This is the final attraction during the spectacular day visiting the Principality of Monaco. The Royal Palace is the official residence of Prince Albert, the reigning member of the well established Grimaldi family. In addition to viewing the Palace from the outside, we watched the daily changing of the guards ceremony and walked through the Palace residences.
The Royal Palace is also fronted by a large square surrounded by other buildings and is built atop a hill between the 2 harbours.
View of the Royal Palace, which is built on the hill between the 2 harbours. The Palace is surrounded on 3 sides by cliffs.
Front and main gate into the Royal Palace.
Grimaldi family coat of arms above the main gate
Guard outside the shack going through the routine.
On arrival at the Royal Palace, our guide provided some information and then advised we had well over an hour of free time to explore and watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at 11:55. I made the most of it and covered most of the streets on both sides, within a mile of the palace, getting some great photographs that are located in the other blog posts from today. I returned about 20 minutes before the ceremony and scored the perfect position to watch and record the ceremony, which incudes 7 guards departing and 7 arriving.
Normally only 1 guard shack is manned and the soldier only carries a sidearm, no machine gun. Therefore, the ceremony actually starts earlier by swapping the sentry for one with a machine gun and then another mans the other guard shack.
Both guard shacks now manned with machine gun armed guards and the Corporal observing from the main gate.
The retiring guards march out onto the concourse.
The relief guards enter, led by the small band.
Relief guards line up across the concourse from the ones being relieved.
Changing of the Guard Ceremony about to begin.
After the ceremony we headed to the maze of narrow streets leading off the square to a local restaurant, for a nice lunch and a couple glasses of wine. After lunch we returned to the Royal Palace for a tour of the residential wing. Absolutely no photographs are permitted, so I will not even post the ones that are freely available on the web. On entering, you are issued an audio guide, which is programmed sequentially for each room. One of the high points for me was a table on each side of the grand staircase down to the courtyard, which were both set up to pour draft beer. Now that is a modern day Royal Family.
We walked sequentially through the rooms, were were smaller than I expected, but all decorated extensively. The audio guide described the purpose of each room, the furnishings and extensive artworks. On completion, we retraced our steps back to the bus for the return to Cannes and the Sea Princess.