National Day of Monaco: La Fête du Prince
Saint-Rainier day is Monégasque National Day. It is held on every 19th of November. Locals celebrate with fireworks over Port Hercule harbor the evening before (the night of the 18th). A mass is given in the St. Nicholas Cathedral the next morning. As part of the celebrations, the City Hall of Monaco also offers a show for children. Two gala evenings are held at Espace Léo Ferré. The people of Monaco celebrate by displaying the Monégasque flag and wearing white and red.
Parades that shows the Nation’s Pride
A parade in front of the Palace follows the mass in the morning in the Cathedral. It’s a great opportunity to see the Knights of Malta, ambassadors, consuls and state officials in uniforms as they congregate in the Place Saint Nicholas. There are festivities throughout the town. This includes concerts, parades on the Place du Palais and medal ceremonies. Live coverage of events in Monaco available on “Monaco Channel” (starting at 9:55 AM in Monaco, or 3:55 AM EST).
A Rich History
The current National Festival dates back to the reign of Prince Charles III. It is when the Principality became a modern, truly independent state. It is when the nation obtained its own flag, diplomatic representation, and treaties with foreign powers. In the second year of his reign, in 1857, Charles III picked November 4, as the “Sovereign’s Festival”. It is also the day of his favorite patron saint. During his reign, on the day of the “Prince’s Festival,” as it is called by the Monégasque, people regularly celebrates with a Te Deum in the church of Saint-Nicolas. The cathedral’s construction began in January 1875, and its inauguration is in April 1884. The cathedral is yet to be finished on its inauguration day.
As early as 1871, following the Te Deum, the first military parade took place on the Place du Palais with the Prince’s Guards. There were also joyous celebrations, fireworks, concerts and popular games on the Rock. It was not until 1875 that the “Carabiniers” took part in the parade. On 19 November 1949, celebrated is the accession to the throne of Prince Rainier III, and Sovereign Order n° 465 of 27 October 1951 fixed the date of the National Festival, also the Festival of Saint-Rainier, on 19 November. H.S.H. Prince Albert II retained the date of 19 November, in preference to 15 November, Saint Albert’s Day. His reason is to celebrate the National Festival on that day. Saint-Rainier Day: the National Day for Monégasque, is truly a much-valued event by the Monégasque citizens.
- November 15th and 16th: Monaco’s National Day is also being celebrated at La Condamine Market on the Place d’Armes on the 15th and 16th as well as the 19th of November. There’ll be lots of delicious local food specialties to taste and to buy. There are dance evenings on the 15th and 16th.
- Wednesday, November 16th, at 15h (3 pm): A children’s show held at Espace Léo Ferré. “Les Magiciens Ozent” will enchant the youngest (3 to 10 years) through a live show, immersing children in the land of magic.
- Friday, November 18th, at 20h (8 pm): Fireworks and an unusual musical laser show over the Port of Monaco. Rendez-vous avenue d’Ostende to enjoy the best point of view!
- Friday, November 18th, at 21h (9 pm) and Saturday, November 19 at 15h (3 pm): A ticketed “cabaret show” with many talented artists held at Espace Léo Ferré. 1h30 of entertainment.
- November 19th: Live music from 10 am to 2 pm and the preparation of a giant stockfish on the Place d’Armes.
10h (10 am) – Te Deum Mass in the Monaco Cathedral
11h20 (11:20 am) – “Prise d’Armes” Ceremony
11h40 (11:40 am) – Military Parade in the Place du Palais
13h (1 pm) – Official Lunch in the Salle du Trone
20h30 (8:30 pm) – National Day Reception and Gala Evening
The invitations for these shows are available at City Hall upon presentation of identity card or resident’s card, during the following times:
– Wednesday, November 7th, from 9h to 16h: for persons of Monégasque nationality;
– Thursday, November 8th, from 9h to 16h: for people of Monégasque nationality and residents of the Principality.
The reception staff will give the tickets for free by of Espace Léo Ferré at the request of the spectators. Bus services are free of charge on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 November, as the show ends, from the designated stop of the Commercial Center of Fontvieille. The shuttle will serve the various stops in the Principality according to requests. During these events, free parking is available at the Fontvieille Shopping Center and Papalins.
Date: November 16th (children’s show), 18th evening, and 19th throughout the day
Location: In front of the Palace, Port Hercule, and Espace Léo Ferré
Timing: See above
Organizer: The Principality of Monaco
Official Website page for Saint-Rainier National Day