Dating back to 1215, the Prince’s Palace (Palais du Prince) is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco and one of Monaco’s most impressive landmarks. As well as hosting state occasions and royal celebrations, the palace receives flocks of tourists who come to tour the lavish state rooms and watch the traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Each year from April into October, the Prince’s Palace opens its doors so the public can explore the State Apartments, including the magnificent Throne Room and the Versailles-inspired Mirror Gallery. The unique car collection of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III of Monaco is open every day of the year except Christmas.
Most Monaco sightseeing tours and shore excursions include at least a photo stop at the Prince’s Palace, often alongside other historic sites and landmarks such as the Monte Carlo Casino (Casino de Monte Carlo) or the Formula 1 Grand Prix track (Circuit de Monte Carlo). Many travelers opt to visit Monaco on a half- or full-day tour from neighboring France, and tours run from Nice, Cannes, and Marseille. Most tours combine multiple destinations, with popular stops including the hilltop villages of Eze and La Turbie, or coastal towns like Antibes or Villefranche-sur-Mer.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Visitor numbers to the State Apartments are limited, so it’s best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Leave yourself around an hour to explore the palace and car collection.
- The State Apartments are accessed via stairs only and therefore are not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Prince’s Palace is located on the Place du Palais in the Old Town of Monaco, close to Saint Nicholas Cathedral and about a 10-minute walk from Place d’Armes. If you’re skipping a tour and visiting with your own transportation, park in the Parking des Pecheurs (a 20-minute walk), as only registered vehicles are allowed in the Old Town.
When to Get There
The most popular time to visit is during summer, when the palace is open to the public and the renowned Concerts du Palais Princier classical music concerts are held in the Cour d’Honneur of the Prince’s Palace throughout July and August. Time your visit for just before midday to watch the traditional Changing of the Guard (Carabiniers du Prince) or drive past in the evening to catch the illuminated palace at its most atmospheric.
Princess Grace Kelly
Although the Grimaldi family has been the head of the Monacan monarchy for centuries, the moment that propelled them to global stardom was in 1956, when Hollywood movie star Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III. Together they had three children, Prince Albert—now the crown Prince Albert II—Princess Charlotte, and Princess Caroline. Grace Kelly’s tastes are said to have influenced much of the palace’s 20th-century refurbishments.