Destination: French Riviera
Top Ten
1 Casino, Monte-Carlo
2 Corniche d'Or
3 Èze
4 Fondation Maeght, St-Paul-de-Vence
5 Îles de Lérins
6 MAMAC, Nice
7 Musée Matisse, Nice
8 Musée Océanographique, Monaco
9 Musée Picasso, Antibes
10 Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
1 Casino, Monte-Carlo

The world's most famous casino symbolises all that is opulent and glamorous in Monte-Carlo - a 'must-see', even if you are not a gambler.

The Casino de Monte-Carlo is probably the most famous building on the French Riviera, known in its heyday as the 'Cathedral of Hell'. It was opened in 1878 by Prince Charles III (after whom Monte-Carlo is named), to save himself from bankruptcy. Such was its success that, five years later, he abolished taxation.

The resplendent building was designed by Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris Opéra. Its lavish belle- epoque interior is a riot of pink, green and gold, with marble floors, bronze sculptures, onyx columns and highly ornate ceilings, lit by crystal chandeliers. Note the painted ceiling of the Pink Salon Bar depicting female nudes smoking cigars. It was here in 1891 that Charles Deville Wells turned $400 into $40,000 in a three-day gambling spree, thus inspiring the popular tune 'The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte-Carlo'.

Ever since, bronzed, bejewelled gamblers have come here from all over the world to try their luck at the gaming tables. Yet gone are the days when the Monégasques could live entirely off the folly of others. Revenue from the Casino has declined, so that now it is worth much more as a tourist attraction.

The Casino building also houses the Salle Garnier, a smal, highly ornate opera house, which, for more than a century, has welcomed the world's greatest artists.

Address: place du Casino
Phone: 377/92 16 21 21
Open: Casino: daily from noon (except 1 May). European Rooms from 2pm; Private Rooms from 3pm, weedays from 4pm in summer; English Club from 10pm. Salle Garnier: open only for performances
Restaurant: Bar and restaurants (Expensive)
Bus: Monaco/Monte-Carlo
Accessible: Very good
Admission: Expensive
Practical: No persons under 21. Passport required. Jacket and tie recommended
French Riviera
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