International digital journal N 1

Sunday, July 14, 2024

The parks and gardens in Monaco: A green spirit in a city’s body

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Enjoy a little stroll through the parks and gardens dotted throughout the Principality. Monaco is a sustainable city-state with almost 20% of its surface area covered in greenery. As such, the Principality is proud to highlight its commitment to preserving the environment. From parks and gardens to squares and leafy neighbourhoods, Monaco offers a wealth of choice if you want to enjoy some time outdoors during your stay.

The Casino Gardens: Monte-Carlo’s green diamonds 

At the end of the 19th century, HSH Prince Charles III declared that he intended to surround the facilities of the recently established Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer with “gardens, copses, pavilions and promenades to ensure visitors enjoy a comfortable and sumptuous stay”. . The result was the Casino Gardens, a peaceful green oasis that corresponds to a page of the Principality’s history written in the heart of the city by renowned architect Édouard André. First are the Jardin des Boulingrins located a stone’s throw from the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, which slope gently down from the Place du Casino de Monte-Carlo and feature palm trees, lawns, flowerbeds and fountains. Then, Édouard André chose to combine this wonderful French-style garden with the tropical exuberance of the nearby ‘Jardin de la Petite Afrique’, which continues to showcase the rare essences that make up its luxuriant vegetation to this day. 

Mediterranean and tropical scents: the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort 

Set away from the Casino Gardens but designed with the same desire to preserve natural heritage in mind is another oasis: the Mediterranean Gardens at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. This exceptional environment, spanning close to four hectares, was fully designed by landscape architect Jean Mus. No fewer than 1,500 species of plants thrive here, amongst bridges, waterfalls and a splendid sandy-bottomed lagoon. It is an ode to biodiversity and an invitation to appreciate a wealth of Mediterranean and tropical scents. 

Lagon Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort

The Japanese Garden: a haven of peace in the Principality 

It took landscape architect Yasuo Beppu more than four years to design and create the Japanese Garden in Monaco. Located in close proximity to the Grimaldi Forum Monaco, this haven of peace was created in accordance with the principles of Zen design. Featuring a mountain, a bridge and stream, a waterfall and a pond full of koi carp, this timeless garden showcases a delicate blend of plants, water and stone, and invites visitors to engage in peaceful philosophical reflection as they journey to the ‘distant’ land of the rising sun right in the heart of the Principality. 

Jardin Japonais Monaco
Jardin exotique Monaco

The Exotic Garden: exceptional panoramas

Another natural wonder is the Exotic Garden, which will reopen in 2024 after being closed for a year. A kingdom showcasing all that is unusual and exuberant, perched on the heights of Monaco, the Exotic Garden is home to the world’s largest ‘succulent rockery’, where South American cacti grow alongside African aloes and money plants. Clinging to the cliff side, this garden offers an exceptional view over the city and the Riviera. And note that your Exotic Garden entrance ticket also gives you access to the Observatory Cave, which is located at the base of the garden’s cliff (which is known as ‘The Observatory’!). 

Rainier III’s Zoological Gardens and the Botanical Centre: family days out! 

Located on the southern side of the Rock overlooking Fontvieille harbour, Rainier III’s Zoological Gardens are home to almost 300 animals from around sixty different species. Exotic birds, turtles, caimans, hippopotamuses, reptiles, apes and lemurs have co-existed in harmony here for over half a century. It is interesting to note that none of these residents were ever purchased: all were either donated, abandoned or seized by customs. It is one of the world’s last remaining royal menageries and promises a wonderful, ‘untamed’ experience right in the heart of the city.  

Attached to the Exotic Garden, the Botanical Centre is nonetheless a standalone structure whose role is to obtain and ensure the conservation of rare and endangered plant species with a view to integrating them into the Exotic Garden or exhibiting them at flower shows. The centre is home to almost 10,500 plants spread over three floors, and houses one of the world’s finest collections of cacti and succulents.  

Fontvieille Park: an invitation to have some fun! 

The whole family will enjoy a trip to Fontvieille Park, which encircles the Big Top and is populated with olive, pine and cypress trees, all of which are emblematic of the Mediterranean. They share the park with other, more exotic plant varieties that include StrelitziasStenocarpus and Araucarias. This pretty urban park invites you to take an enjoyable botanical stroll along its winding paths, where you’ll come across an educational kitchen garden called ‘Smart Flower’, a children’s play area and a landscaped pond filled with ducks, geese and carp. 

Parc paysager de Fontvieille

The Princess Grace Rose Garden and Saint-Martin Gardens: romantic walks

Nestled at the heart of Fontvieille Park, the Princess Grace Rose Garden is a world unto itself. It was inaugurated in 1984 as a magnificent declaration of love from HSH Prince Rainier III to his wife HSH Princess Grace. Featuring over 315 varieties of rose and 6,000 individual plants, this rose garden is a real feast for the eyes. The gorgeous English-style garden is dotted with centuries-old olive trees to recall its undeniably Mediterranean soul. In its centre, a bronze statue of HSH Princess Grace peacefully stands guard and welcomes lovers from around the world.  

The Saint-Martin Gardens, meanwhile, are quite simply the first public gardens opened in the Principality back in 1816. Seemingly suspended between sky and sea at the top of the Rock, nestled between the Prince’s Palace and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, these gardens offer a lush backdrop of pine forests and Mediterranean plants, enhanced by some exotic plants. Its winding cliff-side paths and countless glimpses of the Mediterranean Sea make the Saint-Martin Gardens a little corner of paradise to stroll through arm-in-arm.   

Roseraie Princesse Grace Monaco
Square Théodore Gastaud Monaco

Princess Antoinette Park and Square Théodore Gastaud: city games 

In the shade of a few hundred-year-old olive trees resides a garden reserved for children. At Princess Antoinette Park, your toddlers and children can enjoy a wide range of play areas, complete with sandpits, swings, slides and roundabouts. And there’s plenty of choice for older children too, with badminton, volleyball, football tennis and table tennis on offer! The park even has an 18-hole mini-golf course. At the miniature farm, meanwhile, you can enjoy a fun and educational trip to see the sheep, goats, ducks, chickens and rabbits.  

Finally, the vibrant Condamine district hosts Square Théodore Gastaud, which is slightly set back from the busy pedestrianised streets and Place d’Armes. Lined with olive trees pruned in Tuscan style, it conceals a romantic bandstand that is brought to life by a range of musical events as soon as the warm summer weather returns.  

Jardin exotique Monaco

Continue your stroll by taking a closer look at our CSR commitments

This brings our tour of Monaco’s parks and gardens to a close. These green spaces, with their diverse and varied profiles, are all maintained in line with the ecological principles underpinning the CSR commitments made by both the Principality and Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer. Each area offers an opportunity to relax and escape from it all while learning interesting facts on your walks.

A stroll around a park or garden will round off your stay in Monaco, amidst the shopping trips, museum visits, gourmet lunches and nights at the opera or casino. Whether you’re visiting for a day, a weekend or longer, in summer or in winter, there’s always plenty of things to do in Monaco!

Source: Monte-Carlo BSM

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