Where: Port Hercules, Monaco
When: Wednesday, September 25, through Saturday, September 28
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily
Entry fee: 80 euros per day
For a glorious four days in September, Monaco becomes the hub of the large-yacht universe, and the Monaco Yacht Show is where the finest yachts and yachtbuilders in the world strut their stuff.
An in-water show, it fills Port Hercules, the main harbor of Monaco, fender-to-fender with more than 100 extraordinary large yachts (35 making their world debut this year). More than 500 companies will exhibit on shore. Offshore, a flotilla of yachts will be anchored and available for boarding with your favorite broker.
The show is unparalelled, and this year’s edition promises to top the previous 22 in terms of visitors and exhibitors. But no visitor can spend all his or her time walking the docks, and who would want to when the venue is a place like Monaco?
When it comes to enjoying your free time in Monaco, you can turn to Fodor’s, or you can consult those who live and play there for ideas. If you’ve done the tables at the Casino de Monte-Carlo or sipped rosé at the Café de Paris and want more, read on.
There are seven Michelin stars in Monte-Carlo and Alain Ducasse has three of them at Le Louis XV in the Hôtel de Paris (sea bass followed by rum baba, washed down with one of the 600,000 wines in his cellar). Two more Michy stars go to Joël Robuchon, whose eponymous restaurant in the Hotel Metropole helps make him the most “starred” chef in the world. No question about it here: the langoustine ravioli with truffles. But if you want more intimate dining than the big hotel restaurants, try Lo Sfizio on Rue du Portier for Italian cuisine and to-die-for tiramisu. The Formula One drivers in Monaco for the Grand Prix prefer Quai des Artistes, a Paris brasserie parked on the waterfront and open after boat show hours (seafood risotto, oh my).
For a day-starter, enjoy the sumptuous breakfast buffet under the umbrellas at Côté Jardin at the Hôtel de Paris. And Frank Fiorito of Jimmy’z fame, has opened Pacific, which fuses Italian, Peruvian and Japanese. But eat inside: The patio is noisy.
If the boat show hasn’t zapped your energy, it’s time for some of Monaco’s inimitable nightlife. Dance under the stars at Jimmy’z at the Sporting Monte-Carlo, which has been the epicenter of late-night Monaco hipness for decades. Motown doesn’t mean Monaco-town, but you can catch great Motown bands at Black Legend on Quai Albert 1er. Like most nightclubs, it’s open until dawn. Moods Music Bar at the Café de Paris is hot with aural cuisine tuned to jazz and blues, with a huge dance floor to lure you. Ni Box is hard to explain, combining nightclub, bowling alley and tapas restaurant. It even has its own pier so you can arrive by boat.
Monaco has hotels like Switzerland has watches, but there are some insider gems to be found, such as the Port Palace with just 50 rooms overlooking the yachts and the show, or the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, which feels like a private villa rather than a glossy hotel. A grand favorite is the Hermitage, a Belle Epoque monument on Casino Square overlooking the yacht harbor.
No one can live by yacht alone. Sneak away from the show to catch some offbeat local sights. The late Prince Rainier of Monaco was a car guy and his collection of classics on the Terrasses de Fontvieille is well worth a visit. As a collector, Rainier was no slouch and, though Monaco has no navy, his extensive collection of ship models resides in the Naval Museum, also in Fontvieille. If you get to Fontvieille for the sights, skip the McDonald’s there in favor of La Saliére, a cute restaurant where, on mosaic-topped tables, you’ll dine on skizze: an Etruscan flatbread pizza.
You simply cannot visit Monaco without saving a few hours to wander the Oceanographic Museum, which clings precariously above the sea to the side of the epic Rock of Monaco. Jacques Cousteau was its director for more than three decades, and the aquarium in the basement houses more than 4,000 species of fish and sea fauna.
Feeling sporty? Because Monaco is such a tiny country, it might surprise you that you can take in 18 holes of golf. The Monte-Carlo Golf Club lies 3,000 feet above sea level. You may be so stunned by the views that your game will suffer. The same applies to tennis: Keep your eye on the ball at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, where you’ll play on the same clay courts used for the Rolex Masters, but the view is distracting.
Speaking of heights, just a taxi ride away is Èze, the ancient village perched overlooking the Riviera, with winding streets and cascading bougainvillea. Spend the afternoon shopping for perfume and stop at the simple Gascogne Café for steak au poivre and salade niçoise. Want gourmet cuisine? Philippe Labbe’s former restaurant at the Chevré d’Or hotel has two Michelins. It’s currently under the guidance of chef de cuisine Ronan Kervarrec.
Whether you’re looking for a larger yacht or just talking to brokers, Monaco is definitely the place to be in September.
|282ft. 4in. (86.1m)||Quattroelle||Lürssen|
|262ft. 4in. (80m)||Chopi Chopi||CRN|
|239ft. 5in. (73m)||Grace E||Picchiotti/Perini Navi|
|213ft. 2in. (65m)||Galactica Star||Heesen Yachts|
|196ft. 8in. (60m)||Seahawk||Perini Navi|
|190ft. 9in. (58.2m)||J’ade||CRN|
|180ft. 5in.(55m)||Ocean Paradise||Benetti|
|158ft. 9in. (48.4m)||Nativa||Arzana Navi|
|158ft. 6in. (48.31m)||Param Jamuna IV||Rossinavi|
|154ft. 2in. (47m)||Orient Star||CMB Yachts|
|137ft. (41.8m)||Sofia||Moonen Shipyards|
|134ft. 10in. (41.1m)||Nameless||Mondo Marine|
|134ft. 6in. (41m)||Aziza||ISA Yachts|
|131ft. 2in. (40m)||Cacos V||Admiral Tecnomar Group|
|131ft. 2in. (40m)||Columbus Sport||Columbus Yachts|
|131ft. 2in.(40m)||Sun Lover||Sunseeker|
|130ft. 2in. (39.7m)||Apostrophe||Hakvoort|
|129ft. 3in. (39.4m)||State of Grace||Perini Navi|
|125ft. (38.1m)||Twilight||Dubois Yachts|
|118ft. 7in. (36.2m)||Friendship||Canados|
|107ft. 2in. (32.7m)||M & A’s||Canados|
|106ft. 11in. (32.6m)||Inukshuk||Baltic Yachts|
|106ft. 11in. (32.6m)||Majesty 105||Gulf Craft|
|103ft. (31.5m)||Hevea||Southern Wind Shipyard|
|99ft. 7in. (30.4m)||Magic Carpet Cubed||Wally Yachts|
|94ft. 1in. (28.7m)||Mangusta 94||Overmarine|
|81ft. (24.7m)||Feelin’ Good||Southern Wind|
|76ft. (23.2m)||Silent Admiral||Admiral Tecnomar Group|
A Yacht Owner’s Top Monaco Distractions
Kirk Lazarus’s 143-foot (43.6-meter) Benetti, Told u So, is a highly successful charter yacht whose homeport is Monaco. Lazarus’s current business is focused on Molori Design and Molori Private Retreats—his five-star hotels located in South Africa, Australia and the United States. Time spent on Told u So affords Lazarus both relaxation and the opportunity to play hard. Lazarus revels in swimming, surfing, diving, paddle boarding, Seabobbing and riding personal watercraft. When he does get off his boat, he makes a point of enjoying where is. Here are some of Lazarus’s favorite Monaco haunts and distractions.
• Monte-Carlo Beach Club
• Eden Plage Mala in Cap d’Ail (live jazz Sundays)
• Anjuna Restaurant et Plage Privée in Eze sur Mer (cool band Saturdays)
• Paloma Beach at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (August and September)
• Monte-Carlo Market
• Metropole Shopping Center
• Casino Square (“Good for luxury items such as Chanel for special friends.”)
• Boulevard des Moulins
• Le Bar Américain in the Hôtel de Paris
• Metropole Shopping Center (good cookies)
• Buddha Bar
• Le Bar Américain in the Hôtel de Paris
• Café de Paris, Casino Square
• Life Club, Ni Box
• Cipriani (“If you want to be seen in the scene.”)
• Buddha Bar (“To be part of the scene and if you want to achieve status as a regular.”)
• Avenue 31
• Maya Bay
• Le Grill, Hôtel de Paris
• Sass Café (“Dinner and dancing for the singles.”)
• Zelo’s (“More of a local crowd, which is what I prefer.”)
• Jimmy’z (“Welcome to the show.”)
• Billionaire Club in the Fairmont
• Le Méridien (“Good burger at 40€. I love burgers.”)
• And of course, aboard Told u So. (“The preferred choice of the serious early-morning eater because my chef prepares everything exactly to your palate. We offer VIP service day, night and even wee morning hours after a late night out.”)
• Beach volleyball at Larvotto Beach (“A ‘must-do’ for active people—and that is where you are likely to find me because it is my passion.”)