Le Casino de Monte-Carlo and Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo might be the most famous casino resort properties. This European duo set the gold standard of lavish casino and resort experience.
The pair have been featured in numerous movies and books. The most famous movie storyline that uses the casino as a backdrop is a James Bond movie, GoldenEye. This is what most people think of when they conjure up sleek high-roller casinos in their imaginations.
For our wedding anniversary, I went to Le Casino de Monte-Carlo with my spouse, and we stayed in the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. I’m going to share some highlights of our trip, a history of the exclusive area, and tips for when you go on your own adventure to this gambler’s dream destination casino and resort.
There’s a lot of confusion surrounding what kind of place Monte Carlo is. Is it its own country? Is it part of France? What about Monaco?
There’s a lot to unpack here. As you know, Monte Carlo is the Mediterranean part of Europe. It’s at the base of the Alps, known as the Maritime Alps. It is also on the French Rivera.
Monte Carlo is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco. That didn’t help me understand what exactly Monte Carlo is, though. Monte Carlo is basically the capital of Monaco, one of the smallest countries in the world. It’s about 0.08 square miles with a population of around 15,000.
It has more millionaires (per capita) than any other city in the world. Millionaires make up around 30% of the population of the city.
Monte Carlo is known for its picturesque landscape, The Monte Carlo Grand Prix, and its casino. The climate is perfect. It’s never cooler than the lower 50s and rarely above 80 degrees. The weather is best described as arid and sunny with wetter winters.
French is the native language, but English and Italian are spoken as well. If you only speak English, you will get along fine in Monte Carlo. The common currency is the euro. At the time of this post, the US dollar was worth 0.85 euros. Keep that in mind when traveling to this gambling gem.
Our flight was about 14 hours airport to airport and cost a little over $1,000 per person. Monte Carlo has its own airport, so travel should be reasonably easy for most US visitors.
This casino is not for gamblers who want to go from pool to buffet to casino floor to play keno. There’s nothing wrong with that, but this is not the place for that type of gambling vacation.
Le Casino de Monte-Carlo is one of the oldest and most successful casinos in history. It had a rough start but was catapulted to the gold standard of luxury and European class.
Interestingly, the casino is not open to residents. They’re not allowed to participate in the gambling offered by this quintessential casino destination.
Le Casino Monte-Carlo has a more formal dress code. You will not be permitted on the casino floor if you’re wearing shorts, flip flops, or “sport shoes.” I’m guessing sport shoes are anything that might be considered a running shoe or sneaker.
What is most impressive about this casino is the architecture. The gold filigree and ivory accents play off the rich-colored thick carpets. Almost all the lighting fixtures are chandeliers and scones that add a soft glow to the French neoclassical décor.
The casino floor is literally straight out of a scene in the movies. The French influences in the casino’s design take advantage of the natural light’s beauty through the many windows. This is a departure for most American gamblers because Vegas is famous for not having windows on its casino floors.
The Casino de Monte-Carlo and its structure were designed by Charles Garnier, the same architect that designed the renowned Paris Opera. You can feel the Old World influences that have been delicately updated to modern times.
Its beauty is so famous that the property offers guided tours of the public to view its allure and grandeur. This is also considered a world treasure in the architecture community. The casino is a table game player’s paradise. It is home to the original high roller gaming. And the gaming floor is broken down into salons by game.
The Salon Europe is where you can play roulette (French and American), poker, and trente and quarante. The Salles des Ameriques (Salon America) is home to blackjack. The Salle Blanche and the Atrium is the slots area.
Le Casino de Monte-Carlo stunned the world in the summer of 2011 when they opened their stunning Terrace. This allows players to play almost every casino table game al fresco. This gives players the thrill of a hand of Texas hold’em while overlooking the French Rivera.
The luxurious casino also offers real money baccarat, Stud poker, and craps. You haven’t played a real table game of craps until you’ve been in black and white attire and thrown those dice down the iconic craps table. It’s home to multiple legs and finals of a variety of world gambling tournaments. The casino has partnered for the PokerStars World Tournament and is the elite poker tournament’s home venue.
Don’t forget to stop by one of the lounge bars found in each salon for a classic French 75 cocktail. I felt like royalty when I took a break from my table play to order this iconic cocktail of gin, simple syrup, champagne, lemon juice, and lemon peel.
The casino has two in-house fine dining options. We ate at both, of course. The two restaurants are run by Chef Thierry Saez-Manzanares. He brings classic French theories to the modern spin on local produce and the stunning Mediterranean seafood.
The Salon Rose is open daily from noon to 1:30 AM. The décor is a combination of soft golds and blush touches with natural light throughout.
The menu offers many classic French traditions without the fuss of the American French dining experience. The menu is in three languages: French, English, and Italian. This perfectly represents the casino’s patrons.
I didn’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the fancy offerings. My favorite thing on the menu was the heirloom tomatoes, burrata, and basil on the house-made focaccia. It was so comforting and representative of the cultures that influence Monte Carlo’s food landscape.
Le Train Bleu is the casino’s only dinner establishment. It’s open from 7:00 PM until 3:00 AM daily. The name is a throwback to times past.
In earlier days throughout history, the only way to access Monte Carlo was via train. Le Train Blue is modeled after a late-1800s dining car from the train that ran to Monte Carlo.
The bold wood finishes contour the diner’s experience to days past. The “dining car” is small but still functions as a full sit-down fine dining restaurant. The menu is a blend of Italian traditions with French Rivera influences. It emphasizes the same use of local, seasonal produce and fresh seafood that is reflected in the Salon Rose menu.
The menu, like the menu at its sister restaurant, is also in the three-language layout. This really did take the insecurity out of not speaking the local language.
We shared a few appetizers and a few too many bottles of wine. How could we not? But the real showstopper for me was the grilled Charolais beef, shallot sauce, potatoes dauphine, and rocket (arugula) salad. It was so simple and so refined in one entree.
I would suggest making reservations at both locations, if possible. Unlike the mega-casinos of Vegas and Atlantic City, the Le Casino de Monte-Carlo only offers two dining options.
If you tire of these restaurants, you can always venture outside of the Le Casino de Monte-Carlo. This is another way the world’s most famous casino varies from the American casino experience. Le Casino de Monte-Carlo doesn’t market itself as all-inclusive. I mentioned earlier that we stayed at the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. This is the hotel attached to the casino.
They’re not one and the same. Nor should your entire Monte Carlo experience just be within the walls of Le casino de Monte-Carlo. One of the most celebrated restaurants is the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. Le Louis XV is renowned as one of the best restaurants in the world. It’s the winner of three Michelin Stars.
Three Michelin Stars is only for the most elite culinary experiences in the world. Only 137 restaurants in the world can claim this exclusive achievement.
Why would you miss out on that opportunity? We sure didn’t.
If you want to drop some euros and be carried off into a European gambling fairytale, Le Casino Monte-Carlo is the place for you. I felt like I was in every daydream I’ve had about this storied casino.
The gambling was classic. To be honest, it was historical. The food was refined without being pretentious. The landscape was pastoral and was more beautiful than any picture you’ve seen.
Le Casino de Monte-Carlo was just what we needed. It was the best way to celebrate 20 years of marriage and our shared love of destination casinos and gambling. I highly recommend anyone to come visit this casino and indulge in its history and extravagance.
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