GRAND PRIX - HOW TO „SURVIVE“ (Monte Carlo)
For all „newcomers“ to this mega event, here are some information about daily life in town:
The Grand Prix starts on Thursday, 26 May and lasts until Sunday afternoon.
Most businesses are closed for that period until Monday.
Downtown Monaco is also closed for traffic all day on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, and Friday morning.
Visitors by car from out of town will be directed to the underground parkings in Fontvieille.
If you want to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic in town ... WALK or take the bus.
If you come back to Monaco from out of town, choose the autoroute exits at La Turbie (coming from Nice) or the „normal“ exit (coming from Menton). Then you continue on the Grande Corniche and take the back roads down to town, such as the D 53 between the Vista Palace and La Turbie and continue on the smaller roads leading from the Moyenne Corniche into Monaco.
Traffic is most heavy around the Jardin Exotique and Boulevard des Moulins, and this not only before and after the races.
SNCF is adding additional trains to the regular schedule.
On Saturday and Sunday, passenger flows in and out of the train station are directed by police and security personnel to avoid too crowded platforms. Be patient.
Monaco CAM bus lines are working on an adapted continuous schedule between Saint Roman, Fontvieille, Monaco Ville and Jardin Exotique during day time, while the port area/race course is closed to public traffic.
TAM/RCA bus lines between Nice and Menton are working, and only leave out the stops along the port area in Monaco. Of course, bus trips might take longer than expected.
Supermarkets are open, some of them even on Sunday, but usually very crowded.
Hospital Princesse Grace is on red alert during the whole weekend, with most of the doctors on call Protected content in case.
Friday afternoon is the most busy trafficwise, because the race track opens to the public in the afternoon ... and EVERYBODY is trying to drive on the rubber marks of Vettel, Webber, Hamilton & Co. Believe me, at only 20 km/h it takes considerably longer to finish the 3 km long drive.
If you have guests, you can still visit Monaco Ville and its famous sights, though the view of the port is blocked by wooden planks. The Casino Square is closed to the public during the races and the Casino re-opens (to my knowledge) only after the race track is again open to traffic late afternoon/early evening.
The BEST place in town that weekend is definitely the Casino Square for sports car spotting and people watching.
One more idea: Watching the Friday morning training sessions is free of charge and you can try out the various tribunes for your Saturday or Sunday visit.
Standing places at the Rocher have the most stunning view over most of the race course; to take binoculars is advisable.
Detailed information about the schedules and some GP history: Protected content
Tickets can be purchased online, or at the ticket stalls all over town.
For those of you, allergic to noise and/or fumes, try the Monaco local TV with all day live coverage of all the various training sessions and races, commentated in French, Italian, English and German.
Formula-1-cars will hit the race track for the first trials at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Close your windows from then on, if you want to do a relatively undisturbed phone call :-).
Enjoy this exiting weekend nonetheless!