For most people, Monaco is synonymous with Grace Kelly, glamorous casinos, private banks and Formula 1 maybe? Over the last few decades the Principality established itself as a major shopping capital, catering to an ever growing population of HNWI residents and jetsetters. Private jets, real estate, macaroons, diamonds, art: you name it, Monaco has it on display…within (short) walking distance. Think of a mall, only outdoor. Swap the A/C and artificial lights for an enjoyable sea breeze and sun. Trade superstores for authentic human-size boutiques where luxury is not measured by the glitter and square meters, but by the quality and exclusivity of the selection.
So how exactly is it possible to spend millions during a 15-minute walk you ask? And with a total feeling of absolute security. Well, say you are in Monaco, on a beautiful afternoon and you find yourself with a few hours to kill before joining your friends for a drink by the beach. This is what would happen:
The first thing to understand about Monaco is that it’s built on a mountain: the walk can be enjoyable or a real workout. So let’s walk our way down. The neighborhood to visit first is the Carré D’Or (Golden Triangle). Start at the Hotel Hermitage and the beautiful Prada boutique – if it’s around tea time, you can enjoy the afternoon tea inside this elegant belle-époque hotel. Then just cross the street to walk into Opera Gallery and wander around the different floors, cruising art works from Picasso, Warhol, Buffet and so many more. In front of the gallery is Zara, with a tasteful selection and a much cozier atmosphere than their usual stores. Do you see this construction site on your left as you exit? This promises to boast the new top penthouses in Monaco. Tempted? Then you are lucky because when the construction is completed, the bottom floors will be…more premium retail space. In the meantime, you can walk in the alleys of the Jardin des Boulingrins where pop-up stores have opened during the construction: Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Chanel, Lanvin, Saint Laurent and the like have taken over the former garden. The park opens directly onto the Casino Square – one of the most iconic sites of Monaco. Take a photo next to this impressive building by French architect Garnier and walk into Van Cleef and Arpels or Graff for your jewelry fix. Fancy a jet? Organize a meeting at Café de Paris for a drink with your favorite aviation broker. Now that you’re refreshed, you just have to cross the square to enter the lower levels of the prestigious Hotel Metropole to find the perfect small gifts: Vilebrequin swimsuits, fine wines, home goods and more. Going out of the Metropole, you’ll be making your way down to the “Fairmont Hairpin”. This is one of the most difficult sections of the F1 race track. Inside the Fairmont lobby you can find your latest fashion and cars at Bugatti Lifestyle. Take the steps down on your way out and arrive on the shoreline. Avenue Princess Grace is always in the Top 3 of the priciest neighborhoods because of its downtown beach location. However, a new man-made island will probably have a significant impact on the real estate in the area, so hold off on your investment. Along the Avenue you will also find yacht brokers, more art and finally, more cars. Monaco is a very specific market where the Happy Few come to spend and play for a few days or weeks in summer time. They’ll buy luxury cars to drive up to the casino, to the helipad or to the Monte Carlo Beach Club and resell it as they leave. As a result you end up with a great offering of second-hand sports cars, Rolls Royces, Bentleys or even McLaren at a very competitive price.
That was easy, wasn’t it? If you’re not convinced, simply open Google Maps and check the distance. Now you can relax and enjoy a beautiful Mediterranean sunset with a drink in your hand, your feet in the sand and your eyes on your next indulgence.