When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
food / travel

24 Hours In Monaco, But Away From The Garish And Gaudy

It's possible to spend an entire day in Monaco, on the French Riviera, off the tourist trail, far from ostentatious jewelry and pampered princesses.

The old town of Monaco
The old town of Monaco
Sylvie Chayette

MONTE CARLO — Few places in the world are as marked by clichés as Monaco, with its casinos, Ferraris, gleaming "60s-era high-rises and glitzy royal family, a mainstay of the world's tabloids since American actress Grace Kelly became princess of the sovereign city-state in 1956.

At first glance, the place seems to be every bit as kitsch as the glossy magazines make it out to be. But an all-day stroll through some of its main wards (Monaco Ville, Monte Carlo, Moneghetti, La Condamine and Fontvieille) offers a more nuanced view of the microstate, revealing its timelessness and unexpectedly originality.

10 a.m.: diving into the Big Blue

Monaco"s other prince is Pierre Frolla, a world champion free diver who opened a diving school in 2002 called L'école bleue, in reference to the 1988 hit film Le Grand Bleu by French director Luc Besson.

At the school we cross paths with children from the region, along with a handful of visiting tourists and the royal family's security guards, who use the facility for training. We begin with a relaxation session and sun salutation on the beach. Afterwards a boat takes us to a free-diving site just a few minutes offshore.

More adventurous visitors can experiment with a "gueuse," a special free-diving device made famous by the film. The apparatus is fitted with a kind of balloon of compressed air and helps swimmers break out of the water.

For aquaphobes, an alternative morning activity option is a visit to the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, an architectural masterpiece that overhangs the Mediterranean. The site has some 90 ponds containing 6,000 specimens. There are also fish-feeding activities for children. The piranhas are a particular crowd pleaser.

11 a.m.: tasting the Barbajuans

On a market day in the district of La Condamine, the parade ground is overflowing with small bars. They are selling the renowned barbajuans, an appetizer that looks like giant ravioli. It's generally stuffed with Swiss chard, cheese and meat. You can also try the socca, a traditional dish made with chickpea flatbread. Otherwise, the Oceanographic Museum's panoramic restaurant offers a stunning view, perched as it is 85 meters above the sea.

2 p.m: waking Grace Kelly's ghost

After lunch, you can discover Monaco's historic city center and reach the district of Le Rocher (The Rock). A couple of houses located on rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette date back to the 16th century. There is the Princess Grace Irish library because royalty has been at the core of Monaco life for centuries. The place was inaugurated in 1984 by Prince Rainier III in honor of his wife's Irish origins. It contains Grace Kelly's personal collection of Irish books and sheet music.

4 p.m.: seeing and being seen

It's hard to skip the Monte Carlo Casino, but it's better to stop by in the afternoon rather than at night, when it's really bustling.

That's when you can quietly visit the gaming rooms even if every private lounge area is closed. Next to it the Café de Paris remains the place to see and be seen. As such, you absolutely must choose tables located on the edge of the terrace.

6 p.m.: immersed in the cold

Head to Monaco's thermal baths opposite the brand new yacht club. Classic treatments are heavenly but very expensive. Bold adventurers can try the cryotherapy complex that treats muscular pathologies. In just three minutes, the cells are renewed and pain headache decreases. At the end of the experience, some clients swear they feel pleasantly doped.

8 p.m.: dinner under the stars

The Société des Bains de Mer, founded in 1863, is controlled by the government. It manages several casinos, more than 30 restaurants and many five-star hotels. TheMonte-Carlo Beach is a particularly good location. The hotel offers a 115-euro dinner menu (excluding drinks) that can be enjoyed while your feet are in the water. Italian chef Paolo Sari has been given a star in the Michelin Guide with his 100% organic cooking.

Blue Bay chef Marcel Ravin also has a Michelin star. A Martinique native, he mixes different flavors for a unique-tasting result such as his delicious carbonara pasta with truffle cream and papaya. The kitchen can be seen from the dining room, and the service is very friendly and relaxed. Prices are reasonable given the quality of the cooking: It begins at 108 euros for a menu (excluding drinks).

Midnight: moving to Cap-D'Ail

Spending the night in Monaco will cost you more than 450 euros. If you don't want to pay that price, you'll have to go to the next seaside resort, one train station away. It's called Cap-D'ail and is situated in southeastern France.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


How Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest