Visitors to Europe (and to France in particular) may be fatigued from seeing so many churches, even the fantastic ones, so at first glance, the relatively humble facade of the Monaco Cathedral may not rouse much excitement. But it's worth a visit for a variety of reasons.
First is its history. Generally referred to as the Cathédrale de Monaco, its official name is Cathédrale Notre-Dame-Immaculée, but it is also known as the Saint Nicholas Cathedral because of the original site on which the church was built, which was dedicated to Saint Nicholas in the 13th century. There are remnants of 15th-century architecture here, as well as a mish-mash of other styles.
The church is also notable for its relatively recent history, as this is where Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier III in 1956 and also the couple’s final resting place; you can visit their tombs and even leave flowers if you wish. All events for the Monaco royalty are held here, and it is the epicenter of national religious holidays.
The summer masses are also a reason to visit, as this is when the Children’s Choir of Monaco sings the hymns. Open to the faithful as well as non-religious visitors, it's quite an experience and a unique chance to see what local life is like in such a dream-like place.
Regular admission outside of religious services is free, and the church is open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., or 6 p.m. in winter. Mass takes place daily, at 8 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday, as well as 8:30 a.m. on Monday and Friday. Mass occurs twice every Sunday, at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.