Found right in the heart of the Principality, covering the famous Port Hercule and a vibrant retail zone, La Condamine is where much of daily life occurs in Monaco.
La Condamine is to locals what Monte Carlo is to tourists: a place to hang out and explore, to shop and meet up. In short, it’s the beating heart of the Principality and is the third largest neighbourhood after Monte Carlo and the second port district of Fontvieille.
Port Hercule, the more famous of Monaco’s two harbours, is a dream for the nautically minded. Boats of all shapes and sizes are docked in what is one of the most glamourous ports in the world, whose berths are often filled to capacity with incredible superyachts owned by the fabulously wealthy who come to appreciate the Principality and all it has to offer.
It is also a hub for many local events and festivals, including the annual Christmas village, multiple fun fairs spread across the calendar year, fireworks shows and, for 2023, a new summer market space.
Quai des Etats-Unis, with its celebrated Yacht Club de Monaco, runs down one side of the port, and the restaurant-lined Quai Antoine Ier faces it from the other side. In-between and backing up into a busy shopping and restaurant zone is the Route de la Piscine, with its fantastic open-air swimming pool, that houses the grandstands of the Monaco Grand Prix and many other eye-catching events.
The area is buzzing with eateries that cater to families by day then transform into thumping nightclubs after dark, giving it the vibe that Monaco is always open for business.
Up from the port is the Condamine Market – Le Marché de la Condamine – which is located just off the central traffic hub of Place d’Armes. Each morning, a farmers market crops up selling fresh produce destined for the tables of local restaurants and homes that night. There are also several other traders, such as florists and cheese makers, as well as a covered section, La Halle Gourmande, that serves up a selection of sit-down food options, including Monegasque specialties such as barbagiuans as well as the other regional favourites of pissaladière, socca and fougasse, alongside a thriving range of shops.
The outdoor market is open all week, Tuesday to Saturday, from 7am to 3pm, with the additional hours of 6pm to 9.30pm for the indoor section.
The best place to go to shop in the neighbourhood is Rue Caroline, the street that slopes up from the Avenue Albert Ier and is a sort of “main drag” for boutiques and restaurants. The side streets that run off the Rue Caroline are also filled with treasures, so give them the proper time to wander and explore to get the most out this special neighbourhood.
For those who like to dive into the local scene, La Condamine is the place to be.
Read Monaco Life’s other guides to the Principality’s neighbourhoods:
Make sure you’re never left out of the conversation.
Featured photo: Leonardo Caetano, Unsplash