The Beauty of Monaco's Architecture in 10 Buildings

Monaco | © Ming-yen Hsu / Flickr
Monaco | © Ming-yen Hsu / Flickr
Photo of Holly Howard
27 April 2017

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.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral

Cathedral
Map View
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.

Monaco-Monte Carlo Train Station

Train Station
Map View
Monaco-Monte Carlo 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.

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.

Oceanographic Museum

Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum is a beautifully imposing Baroque Revival building that sits on the cliff face overlooking the Mediterranean. It took 11 years to build and the stone used has the same origins (from La Turbie in France) as Saint Nicholas Cathedral. As the photo below shows, try and get a profile view of this building to see appreciate its full aspect.

Oceanographic Museum, Avenue Saint-Martin, Monaco, France

Oceanographic Museum | © Robert Haandrikman / Flickr

Oceanographic Museum | © Robert Haandrikman / Flickr

Hermitage Hotel

Hotel
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Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo
Courtesy of Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo / Expedia
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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.
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Monte-Carlo Casino

Casino, Opera House
Map View
Monte-Carlo Casino
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.

Grimaldi Forum

The Grimaldi Forum is a conference and congress centre used to host all manner of events on Monaco’s seafront. The minimalist industrial feel of the main welcoming esplanade is in stark contrast to other buildings in our list. It is through buildings like this that you can see Monaco’s future rather than its past.

Grimaldi Forum, 10 Av. Princesse Grace, Monaco, France

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