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16 Places to Enjoy the Best of Monaco’s Culture

Explore the principality’s arts and culture scenes, from museums and galleries to dance and musical performances.

Visit Monaco

Oceanographic Museum

Courtesy of Visit Monaco ©BVergely

Monaco, the crown jewel of the French Riviera, has been a magnet for the world’s most discriminating travelers for a century and a half. In a compact space of less than a square mile, this tiny powerhouse perpetually transforms itself, all while enticing visitors with an unmatched blend of art, architecture, history, and design.

While performing arts have traditionally been dominant, recent years have witnessed Monaco’s position in the modern art scene rise in prominence. With comprehensive offerings that include everything from pioneering new artistic concepts to world-famous cultural institutions, the principality is now attracting many young creators and contemporary artists. With its dazzling Mediterranean location, Monaco is also an ideal setting for cultural institutions and events held throughout the year.

This curated guide outlines the must-visit museums, galleries, and performing arts venues that contribute to the destination’s flourishing arts and culture scenes.

See treasures and masterpieces in museums and galleries

Monaco may be known worldwide for its glamour, but its true essence as an extraordinary travel destination is thanks to its fascinating history. That’s evident in its diverse selection of museums dedicated to everything from art and the sea to even vintage cars and collectibles. Explore these museums to learn more about what makes the principality so unique:

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Classic Cars Collection of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco

Courtesy of Visit Monaco ©BVergely

Classic Cars Collection of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco

Now located near the Formula 1 circuit at Port Hercule, the Classic Cars Collection of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco showcases Prince Rainier III’s private collection of vintage automobiles. The museum, which features around 70 vintage automobiles, including racing cars from the Monte-Carlo Rally and F1 cars from the Monaco Grand Prix, offers visitors a journey through the history of automotive design and engineering.

Oceanographic Museum

Conceived by Prince Albert I over a century ago, the Oceanographic Museum lies inside a striking Baroque Revival building built on the side of the mythical Rock of Monaco. The museum offers educational exhibits, breathtaking ocean views, and an exploration of marine science history, showcasing over 6,000 different specimens.

Nouveau Musée National de Monaco

The Monegasque State’s acquisition of two 19th-century villas—Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber—allowed for a museum that now regularly presents high-caliber exhibitions. Art lovers will appreciate the focus on contemporary works. It features rotating avant-garde exhibitions mixed with its expanding permanent collection as well as selected pieces from private collectors and prestigious museums.

Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology

Unearth the mysteries of Monaco’s prehistoric past at the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology, which houses fossils and excavated artifacts that date to ancient times. The collections, founded by Prince Albert I in 1902, represent the different stages of regional prehistory and protohistory, as most archaeological and paleontological pieces come from the Principality, France, and Italy.

Museum of Stamps and Coins

Delve into the art of numismatics and philately at the Museum of Stamps and Coins which showcases the Principality’s history through its currency, stamps, and rare collectibles. Find an extensive collection of Monegasque currency since 1640, rare stamps, and historical documents related to stamp printing from 1885 onwards, making it an excellent destination for history buffs and collectors.

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Prince’s Palace

Courtesy of Visit Monaco ©BVergely

Les Grands Appartements du Palais

Step into the opulent world of Monaco’s royal history by visiting the Prince’s Palace. Built in the 13th century with elements from the Renaissance, it opens its luxurious private residences to visitors for part of the year. Admire the palace’s splendor through various rooms, chambers, paintings, tapestries, and furniture. Some of the colorful frescoes were unveiled just last year.

Hauser & Wirth

Explore the Hauser & Wirth gallery at One Monte Carlo and experience art in the heart of Monaco, near the Hôtel de Paris. The space features 30-foot-high walls and hosts diverse exhibitions and events, including the current show, Mark Bradford’s Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen, until April 27, 2024. Admission is free, and appointments are not required.

Almine Rech

Founded in Paris in 1989 with a James Turrell exhibition, this renowned gallery is known for showcasing minimal, perceptual, and conceptual art by world-famous artists. It has locations in cities around the world, and, most recently, in Monaco, where the branch welcomes visitors by appointment.

Espace 22

Discover the thriving contemporary art scene in Monaco at Espace 22. The venue offers young contemporary artists a chance to show their work alongside renowned names and brands through temporary exhibitions, all in a prime location in the heart of Monte-Carlo.

Moretti Gallery

Established in 1999 by Fabrizio Moretti in Florence, this gallery specializes in Italian Old Masters paintings and has a flagship location in London. The Monaco outpost was born out of the country’s commitment to arts and culture and features a modern gallery and exhibition space at Park Palace in Monte Carlo, overlooking the Place du Casino.

Francis Bacon MB Art Foundation

With 3,500 items, this non-profit institution’s collection includes the artist’s early paintings and furniture, extensive photographs, and an archive. Free guided tours, available by appointment every Tuesday and the first Saturday of each month, last 90 minutes and delve into Bacon’s life, offering insights into his life, work, and creative process.

Rainier III Sculpture Trail

This open-air museum was introduced as part of the recent centennial commemorations for Prince Rainier III and features more than 200 sculptures acquired during his reign, including works by renowned artists like César, Arman, and Anish Kapoor. The trail, inaugurated last year, offers a QR code-based interactive experience, guiding visitors through the different neighborhoods of Monte-Carlo.

Enjoy transcendent performances

In Monaco, culture and the arts are integral to everyday life—vibrant dance and classical music performances reflect a Monegasque heritage that dates to the Belle Époque of the late 19th century. Enhance your visit with performances from these organizations, where a cultural symphony awaits.

Ballets de Monte-Carlo

This beloved dance company performs at Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum and tours globally. Established in 1909 and currently led by Jean-Christophe Maillot, the Ballets de Monte-Carlo encompasses an elite ballet company, a dance festival, and the prestigious Princess Grace Academy.

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Salle Garnier

Courtesy of Visit Monaco ©Vergely

Monte-Carlo Opera

Opera productions shine at Salle Garnier, a grand Italian-style theater within Monaco’s iconic Casino de Monte-Carlo. Its excellent acoustics make it a prime venue for unforgettable performances by renowned musicians across genres.

Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra

Experience the enchantment of summer concerts at the Prince’s Palace in the Cour d’Honneur, surrounded by Italian Renaissance frescoes. Launched in 1959 during Prince Rainier III’s reign, this tradition hearkens back to an 18th-century royal tradition of patronage for arts and music. Over the years, these performances, featuring major symphonic works, rare contemporary pieces, and innovative lyric and choreographic creations, have elevated the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic to a leading position among Europe’s symphony orchestras.

Théâtre Princesse Grace

Built in the 1930s as Théâtre des Beaux-Arts and renamed Théâtre Princesse Grace in 1981, this iconic venue has been a Monaco landmark for almost a century. Renovated in the late 1970s under Princess Grace’s guidance, it hosts renowned actors and emerging talents. (Pro tip: Most performances here are in French.)

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