Welcome to the Prince’s Palace, home to royalty, tradition, and…American movie stars?
That’s right! American film star Grace Kelly became the Princess of Monaco after she married the city’s prince, Rainier III, in 1956. Talk about a fairytale ending!
While Princess Grace and her prince are now gone, their legacy lives on inside the palace and in their children, Princess Caroline, Princess Stéphanie, and Prince Albert II – the current ruler of Monaco.
Look around the palace for portraits of the royal family. And be sure to see if the flag is flying outside – that means Prince Albert II is in residence! Start working on your curtsy!
When to Go
Between April and November.
The palace is closed to the public the rest from November to April.
While you can’t visit the palace after dark, be sure to look for it at night - it looks quite impressive all lit up!
Entrance to the Prince’s Palace is €8 for adults, and €4 for children ages 8 to 14. Children under 8 are free.
A visit to the State Apartments and the Oceanographic museum is €19 for adults, €11 for children ages 13-18, €9 for children 8-12, and €7 for children 4-7. Children under 4 are free.
History of the Prince’s Palace
- The uniquely located Prince’s Palace was built on the site of a fortress, originally built by the Genoese in 1215.
- It dominates Monaco-Ville from “the Rock” and is home to Monaco’s royal family.
- Although built mainly in the 13th century, parts of the palace date from the Renaissance.
- During the French Revolution, the palace was used as a hospital for the Italian Army.
- Throughout the centuries, the Prince’s Palace was transformed into one of the most luxurious residences in the Louis XIV style.
- Prince Honore II was responsible for re-assembling the amazing art collections, which had been auctioned off during the French Revolution. Prince Rainier III, however, is credited with restoring the palace to its former glory.
What to See
- The Main Courtyard
- The Throne Room
- The Salons
- The York Room
- The Sainte-Marie Tower
The main courtyard outside the Prince’s Palace is the spot for the famous summer concerts. If you’re in Monaco during the summer months, be sure to check them out.
The courtyard is paved with 3 million pebbles forming geometrical patterns, and it is home to a noble 17th century double-revolution marble staircase, which was inspired by the staircase at the Château Fontainebleau.
The courtyard is guarded 24/7 and you can watch the guards in their elegant uniforms. Be sure to catch the changing of the guard. It happens at 11:55 am everyday.
Historic festivals and ceremonies have been held in the Throne Roomsince the 16th century. It is where all official ceremonies take place, such as the swearing-in of high government officials.
The throne room has a large Renaissance fireplace, and stunning ceiling and wall frescoes painted by Orazio Ferrari. The royal throne rests under a red silk velvet canopy topped by the royal crown. Above the throne hangs the Grimaldi coat of arms and motto: Deo Juvante (“with God’s help”).
The York Room was named as such because the Duke of York died there in 1787. The brother of King George III of England, he had been on a voyage near Monaco when he fell ill.
Despite the room’s eerie history, it is decorated in beautiful frescoes representing the four seasons. The room is also a very important part of the palace. The marble table in the center of the room is the designated signing place of official documents.
The Salons are adorned with many frescoes and portraits and each room is decorated distinctly.
The Mazarin Salon is adorned with ornate Italian woodwork done by Italian artists brought to France by Cardinal Mazarin. His portrait hangs over the fireplace.
In the Louis XV salon, called the Yellow Room, you’ll find period furniture and tapestries, as well as a portrait of Princess Louise-Hippolyte by painter Jean Baptiste Van Loo. The room is decorated in bright yellow and gold, hence its name.
Following suit is the Blue Room, in a marvelous harmony of blue and gold. Its walls are lined with blue silk brocade, and from its ceiling hang dazzling Venetian chandeliers. This room is often used for official receptions, probably because it’s so pretty!
Back outside, the Sainte-Marie Tower built during the reign of Albert I (as was the nearby Clock Tower). When the Prince is in residence, his flag flies from the top of this tower. Look for it!