Monaco Grand Prix

Monaco Grand Prix
Monaco Grand Prix  Image: photographerglen (flickr), CC BY-SA 2.0

Monaco Grand Prix 2017 is the most famous and prestigious of all the Formula One road races. Together with the Indianapolis 500 (held in that city in the United States) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (held in France, the oldest sports car race in the world, dating to 1923), it makes up what is called the Triple Crown of Motorsport. Each of these three races represents the penultimate of motor racing in their category—a circuit race, and open-wheel race, and an endurance race. It is only one of many annual Monaco events that draws both everyday tourists as well as glittering jet celebrities and royalty from around Europe.

Monaco Grand Prix History and Facts

Grand Prix of Monaco
Grand Prix of Monaco

The Monaco Formula 1 Race was first run in 1929. Monaco car races were held each year beginning in 1911, but only as part of the season of a local automobile club. By 1937, it had become one of the most important automobile races in the world. But World War II intervened, and there was no organized racing again in Europe until a race on September 9, 1945 in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.

Getting to the Monaco Grand Prix

The race circuit of the Monaco Grand Prix 2017 is laid out on the narrow, twisting streets of Monaco, a tiny principality that is the second smallest independent state in Europe after Vatican City. The tiny principality’s only natural resource is its location nestled between France and Italy along the coast of the glittering French Riviera beaches. The Monaco Formula 1 Race takes place on the streets of this ultra-exclusive resort city. It is an extremely demanding course that changes elevation several times, winds around tight corners, and runs through a mountain tunnel.

To get to Monaco, the nearest airport is the Nice Airport about 25 miles away. Rapide Cote d’Azur buses run to Monte Carlo throughout the day, and taxis are a good option as well. Trains go to Monte Carlo from Nice, Cannes, Menton, Marseille, and Paris in France; and Ventimiglia and Milan in Italy. Several cruises also make stops in Monaco as they travel around the Mediterranean.

Monaco Grand Prix Tickets

The Monaco Grand Prix 2017 takes 77 laps around the circuit, traveling more than 160 miles. There are a number of places where you can position yourself for a view of the cars as they race by, and many of these places are free. But prime viewing spots will cost you money, even if you don't have to buy a ticket.

The circuit passes by the famous harbor, and one place to view Monaco events is from yachts in the harbor. Places on the many yachts and party boats in the harbor are both expensive and exclusive. If you want to book a place or charter a boat, you need to make your arrangements as far in advance as possible. Seats that line the most thrilling turns and most dangerous stretches can cost as little as $125, as much as $1,000, or much much more. Some residents who live along the race route will rent out their terraces for many thousands of dollars. There are off-season walking tours of the circuit route.

Lodging Near Monaco Grand Prix

Booking hotels or vacation rentals in order to be near the Monaco Formula 1 Race can be quite costly. Some of the most expensive accommodations in the world can be found here, and you won't find many properties below a four-star rating. There are a couple dozen or so ultra-luxurious five-star Monaco hotels, including the Hotel Metropole at 4 Avenue de la Madone, 98000. If you are on a budget, you'd be better served at some of the Nice hotels and hostels. That city is located only about ten miles from Monaco. There are a number of Monaco events tour operators that offer vacation packages during the May Grand Prix, including the Cannes Film Festival.

Top image: Nick J Webb (flickr)

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