Monte-Carlo may be Monaco’s most famous neighbourhood, but any local will tell you that Larvotto is where most of the action takes place. With uber-cool restaurants and cafés, art galleries, nightclubs and beaches, Larvotto is undoubtedly Monaco’s most vibrant district.
Not that long ago, Larvotto was a tired-looking, primarily residential area of Monaco most famous for the Grimaldi Forum and the beach. Located in the east of the Principality, it is the most densely populated district and the second largest, after Fontvielle.
In recent years, much to everyone’s delight, Larvotto has undergone a major transformation. The sleepy seaside district is now a bustling, slick and modern neighbourhood featuring a bounty of activities to enjoy, as well as properties that are among the most expensive in the world.
MONACO’S MOST POPULAR BEACH
Larvotto Beach is home to a brand-new Renzo Piano designed esplanade that overlooks the sea and provides access to the beach below. It features outdoor gym facilities, 130 new trees, a cycling path and the iconic Lartigue fountain, which was reinstalled in 2022.
Down below is a promenade that takes visitors past a wide variety of delicious – and often reasonably priced – eateries and ice cream parlours as well as shops that sell beachwear, homeware and everything in between. It’s a wonderful place to pass the day, and is equally as pleasant at night after the heat of the day subsides and on certain evenings, live music fills the air.
Since the beach area was renovated and reopened in summer 2021, it has been a huge drawcard, and it is the place where locals tend to congregate to get away from the crowds.
Larvotto is home to several exceptional fine-dining eateries including the legendary Sass Cafe, Twiga, La Table d’Elise, the relatively new The Niwaki Japanese restaurant and the popular Italian café Cova. This is also where most of the Principality’s live music venues and nightclubs are located: Twiga, Jimmy’z and Le Sporting Monte-Carlo.
Then there is Sexy Tacos on the promenade, La Note Bleue beach bar, which offers live music all summer, long-time faves Miami Plage and Neptune Beach, and the Italian themed restaurants Giacomo, Marco-La Rose des Vents and Avenue 31.
Another area to have undergone a complete renovation is Rue du Portier, which boasts a number of affordable restaurants and a pub.
These are only a portion of the amazing food offerings in the district. A visitor could spend weeks munching their way through the Larvotto’s many delectable choices and never get bored.
GRIMALDI FORUM AND GARDENS
Just along from the beach is the Grimaldi Forum Monaco (GFM), host to Monaco’s biggest events, conferences and forums each year. Among the headline events each year are the supercar show Top Marques Monaco and the GFM’s summer exhibition, which this year was the exceptional Monet in Full Light.
Next to the Forum is the stunning Japanese Garden. Designed by landscape architect Yasuo Beppu, the garden covers over 7,000m2 overlooking the Mediterranean. More than a collection of plants, it also incorporates stonework, water features and shade huts to make it a truly special place.
The Villa Sauber is one of the last Belle Epoque villas left in the Principality. Though the exact date of construction is blurred by time, what is known is that the villa belonged to the Blanc family at the turn of the 20th century. The Blancs were instrumental in developing the Société des Bains de Mer and the Casino.
The property has been owned by Monaco since 1969, becoming part of the National Museum in 1972. Today, it holds exhibits pertaining to Monaco’s historic, cultural and, of course, artistic realms.
Another popular gallery is Tina Green’s G&M Design Gallery, which features a regular display of contemporary artists that never cease to amaze.
For a place to relax whilst getting a mix of culture and sun, Larvotto is a great part of Monaco to immerse yourself in.
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By Cassandra Tanti and Stephanie Horsman. All photos by Monaco Life.
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