Michel BouquierWe find out what’s good in Monaco, straight from the man who knows – Michel Bouquier, President of the Monaco Tourism & Convention Authority.

What’s great about Monaco?
Monaco benefits from a delightful situation – between mountain and sea – and a glorious climate. You are more likely to wake up to blue skies than grey.

What is it about Monaco that makes it so worthwhile visiting?
As soon as you arrive in Monaco you feel a little bit special. The service is exemplary, the place is stunningly clean, the hotels are a marvel, the people are beautiful and the food is delectable. From the beginning of your stay to the end you will be treated like a superstar whether you are one or not.

What is unique about Monaco?
Being such a small place (no bigger than London’s Hyde Park), Monaco is ideal to explore on foot. There are wonderful restaurants, shops, attractions, coast, nightlife, sports facilities and culture all within walking distance.

What do visitors have to see / do while in Monaco?
The casino is the most popular attraction and is an architectural gem. A visit to the old town – to the palace, the cathedral and the quaint cobbled streets – is essential to get a full flavour of Monaco, many people are surprised by how charming it is.

Is there anyone in Monaco that visitors must meet?
No one in particular, but visitors should keep their eyes peeled for who they may bump into – it is not unusual to queue up behind a movie star in any shop!

What hotels do you recommend?
There are some wonderful hotels in Monaco. The Hotel de Paris is the original classic .The Hermitage is a belle époque jewel with a discreet charm. The Metropole is fabulously opulent. The Fairmont is right on the edge of the Mediterranean, while Le Meridien has a private beach. The Columbus and the Port Palace are smaller and super-trendy. For excellent value the smart Novotel Monte Carlo is a good bet.

What is / are your favourite restaurant(s)?
Gastronomy is a huge thing in Monaco and so it is impossible to make a selection of a favourite. One can find any type of food for any budget. There are beach restaurants, pizza places in the harbour, delightful sushi restaurants in state of the art buildings, brasseries on Casino square, dinner shows with champagne and fireworks, gourmet Michelin starred restaurants and many more…

What is your favourite pub / bar and why?
Having a glass of champagne at the Bar Américain in the Hôtel de Paris is a unique treat. The new Brasserie de Monaco is a great experience – there is a micro brewery where they brew the beer in front of you. There are plenty of great places to enjoy a drink in Monaco.

Which is the best time of year to visit and why?
This type of question was once asked of Mrs Clicquot the famous widow of the champagne industry – what is the best time in the day to drink champagne? She answered : 11:00 AM …. through to 11:00AM the next day!

We would answer the same way for Monaco : January … through to January the following year. There is no slow or off season in Monaco. The weather is absolutely beautiful all year round, the shops are open, hotels and restaurants are in operation and there is a non-stop calendar of events.

During the winter season (from November – March) you get exceptionally good value on rooms.

Which is your preferred method of reaching Monaco from the UK?
Flights from London (Gatwick, Heathrow and City) only take about two hours, and then I get the seven-minute helicopter from Nice to the Principality – it only costs €99!
Monaco also provides a non stop bus shuttle airport service every 30 minutes. The journey lasts about 25 to 30 minutes and it cost € 13 one way.