Monaco ‘s Hidden Local Havens
Every year, an influx of tourist who enjoys the sights of Monaco floods the Principality. Of the 37,308 population of the nation in 2016, 47% are French, 16% are Italian, with 21% coming from 139 countries. Only 16% of the population are Monagesque, the ancestral citizens of the Principality. Despite the overwhelming foreign population, the locals preserve their identity through their favorite places where they do most of their activities. Let us have a look at these hidden local havens of Monaco, hidden spots where much of the lives of the Monégasque, both personal and social, revolves.
Parc Princesse Antoinette
With all the greens around in contrast to the on-going high-rise development around the area, it proves that Monegasque enjoys nature within modernity. By the end of June, a visitor can witness a tradition continuously observed. Picnics are enjoyed by families, lovers, and friends with an open-air meal to enjoy. Hundred-year-old olive trees are present in the park.
Got kids? Their mini farm home to sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, and rabbits is a must-go. For those in a meditative mood, a “Zen place” is recently installed where one can enjoy self alone in silence and in peace. There is also a multi-purpose sports ground where one can play a variety of outdoor activities like ball games, table tennis, or badminton. It also has a small skateboard park and a miniature golf course. Truly a relaxing and fun place.
Marché de la Condamine
Considered the heart of the Principality where people gathers, this place genuinely belongs to the Monagesque. Regional fruits are available, as well as vegetables and flowers. Both product and setting show a regional focus. One can enjoy a relaxed and friendly atmosphere with an amazing variety of food at great prices. It’s a place tourist usually miss. Go down to place d’Armes coming from Parc Princess. Then, a series of signs for Avs Crovetto and Prince Pierre leads to the place.
One can enjoy locally produced specialties: socca, barbagiuans, pissaladière, and fougasse. Feel nostalgic with its Provencal motifs of ceramic tiles that decorate its terracotta pavements under the soft, warm shades of the market hall.
If what one looks for in visiting in Monaco is their famous socca, then this is a place one should go. Expect a very long line, though it is always worth the wait. Socca is a chickpea flour with water cooked in an oven, in thin snack-size yellow slices, typically enjoyed in morning breaks. Eat it with wine, coffee, or on its own. The food stand is located off place d’Armes in their covered food court.
Chapelle de la Miséricorde
Monaco is predominantly a Roman Catholic country. Faithful ones celebrate traditional Latin mass here on Sunday evenings to satisfy their spiritual needs. The vicinity is decorated with 17th-century paintings, which many pilgrimages admire. It also houses a wooden sculpture of Christ sculpted by François-Joseph Bosio, a Monegasque sculptor to Emperor Napoleon I.
Club Bouliste du Rocher
If one wants to experience a more local vibe of the Monagesque culture, you can readily find it here. Immersing yourself in the place will give one insight into the daily life of Monaco without paying for it. Priority is given to members of the club/restaurant, though advance booking for everyone is accepted. Enjoy a sip of pastis or have a taste of the traditional dish of barbajuans (fried chard-filled ravioli). The place is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. One can also pop-in for a coffee while enjoying the view of Port Hercule. Visitors can also play a game or two of boules or petanque, which most visitors do in the afternoon.
It is a hidden cove where one can enjoy a rare pleasure of serenity in a very secluded place. A very capricious place during stormy weathers, this secret shingle beach will give a very refreshing dip in the Mediterranean on fine days. Stretching about only about 20m long, there is enough space for tourists to lay a towel and enjoy themselves by soaking in the sun. A steep staircase near the Parking des Pêcheurs is the only way to get there. It’s a hidden place so no problem with crowding.
A Living Treasure
These places are the local ancestral citizens’ treasure. They are sources of pride for them, for they are something they can call their own. Monaco’s hidden local havens preserve the identity of the native Monégasque despite the unending flood of foreigners whom the beauty of their principality they share with.
Please visit the Official Tourism Website of Monaco.