monte-Carlo Casino
© John M / Flickr
Monaco’s casino is theiconic building in the principality. Its build started in 1863 and it has played a fundamental role in the Monaco’s past and present since. The casino’s architect Charles Garnier is also known for Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris and the casino’s facade doesn’t disappoint.

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