Until the world opens up, we’re asking our Contiki Trip Managers to share their advice on recreating their favourite cities to travel from home. Here, Trip Manager Dora Jokkel will transport you to the French Riviera with this guide to Monaco. Here she shares what to watch, listen to and cook to transport yourself to one of Europe’s most exclusive spots.
Yes, it’s the tiny French Riviera city-state where 32% of the population are millionaires. So, if Monaco is on your destination list, you’ll definitely need to factor in a decent budget! But the good news is that for now, we can bring you all the glam vibes with my mini guide to Monaco…
This destination is the backdrop for some of the most glitzy films out there…
Grace of Monaco (2014)
A biographical drama about Grace Kelly (played by Nicole Kidman), the former Hollywood star and Princess of Monaco. She’s probably the most famous member of Monaco’s royal family. She gave up her career and became a princess at the age of 26, but tragically died in a car accident at 52.
Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
Danny Ocean and his team try to pull off another heist involving a TON of money. The Monte Carlo Casino served as one of the many filming locations for this action movie.
Monte Carlo (2011)
Three girlfriends make their way from Paris to Monte Carlo, featuring Selena Gomez, Leighton Meester and Katie Cassidy.
James Bond movies
007 turned up in Monaco a couple of times – Never Say Never Again (1983) and Golden Eye (1995) feature scenes that were filmed in this wealthy country.
When I want to travel to the gorgeous streets of Monaco, these are the BEST songs to listen to…
- ‘Grace Kelly’ by Mika – named after the famous Princess of Monaco and American actress, Grace Kelly
- ‘Welcome to St. Tropez’ by DJ Antoine – the song is about the French Riviera but the lyrics perfectly fit Monaco’s lifestyle
- ‘Billionaire’ by Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars – because Monaco is basically THE playground of the rich and famous
Loser Takes All by Graham Greene is a beautiful book set in Monte Carlo (and kind of like a creative guide to Monaco!). A couple plans to get married and go on their honeymoon in England. However, the groom’s boss orders them to move the wedding and the honeymoon to Monte Carlo because they need to get business done there. When the couple arrives in Monaco, the boss doesn’t show up and the groom starts gambling in order to pay their hotel room bills. He plays more and more games but starts losing the connection with his wife. The book is all about how money really can’t buy you happiness.
Crépe Suzette is a food that was invented accidentally. It’s a French dessert but was first created in Monte Carlo, at Café de Paris. It consists of crépes served with a special syrup made of caramelized sugar and butter, and topped with orange juice, zest and Grand Manier liquor. Of course, it wouldn’t be a true invention of Monaco if it wasn’t impressive: the alcoholic sauce is set on fire (‘flambé style’) in front of your eyes.
The story goes that Crépe Suzette was created from a mistake made by an assistant waiter in 1895 at Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales – the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The waiter accidentally set the dessert on fire, which gave it the extra caramelized taste. When he served it, the king ate it all and asked the name of the dessert. The waiter came up with the name “Crépe Princesse”. The king’s guests included a beautiful French woman named Suzette. King Edward asked the waiter to change the name of the dessert to “Crépe Suzette” to honor the present lady. Saucy! Here’s how to make it:
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For the crêpes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon water
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- 2 teaspoons orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter (for cooking)
For the orange syrup
- 16 tablespoons butter
- 3 oranges, juiced
- 1 orange, zested
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 ounces Grand Marnier
- Prepare the crépes: whisk the flour, milk, water, eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter, orange juice, and salt vigorously until the batter is completely smooth; allow the batter to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before making the crépes.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a crêpe pan or large skillet over low-medium heat.
- Add 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan and swirl until the bottom of the pan is covered with batter.
- Cook the crépe for 1 minute, or until the crêpe is slightly moist on top and golden underneath.
- Gently flip the crépe and place it upside down into the pan. Cook for 1 minute and transfer the cooked crépe to a plate to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
- Pour the orange juice into a saucepan, and add the zest, butter and sugar. Bring to the boil, and then turn the heat down to a simmer, cooking for a further 10 to 15 mins until the sauce becomes syrupy.
- Fold the crêpes into quarters or roll them into cylinders. Then arrange them in a large pan, or any oven-proof dish, slightly overlapping in a circular pattern.
- Pour over the warm syrup and then gently heat the crepes through for about 3 mins over a low heat.
- Warm the Grand Manier or orange liqueur of your choice in the emptied but still syrupy saucepan. When the crepes are hot in the orange sauce, pour over the liqueur and set light to the pan to flambe them. Serve immediately, spooning crepes and sauce onto each plate.
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The Princess Flower Cocktail is inspired by real-life princess, Grace Kelly. Here’s how to make this delectable drink in her memory…
- 10ml St Germain elderflower liqueur
- Dash of plum bitters
- 25.5ml Créme de Violette (liqueur flavored with violet flower)
- Lemon peel
- Glass topped with Rose Champagne
- Add all but the Champagne and shake
- Pour into a coupe or martini-style cocktail glass
- Add the Champagne
- Add a rose petal to garnish
Once it’s ready, just sit back, take a sip and imagine yourself to a glamorous poolside, living the Monaco life…