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Visiting Moneghetti, in the Principality of Monaco: steep, Alpine inclines near the Mediterranean
A both near and distant suburb
This is the suburb (1) of the Principality of Monaco where — on foot — I realized just how much I suffered from breathlessness! Because Moneghetti (2) has steep slopes, which represent the foothills of the Alps as they sweep down to the Mediterranean. (Not for nothing is the adjoining department of neighbouring France known as Alpes-Maritimes.)
Although this is a suburb where may day visitors to the Principality might travel through rather than to, yet many overnight visitors to Monaco will actually be based at Moneghetti, given the existence of various, small hotels in the suburb.
Predominantly residential in character, one of the suburbs more well-known features is a square known as place Lamarck. Situated a short distance from the boundary with the French town of Beausoleil, the square is named for French naturalist and soldier Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829), who in his military rôle was stationed at Monaco.
The sheer steepness of the inclines in the vicinity are mirrored over the border in Beausoleil; indeed, a part of Beausoleil which is adjacent to Moneghetti is so steep that access from this area of Beausoleil to this French town's Downtown area is usually via road through the Principality. Border formalities have been largely abolished by treaty (2), and 'on the ground' the geographical intertwining of Beausoleil with Moneghetti is a very vivid reality.
Moneghetti is conveniently situated for both Monaco-Monte Carlo railroad station and the Exotic Garden (French: Jardin Exotique). Here I must refer back to the breathlessness, mentioned earlier. While Moneghetti's steep slopes may bring breathlessness to the pedestrian, yet from the nearby Exotic Garden there may be obtained such superb views of The Rock (French: Le Rocher) of Monaco, that many visitors will find them literally breathtaking. Well worth the journey, whether on foot or by vehicle! (3).
Look up from Fontvieille or Le Rocher, and you will see Moneghetti: as the proverbial crow flies, only some hundreds of metres away. But getting there — especially on foot — can be somewhat of an expedition: and thus from these often visited suburbs, situated at lower levels of the Principality, Moneghetti may be described as both near and distant at the same time. It may be mentioned here that an efficient and very regular bus service — in various lines — runs to all corners of Monaco, while it should be borne in mind also that because of very steep inclines these bus routes often wind back and forth as they climb to the higher localities, making a theoretically short journey much longer.
December 18, 2013
(1) Contrary to popular assumption, this small European country, has many distinct suburbs, all with their own character. It is possible for visitors to Monaco to spend entire days in the Principality visiting fascinating and absorbing localities and not leave its borders at all. These suburbs include: Le Rocher/Monaco-Town and Monte-Carlo (clearly the most famous ones), but also La Condamine, Moneghetti, Fontvieille, La Colle, Les Révoires, Saint-Michel, Tenao, Larvotto and La Rousse/Saint-Roman. Monaco is thus in some ways reminiscent of a Medieval city-state.
(2) Since it is theoretically possible to arrive in Monaco via its port facilities or Heliport from countries outside the European Union, in these circumstances travellers should on arrival speak with Monaco government officials. In practice, for border crossings to and from neighbouring France, travel is generally not subject to controls or restrictions. (It needs to be borne in mind also that, while visitors may move freely through the Principality, any visiting individual deemed not to be conforming to an orderly code of conduct may be required to leave the country: in such cases, instead of putting the individual through the courts system, the Monaco police is likely simply to deport them discreetly to the French border. It is hard to avoid seeing the police in the Principality; frequently they are visible literally everywhere.)
(3) In the local, Monégasque language, Moneghetti means 'little Monaco'.
Also worth seeing
In Moneghetti itself, the Church of the Sacred Heart (French: Eglise du Sacré-Cœur), Moneghetti, was for many years associated with the Jesuit Order. (With the exception of the Vatican, Monaco is the state with the proportionately greatest concentration of members of religious orders.)
The visitor attractions of Monaco are too numerous to summerize adequately, but a few of these include the Prince's Palace and the Napoleon Museum; the Stamp and Coin Museum in Fontvieille; the Princess Grace Rose Garden; the Oceanographic Museum.
Beausoleil, France (mainly adjacent to Monaco's suburbs of Moneghetti and Monte Carlo and Tenao) the parish church at place du Commandant Raynal is of architectural note. The Town Hall is also striking.
How to get there: Delta Airlines flies direct from New York to Nice, France (Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur), where car rental is available. Bus links also exist from Nice airport to Monaco. The French railroad company SNCF maintains services to Monaco from Downtown Nice. Please be aware that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.