Prince's Palace of Monaco

Monaco, Monaco

The Prince's Palace of Monaco is the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress, during its long and often dramatic history it has been bombarded and besieged by many foreign powers. Since the end of the 13th century, it has been the stronghold and home of the Grimaldi family who first captured it in 1297. The Grimaldi ruled the area first as feudal lords, and from the 17th century as sovereign princes, but their power was often derived from fragile agreements with their larger and stronger neighbours.

Thus while other European sovereigns were building luxurious, modern Renaissance and Baroque palaces, politics and common sense demanded that the palace of the Monegasque rulers be fortified. This unique requirement, at such a late stage in history, has made the palace at Monaco one of the most unusual in Europe. Indeed, when its fortifications were finally relaxed during the late 18th century, it was seized by the French and stripped of its treasures, and fell into decline, while the Grimaldi were exiled for over 20 years.

The Grimaldi's occupation of their palace is also unusual because, unlike other European ruling families, the absence of alternative palaces and land shortages have resulted in their use of the same residence for more than seven centuries. Thus, their fortunes and politics are directly reflected in the evolution of the palace. Whereas the Romanovs, Bourbons, and Habsburgs could, and frequently did, build completely new palaces, the most the Grimaldi could achieve when enjoying good fortune, or desirous of change, was to build a new tower or wing, or, as they did more frequently, rebuild an existing part of the palace. Thus, the Prince's Palace reflects the history not only of Monaco, but of the family which in 1997 celebrated 700 years of rule from the same palace.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the palace and its owners became symbols of the slightly risqué glamour and decadence that were associated with Monte Carlo and the French Riviera. Glamour and theatricality became reality when the American film star Grace Kelly became chatelaine of the palace in 1956. In the 21st century, the palace remains the residence of the current Prince of Monaco.

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Address

Place du Palais, Monaco, Monaco
See all sites in Monaco

Details

Founded: 1191
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Monaco

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Michael Kelch (2 years ago)
If you've been to the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace, this won't compare. But if you find yourself at the palace in Monaco, what else would you do if you are not a personal friend of Prince Philip? Monaco is a beautiful, safe square mile of scenery. And near the palace are loads of little restaurants that can serve you pizza to seafood, reasonably priced.
Paul Biya (2 years ago)
Most beautiful building on earth. Get there by 11h50 if you want to see the guards shift switch, which is a nice ceremony that has been going for hundreds of years
Georgios Siokas (2 years ago)
It's a unique Palace. Everyone should go and see it if they are at Monaco. The view is great. The architecture is great.
John Grainger (2 years ago)
It's like a fairy tale Palace, not quite like Buckingham Palace, they have their soldiers in 18th century looking uniforms on parade, canons lined up glistening in the sun and hundreds of sweating tourists everywhere, the black Mercedes limos roll up and suited and booted dignitaries get in and out, but it feels more like a film set ! The views across the harbour of the many millionaires yachts made some great photos that everyone enjoys, perhaps it was worth the effort of climbing the hill to get up to it, but I would not recommend it if you have a busy schedule while in Monte Carlo.
Jaya Surjadinata (2 years ago)
Cleanest place you will ever go! We lucked out and arrived at noon and saw changing of the guards. Lovely place to stop at on the way to the must see Museum of oceanography.
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