June 26, 2014

My Bucket List: Living the High Life in Monte Carlo

The tiny principality of Monaco has more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world. So naturally you’ll find the flashy sports cars, luxury hotels and super yachts to keep them amused. While planning my last visit to the French Riviera I couldn’t resist sampling a little bit of the high life myself by adding two once-in-a-lifetime splurges to my bucket list: a ride in a Ferrari sports car and dinner at a Michelin star restaurant.

Principality of Monaco

Ride in a Ferrari
Liven Up Driving Experience offers travellers the unique opportunity to drive or be chauffeured through the streets of Monaco and along the Corniche roads in a flashy red F430 Spider. I chose to enjoy the beautiful Côte d'Azur scenery and leave the driving to the professional. Besides, a powerful beast like the Spider deserves a more aggressive driver than me. And during the ride I felt a little like Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief! (Watch the movie trailer.)

Streets of Monaco by Ferrari

Michelin Star Dining
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to dine in one of the world’s top restaurants? I have, so I made a reservation at Le Louis XV at the luxurious Hotel de Paris on Place du Casino in Monte Carlo. Famed Chef Alain Ducasse has been awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide. He’s also written several cookbooks, including Cooking for Kids: From Babies to Toddlers: Simple, Healthy and Natural Food. At the time of our visit in 2012 the restaurant was celebrating its 25th year. The following year he prepared a gala dinner for the royal wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco. 

Hotel de Paris, Monte Carlo

Ducasse prides himself on serving quality local ingredients. The menu at Le Louis XV is inspired by the French and Italian Rivieras, featuring regional delicacies such as black truffles and Mediterranean sea bass. The dining room's décor is grand and the service impeccable (without being stuffy) Everything you'd expect from a three-star dining experience!

Le Louis XV - Alain Ducasse

If you go:

Liven Up Driving Experience - Prices start at €59 for a 15-minute passenger experience and €119 to get behind the wheel. Several options are available, with pick-up points in Nice, Eze Village and Monaco. Get full details and book your own Ferrari ride on the Liven Up Driving Experience website. 

Le Louis XV - Reservations for lunch or dinner can be made online on the Hotel de Paris website. The more thrifty option, the Seasonal Club Lunch Menu, starts at €145 (Yes, if you're going to live the high life it’s best not to think about the prices.)

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