Mary-Rose McLean lives and works in Monaco and there’s little she doesn’t know about this unique principality. Here’s her guide to the greener side of Monaco…
If you’re planning an eco-friendly ‘green’ holiday, Monaco may not be your first thought. The principality is more usually linked with glitz, glamour and the hedonistic lifestyle of the rich and famous. And that means private helicopters, yachts, fancy hotels and, of course, the Grand Prix.
None of this immediately brings to mind particularly high eco-friendly credentials. So you might be surprised to learn that this tiny state on the beautiful French Riviera is greener than you think. It turns out, going green can be glamourous!
Things to do on an eco-friendly holiday to Monaco
Monaco has hidden depths when it comes to going green. Way back in 2006, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation was established to promote sustainable development in Monaco, and to protect the environment. The foundation supports both private and public initiatives covering social awareness, technological innovation to improve the environment and in research.
Of course, Monaco is best known for hosting the very first Formula One race in Monte-Carlo in 1929. A lesser known fact is that Monaco also hosts the E-Prix. This is the Formula E championship that takes place every two years and is strictly for EVs (electric vehicles). At the same time, Monaco has many luxury hotels, Michelin starred restaurants and other independent businesses that are working to protect the environment.
Where to stay in Monaco
Everyone should stay at the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo at least once. Not only is it the hotel synonymous with the old-school glamour of Monaco, it’s also the sole independently owned hotel in the principality. As such, it has much more control over its eco-friendly credentials and calls itself “a respectful luxury destination”.
There are two Michelin-starred restaurants at the hotel, as well as loads of luxury facilities. Its Givenchy spa is one of just three in the whole world, and its rooftop swimming pool is designed by Karl Lagerfeld. This takes care of the luxury, but what about the ‘green’?
The Metropole Monte-Carlo has an environmental policy called ‘Green Attitude’. And while it’s not immediately obvious to guests, the hotel’s ‘Green Committee’ work to mitigate the environmental impact of the hotel. Working behind the scenes, the team improves manages waste and energy levels effectively. The hotel also works with various charity, environmental and humanitarian causes.
Eagle-eyed guests at the Metropole will notice there are no plastic straws in their drinks. If a cocktail does have a straw, it is made from 100% biodegradable PLA. For transportation, the hotel provides a full EV, and a hybrid BMW Series 7. And in each room is information and suggestions for guests on how they can ‘Act Green’ while enjoying the hotel.
Where to eat in Monaco
The Michelin-starred restaurants the Hotel Metropole serve local, seasonal produce as much as possible. There is even a fully vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu designed by the late, great head chef Joel Robuchon. The Metropole Monte-Carlo is proof positive that you can have luxury, great tasting food, plenty of facilities and not have to compromise on what’s best for the environment.
As wonderful as the Metropole Monte-Carlo is, there are plenty of other fabulous places to eat with the same focus on seasonal produce. At the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel, for example, you’ll find the first completely organic restaurant in the world to be awarded a Michelin star. It’s called Elsa and has a menu packed with locally sourced organic produce.
Another Michelin-starred wonder of a restaurant is the Blue Bay restaurant. Headed up by super-chef XXX Ravin, it’s part of the Monte-Carlo Bay hotel and resort. Expect fusion food with flavours from the Caribbean melding with the Mediterranean. It uses veggies, herbs, fruit and edible flowers grown on its own casino roof. Part of the Terre de Monaco initiative, which also works with other hotels, everything is grown using intensive bio-agriculture techniques.
What to drink in Monaco
There’s just one distillery in Monaco and it’s called L’Orangerie. It produces a premium-level orange liqueur called Le Monaco Spritz. It’s handmade from the fruit. If you prefer beer, there is one micro-brewery in Monte-Carlo. Brasserie de Monaco is right on the harbour and has a very relaxed atmosphere. Try one of its four house artisanal beers along with traditional bar snacks such as Socca, a flatbread made with chickpea flour.
Another much-loved harbour bar is Stars ‘n’ Bars. As well as beautiful views, good food and a chilled vibe, it has launched an eco-hub to support the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. The hub puts on all kinds of activities aimed at educating people about the planet and boosting wellbeing. It also pledges to reduce the carbon footprint of the food it serves.
Where to go in Monaco
If you care about the environment, the first place you should go in Monaco is the Oceanographic Museum. Not only does it have loads of fish and sea creatures to watch in its many aquariums, it also teaches about conservation and the dangers facing the world’s marine life. The most recent addition is a dedicated area to protect endangered sea turtles.
As you can see, there is far more to Monaco than James Bond and casinos, although those are great too! This is just a few of the ecologically sound initiatives underway behind the scenes in this beautiful part of the Riviera. Come and see for yourself.
Experienced lawyer and international corporate consultant, Mary-Rose McLean is Head of Corporate, Legal and Yachting Services at Moores Rowland, Monaco. Mary-Rose has been based in Monaco since 2007, and she specialises in leadership, consultancy and managing international transactions for high net worth clients.