Prince’s Palace of Monaco

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Prince’s Palace of Monaco

The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is, today, a symbol of the rich heritage and modern timeliness of the Grimaldi family, a beacon of tradition and luxury in the heart of the French Riviera. For the residents of the principality, the palace is a source of pride, and, for visitors, a monument dedicated to the history and glamour of Monaco.

Fyrstepaladset i Monaco på Le Rocher
The old city of Monaco-Ville and the Prince’s Palace on top of Le Rocher in Monaco

The Prince’s Palace today

During the reign of Prince Albert II, the palace remains the center of Monaco’s political and social life. It hosts various state functions, including receptions, gala dinners, and the annual Monaco Red Cross Ball, one of the highlights of the social calendar in the principality.

The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is known for its stunning architecture and beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. On the official tour of the palace, you can visit several of the palace’s famous salons and reception halls, including the Throne Hall and the Great Hall. In addition, there is also an impressive collection of art and antiques showing the history of Monaco and the Grimaldi family.

See the image gallery of the “State Apartments” at the end of the article.

The changing of the guard in front of the palace

Every day, tourists gather at the place du Palais, in front of the Prince’s Palace, to witness the traditional changing of the guard performed by the “carabiniers du Prince”, a testimony of the historical traditions and ceremonial pomp of the Monegasque principality.

Vagtskifte foran fyrstepaladset i Monaco

The changing of the guard takes place on weekdays at 11.55 am. in front of the Prince’s Palace, on place du Palais – ©

How to visit the Prince’s Palace of Monaco

The palace is open for public visits 6 months a year, from March to October. It costs 10 euros for adults and 5 euros for children.

Tickets can be purchased, here, on the city’s official site (non-refundable): Buy entrance tickets here.

Visits are not possible during the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend (May 23-26 in 2024).

History of the Prince’s Palace

Monaco’s palaces and buildings have a long and fascinating history, dating back to the Grimaldi family’s takeover of the land in 1297.

Since then, the small principality has experienced several upheavals, including periods of Spanish and French control. But under the leadership of the Grimaldi dynasty, Monaco became an important European cultural center and a sought-after place for the European aristocracy.

The Prince’s Palace is located in the old town, Monaco-Ville on top of Le Rocher, and dates to the 13th century. The first foundation stone was laid in 1215.

The palace was initially built as a fortress to protect Monaco from invading forces. From 1297 until today, the palace has served as the residence of the Grimaldi family – except in the years 1793-1814 because of the French Revolution.

Over the centuries, the palace has been expanded and renovated. Especially from the 14th to the 17th century, the princely palace acquired the appearance we know today. Among other things, the famous “galerie d’Hercule” was built on the orders of Prince Honoré II (1597-1662) in memory of his son, Hercules, who died accidentally in 1651. The gallery is finely decorated with frescoes dedicated to mythological beings.

Galerie d'Hercule Monaco
The impressive Hercules’ gallery in the Prince’s Palace of Monaco

The revolution left its mark

When the French Revolution reached the principality of Monaco, the prince’s residence was not spared. All its collections, its countless works and artefacts were looted or sold as national property. The palace was converted into a hospital for the Italian army, the throne room was used as a kitchen, and the rest of the palace was used as a poorhouse.

In 1814, the Grimaldi family regained ownership of the palace but, by this time, it was in such a poor condition that part of the east wing, on the Fontvieille side, had to be demolished. After this, Prince Honoré IV (1758-1819) initiated a major work – both with the restoration and recovery of the palace’s robbed possessions.

The Grimaldi family

The Grimaldi family has played an important role in Monaco’s history for over 700 years. The family has survived several political upheavals and has been able to maintain its power and wealth over the centuries. Today, the Grimaldi family is still a central element of Monaco’s cultural and political life and is one of the richest and most powerful families in the world. Read about the history of the Grimaldi family here.

Fyrstedømmet i Monacos våbenskjold på en bygning

Coat of arms of the Principality of Monaco on a building with an inscription in Latin “DEO JUVANTE” (May God help).

The architectural splendor of the palace

The architecture of the palace consists of many styles, from Renaissance to Classicism, reflecting the various influences that have shaped Monaco’s history. Its façade is adorned with frescoes, and the courtyards and galleries show the opulence and artistic taste of the ruling family through the ages.

“Les grands apartments” are a highlight for visitors, offering a glimpse of the luxurious lifestyle of Monaco’s royalty. These rooms are used for official functions and are open to the public, at certain times of the year, providing a rare peek into the opulent world of the princely family.

The Throne Hall, with its Renaissance fireplace and opulent throne, is particularly impressive, as is the Gallery of Mirrors, inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles castle, near Paris.

Photo gallery from the Prince’s Palace in Monaco :

Read also

Besides the Prince’s Palace, there are also other palaces in Monaco that are worth visiting. The Hotel de Paris has been one of the most prestigious hotels in the world since 1864, and the Casino de Monte Carlo is one of the most iconic casinos in the world.

For more information about the history of the Prince’s Palace in Monaco, visit Monaco’s official website.

Recommended: Take the ferry from Nice to Monaco – only 45 minuts.

By Tommy Sverre – 2024

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