Monte-Carlo is where the real money is flung about, and its famous casino demands to be seen. Adjoining it is the gaudy opera house, and around the place du Casino – stripped of many of its tall palms and a major construction site until 2018 – are more casinos, palace-hotels and grands cafés. Though the hotel around it is being part-demolished and rebuilt, the American Bar of the Hôtel de Paris is the place for the elite to meet, while the turn-of-the-twentieth-century Hermitage has a beautiful Gustave Eiffel iron-and-glass dome.
Entrance to Casino de Monte-Carlo is restricted to over-18s and you will need ID; dress code is rigid, with shorts and T-shirts frowned upon, and jackets are recommended after 8pm. Photography is prohibited and bags and large coats are checked at the door. The first halls are the Salle Renaissance – an anteroom– and the Salle Europe where serried ranks of slot machines stand below ceilings of fin-de-siècle extravagance, while the more subdued Salle des Amériques is devoted to table games – roulette, blackjack and craps. Of the Salons Privés, the giddily opulent Salle Médecin and the Salles Touzet are also devoted to table games; as their name suggests, the Salons Super Privés are more intimate, and you won’t see them on morning tours.