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Monaco’s is a Perfect Destination Wedding Location on the French Riviera

MONACO - JULY 02: (L-R) Princess Charlene of ...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Shop in Monaco

If you are looking for the perfect destination wedding spot, go to Monaco on the French Riviera. This is where the highly anticipated Royal Wedding took place. The fairy-tale principality of Monaco is where  Prince Albert II and his South African fiancee tied the knot. She wore a glorious Giorgio Armani wedding gown with a 15 foot train.

There were two separate events: a small civil ceremony in the Throne Room of the palace and a lavish Catholic ceremony. The religious ceremony of Albert’s parents, Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly,  was held in the magnificent Cathedral of Monaco in 1956.

There were 3,500 guests at the religious ceremony in the Palace courtyard with 20 heads of state including: the kings of Spain, Sweden, Lesotho and Belgium as well as the Presidents of France, Ireland, Iceland, Lebanon, Malta, Germany and Hungary. Famous opera stars, models and notable race car drivers were also invited. The  dinner was be prepared by renown French Michelin three-star chef Alain Ducasse.

His Serene Highness”  is the Prince’s title; used by the reigning families of Monaco and Liechtenstein. Prince Albert II is the 53-year-old ruler of the tiny principality of Monaco that is subdivided into three municipalities. Monaco (Monaco-Ville) is the old city located on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean, known as the Rock of Monaco. This is where the Palace and the Saint Nicholas Cathedral  (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) of Monaco are located. Many of the Grimaldis were buried in the Cathedral including Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III.

Rainiers III Grave in the Cathedral

Cathedral of Monaco

Monaco’s Crest

Monaco’s Flag

Cannon balls at the castle

Monaco Ville

A panel of the Saint Nicholas Altarpiece in the Cathedral of Monaco

Port of Monaco

Prince Albert II is the head of state and the head of the  House of Grimaldi that reigns over the income tax free principality of Monaco that houses the gambling center of Monte Carlo Casino. The House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco since 1297, and the state’s sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861.

Charlene Wittstock is a South African former Olympic backstroke swimmer. Prince Albert II met Charlene Wittstock in 2000 when she traveled to Monaco for a swimming competition. Prince Albert participated in five Olympic Games, from Calgary in 1988 to Salt Lake City in 2002, as a member of the national bobsleigh team. He has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1985 and he is the President of the Monegasque Olympic Committee.

They attended the wedding of Prince William of Wales to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011 in London, England.

Prince Albert and Charlene

A flag announcing the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco and his fiancee Charlene Wittstock flies above the guarded  Monaco Palace.  Now Europe will have another attractive princess for the tabloids to exploit.

The Castle

Original Monaco Castle

This will be the first wedding of a ruling prince in Monaco since Albert’s father, Prince Rainier III, married Hollywood actress Grace Kelly in 1956.  Prince Rainier ruled the Principality of Monaco for almost 56 years, making him one of the longest ruling monarchs of the 20th century.

 The wedding of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly took place before 600 guests at Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco and was watched by 30 million television viewers in 1956. Grace Kelly’s ivory, lace and satin gown was reportedly the model for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress some 60 years later. They had  three children: Caroline, Albert, and Stéphanie.

Grace Kelly retained her American roots, maintaining dual US and Monégasque citizenships. She died on September 14, 1982, when she lost control of her automobile and crashed. Her daughter Princess Stéphanie, who was in the car with her, survived the accident.

 

Check out the official Royal Wedding Website: http://www.palais.mc/monaco/palais-princier/english/royal-wedding/royal-wedding.1819.html

Check out the Civil Ceremony http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZa-WB8ChmI&feature=relmfu

There are plenty of sites to see in Monaco http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHMZSCfiCrA&feature=related

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

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The Royal Wedding Menu Savors the Flavors of Vino con Vista Monaco

English: Photograph taken at the 2009 Monte-Ca...

English: Photograph taken at the 2009 Monte-Carlo Television Festival in Monaco. Pictured: Albert II and film producer Arick Wierson. Location. June, 2009, Monte-Carlo, Principality of Monaco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2002 Monegasque commemorative coin

2002 Monegasque commemorative coin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: General view of Monaco

English: General view of Monaco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the

the “real” Monte Carlo Casino – France. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monaco is nestled in the  French Riviera along the sumptuous Meditteranean Coast. There are more that 170 restaurants in Monaco’s small but mighty epicurean paradise. A plethora of dining options include charming sidewalk cafes and quaint brasseries in Old Town  as well as Michelin-starred establishments in landmark hotels. Monaco has plenty of   gourmet menus with signature dishes that offer fresh and flavorful options.

Bouef and Potatoes in Monaco

Pasta with clams in Monaco

Mussels (Moules) in Monaco

Culinary accolades in Monaco

Street Cafes in Monaco

Menu in Monaco on Rue Caroline

Monaco’s cuisine is a flavorful fusion of southern French ( Provençal and Nicoise ), Italian and other Mediterranean influences.  These influences on Monaco’s palate generate a plethora of savory options that meld French Provencal with many locally-produced products. Stuffed zucchini flowers, truffle and fois gras tortes and Provençal-style artichokes braised in wine with olive oil are other Monégasque favorites. In Monaco, try some traditional Monegasque specialties including:

*Barbagiuans, a crisp, baked or fried puff-pastry-filled fritters treat with Swiss chard, ricotta, leeks, garlic and herbs usually served as an appetizer

*Fougasse, a small, sweet bread flavored with oranges and decorated with nuts, raisins and anise

*Swiss chard pie, layers of pastry filled with a mixture of Swiss chard, parmesan cheese, parsley, eggs, onions, and rice

*Socca, a thin pancake made from chick-pea flour and olive oil

*Stocafi, dried cod stewed in tomato sauce and flavored with black olives  .

Sleek new hotels like the Fairmont Monte-Carlo and the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel have recently opened new restaurants in the Principality of Monaco.   The Fairmont Monte-Carlo’s restaurants allow guests to savor the flavors of Monaco: (1)  L’Argentin is a meat-lovers favorite in the Fairmont with wood and charcoal spits for roasting and grilling; (2) breathtaking Mediterranean views are available at Le Pistou located on the hotel’s panoramic terrace with Italian and regional cuisine (www.fairmont.com/montecarlo). You may also want to try Bar & Boeuf,  Alain Ducasse’s second restaurant in Monaco.

Five of Monaco’s restaurants have collectively garnished eight gourmet Michelin stars.

The Michelin Man

Yoshi in the Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo earned their first Michelin star this year. Joël Robuchon Monte-Carlo  has a Michelin star and is also located in the  Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo (http://www.metropole.com/). Le Grill is located in the Hôtel de Paris and  Chef Sylvain Etievant”s rooftop restaurant has incredible “Vino con Vista” panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea  and was recently awarded one Michelin star.  Le Vistamar at the Hôtel Hermitage has earned chef Joël Garault a well-deserved Michelin star with the bonus of having spectacular “Vino-con-Vista” views of Monaco’s harbor.  Try the romantic Michelin star-rated La Coupole in the Hôtel Mirabeau with classic French cuisine.

The incredible menu at the Royal Wedding was prepared by three-star Michelin Chef Alain Ducasse who presides over Ducasse’s acclaimed Le  Louis XV.  His Michelin-starred restaurant is located in Monte-Carlo’s Hôtel de Paris and features a legendary wine cellar. His opulent restaurant is in the luxurious Hotel de Paris has more than 600,000 bottles of valuable vintages.  Ducasse was born in France but officially became a citizen of Monaco three years ago.

Ducasse has a collective total of 19 prestigious Michelin stars with restaurants in Italy, Japan, Hong Kong and France. His elegant “Vino con Vista” Jules Verne restaurant in Paris France is perched on the legendary Eiffel Tower. He also runs restaurants in the United States  in Las Vegas, New York, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Alain Ducasse was assisted by Franck Cerutti Executive chef of the Hôtel de Paris.  A total of 285 staff members including ten chefs and 54 cooks; seven pastry chefs and 14 pastry cooks prepared the Royal Feast. Nearly all of the ingredients used to prpare the royal feast will be sourced locally. Some of the vegetables will be sourced from Prince Albert’s farm.

The following menu and wine list was released by the Government Office of Tourism:

***Alain Ducasse Menu for the Royal Wedding Dinner of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Miss Charlene Wittstock   with the Wine List  (Saturday July 2nd 2011)

 Created by Alain Ducasse and Monte-Carlo SBM for the Princely Wedding

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckTqeYHsuo8

“As a starter, the Barbagiuan

It’s a natural guest, a full member of every family in Monaco. Traditional prelude, eaten with the fingers, the summertime Barbagiuan is served warm in a fabric presentation box. Under a silky crust of delicate rissoles stuffed with swisschard, spinach, leeks, onions, parsley, basil, marjoram and chives,blended together with sheep’s milk ricotta, egg and Parmigiano Reggiano, beats a meltingly soft green heart.

Tender Vegetables, Tomat olive and marinated golden mullet, Poutargue (Bottargo)

The dish is large, oval and generous. The food is arranged to portray a landscape typical of the coast ofthe Riviera. First, Roma tomatoes cooked until soft and smooth, slices of beetroot, zucchinis “Trompettes” and rawturnips, just marinated in olive oil, salt and ground pepper, on which stand cooked fennels, flakes of celery heart, radishes and mushrooms, a stick of cucumber, tomato confit and yellow and white semidried peaches, all sprinkled with fresh almonds, courgette flowers and borage, sprigs of celery, wild purslane and chervil. Guérande Fleur de sel, extra virgin olive oil and organic black Sospel olives complete this masterpiece of nature, conceived as a real example of plant architecture.

Then, a thinly sliced filet of golden mullet simply served raw, marinated in olive oil, Guérande sea salt and black Sarawak pepper, capers, lemon thyme from Nice and lemon zest from Menton, all seasoned with flakes of bottarga from Martigues, in translucent, fragrant petals. A subtle play of layering and the association of softness and crunchiness. Part sea, part hills, a synthesis of local produce and a relaxed lifestyle. The golden mullet, known as the “daurin,” fished by Gérard Rinaldi, a member of the last fishing family in Monaco, is highly migratory and travels along the Nisso-Ligurian coast from east to west from May to July. It is rarely fished. Every year it offers itself for our delectation, like the little seasonal vegetables, which are deliciously tender and naturally sweet.

Small spelt, seasonal vegetables with herb pistou

Small spelt, an ancestor of wheat grown in Haute Provence, is cooked as a riso with diced carrots,onions, celery and mushrooms sweated in olive oil, mixed with raisins, girolle mushrooms and haricotbeans from Lantosque. Carrots and turnips, artichoke quarters, spring onions and leeks, peas and fava beans, green beans and flat green beans are sautéed and moistened with vegetable stock, then arranged on the spelt. The acidic cooking juices with rocket and basil are pounded in a mortar to make a herb pesto topped with some toasted pine nuts. Real bounty from the earth, this is a tribute to cooking that is healthy, modest and tasty, from the local terroir. An essential approach, a return to the source of nutritional values. Playing on textures and subtle cooking, this small pale spelt is as tender as could be.

Local fish in a delicate bouillon with marine flavours

On a base of new potatoes cooked in saffron broth, a rich catch of fish is a concentration of the flavoursof the Mediterranean. The famous shelled gamberoni “rossi” from San Remo, fillets of rock mullet,calamaretti stuffed with gamberoni meat, cuttlefish and lemons from Menton, filets of capon, seabream, Saint Pierre, denti and rock octopus tentacle. Everything is moistened with a fish stock madefrom rock fish, cooked like a fish broth with saffron. Wrapped in sunshine-coloured spice from the terroirs of Haute Provence, mixed with white onions, garlic, dried fennel, fresh tomatoes, moray and conger, demoiselle, green wrasse, ballan wrasse, goldsinny wrasse, rainbow wrasse, weeverfish, small black and brown rockfish and eriphia crab – localfishing is invited to the feast.

Three mini crostini, one of which sings the praises of the juices from red mullet liver, capon andanchovies; the second of rouille, the third of spider crab meat and coral, complete the bouquet of marine flavours that explodes in the mouth. The whole sea has shaped this amazing dish. Abundance and feasting recall mythical scenes on the ancient shoreline, sparkling with light and saturated with blue. This is an expression of memory, the universal message of a Mediterranean that represents the concepts of mutual exchange and sharing.

Red fruits bursting with sunshine, Rocagel milk ice cream

In an elegant crystal coupe, on a delicate, lightly sweetened strawberry jelly are placed wildstrawberries and raspberries picked early in the morning and a velvety scoop of ice cream made with milk from the Rocagel and a spoonful ofwarm strawberry juice. A flaky palmier biscuit accompanies the exquisite sweetness of this seasonal fantasy.

Refreshing and soft, in symbiosis with the season, this dessert with red berries radiates the colours of the Principality. While banners and flags flutter in the wind in the gaily bedecked streets, the subtle milk ice cream and the flavour of sun-drenched berries are a gentle introduction to the long-awaited moment – the wedding cake.

Red currant and vanilla wedding cake

Silky and flowery. On a soft biscuit base with almonds, a delicate red currant compote and a light mousse of vanilla, covered in a layer of white chocolate and some gooseberries. Forming a cornucopia of pearly sugar, the wedding cake presentation piece unites the flowers of the Riviera and the majestic Protea, the emblem of South Africa, in tribute to Princess Charlene.

An ephemeral pleasure, the crowning glory of a dinner that is intended to be both simple and precious;jellied fruits with lemon and limoncello to surprise and delight the guests for one last time while the sky over the Principality is lit up with bursts of colour.

 The Table Setting

A place of honour for the art of the table

An enlargeable basic map of Monaco

An enlargeable basic map of Monaco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The china, selected and created especially for the tables, which are dressed in white tablecloths, is present but discreet, forming part of the spontaneous “ballet” of this great dinner.

The guests are served by 200 Maitre d’Hs, chefs de rang and commis – a precise choreography of agile gestures, porcelain and crystal treasures that cast sparkling reflections on the festivities.

In a combination of modern design and culinary tradition, five little sourdough rolls are arranged on a narrow porcelain dish in front of each guest. Miniature loaves set out in a row, gently shaped by Jean-Paul Veziano, a baker in Antibes, and baked at the Hôtel de Paris a few hours before the dinner: round rolls with olives, floury hand-shaped focaccia from Nice, michettes (Provencal bread rolls) with oil and bread with borage form a harmonious palette of flavours, symbols of life and the perpetuation of the craftsman’s skills.

Splashed with blue, in a very simple style, the china bowl, created by Pieter Stockmans for the delicate fish bouillon, is naturally clear. It is deep, and delicately evokes generous fishing and the clear waters that surround the Principality. For an evening of magic, Alain Ducasse and the Pieter Stockmans studio have redesigned the world in blue, white, and light. From cobalt blue, which is so characteristic, to the pure white porcelain, the dish represents an aesthetic language where motif and material are one and the same.

Alain Ducasse’s recipe gave rise to the search for a specific shape of bowl. Design and creativity come together – a duo in honour of the arts of the table. A delicate coupe in Saint Louis crystal holds the dessert of red berries topped with milk ice cream. The “Bubbles,” a slender, stemmed coupe, reflects a lifestyle that has its sources in the great tradition. This alchemy in glass from the Royal Factory dedicates its exquisite finesse to the celebration of the royal wedding. A resplendent recipient for a dessert in the Principality’s colours, it marries perfectly with the little white napkins edged with red berry fruits.

Wines in Unison (The Wine List)

Aware of how the soul of wines reflects their terroir, Gérard Margeon, head sommelier at Alain Ducasse’s restaurants and Noël Bajor, head sommelier at the Louis XV, have spent many months meeting exceptional small-scale growers and exploring vineyards to find wines to accompany the meal.

The selection is the fruit of their intuition and insight, but is also symbolic and reflects their meetings.

Western Cape Chardonnay, Anaïs vintage 2009

A wine from Orrance, 100% chardonnay, charming and gourmet

A white wine from South Africa will open the dinner as a tribute to Princess Charlene. A classic Cape wine, it is a perfect accompaniment to the starter of tender vegetables and golden mullet.

Bellet Le Clos, Le Clos Saint Vincent 2009

Bellet wine, 100% Rolle, lively, elegant and youthful

The small spelt and seasonal vegetables blended with a herb pesto complement the subtle nuances of a fresh white wine with a mineral taste. It has been developed by Gio Sergi, who uses biodynamic farming methods that are helping the Bellet appellation to evolve.

Bellet, Cuvee Baron G, Château de Bellet 2008

Bellet wine, 40% black folle, 40% braquet, 20% grenache, harmonious and smooth to accompany the locally caught fish bouillon. This astonishing red Bellet is a young vintage, elegant but very light, generous and fruity. At the Château of Bellet, Ghislain and Catherine de Charnacé form a link between Nice and its hills and their personal stories of persistence and hard work.

Château d’Yquem 1996

Appellation Sauternes, harmony in complexity

A Château d’Yquem with a remarkable aromatic potential takes the stage with the coupe of red berry fruits and Rocagel milk ice cream. Thanks to ideal weather conditions, this great, classic vintage fully respects the balance of a Château d’Yquem. A mystery of nature – time has no mastery over this sweet wine. With its very long finish, it holds the promise of a moment of happiness.

Perrier-Jouët Champagne, Cuvée Belle Epoque 2002

Legendary bubbles. A flute of Perrier Jouet’s iconic prestige cuvéee Belle Epoque 2002 champagne rounded off the dinner with the wedding cake and its delicate covering of white chocolate. The foundation of the House of Champagne Perrier-Jouët in 1811 was itself  born of a marriage between its founders Pierre Nicolas Perrier and Adèle Jouët 200 years ago. An elegant and romantic flower champagne bottle for a fairytale Royal wedding.

Facts & Figures

1,600 barbagiuan, 150 kg of fish of ten different varieties, 100 kg of mullet for a delicate carpaccio,

300 kg of tomatoes, 50 kg of strawberries, 20 kg of wild strawberries, 30 kg of raspberries in every

variation of passionate red, 100 litres of milk for a creamy dessert, 750 delightfully soft limoncello

sweets, 2,000 majestic sugar flowers, the crowning glory of 250 hours of work for the seven- tier

wedding cake, 1.50 m in diameter and 2.50 metres high.

The staff Alain Ducasse and Monte-Carlo SBM

In the kitchen, Alain Ducasse will be assisted by Franck Cerutti Executive chef of the Hôtel de Paris and Bruno Caironi, consulting chef. Both where part of the opening team of Le Louis XV in 1987.” (Office of Tourism, Monaco)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com

The Casino de Monte-Carlo

The Casino de Monte-Carlo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Filed under A Royal Wedding in Monaco, Attractions in Nice France, Belle Epoche Architecture n Nice France, Belle Epoque Architecture, Cathedral of Monaco where Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier III, CInque Terre, Cuisine of Monaco on the French Riviera, ebooks, IPad, Michelin rated restaurants in Monaco, Monaco on the French Riviera, Monico on the French Riviera in France, oenogastronomic, vino con vista

The Cathedral of Monaco in the French Riviera and the Royal Weddings

The Cathedral of Monaco

Image via Wikipedia

English: Coat of arms of the Principality of M...

English: Coat of arms of the Principality of Monaco. Manually drawn using this image as a reference. This image took me only one day to reconstruct, but it required a profound amount of effort to get all of the details into it. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Grace Kelly y Alberto de Mónaco 1964. Llegando...

Grace Kelly y Alberto de Mónaco 1964. Llegando al aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the cathedr...

English: Saint Nicholas Cathedral, the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco in Monaco-Ville, Monaco Українська: Собор Св. Миколая Римо-католицької архідієцезії Монако в Монако-Віллі. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Statue von Francois Grimaldi in Monaco Ville

Statue von Francois Grimaldi in Monaco Ville (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Albert II, Prince of Monaco

Albert II, Prince of Monaco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is also known as the Saint Nicholas Cathedral and the Monaco Cathedral

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFpPriU8HvQ

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco cathedral is located in Monaco-Ville, Monaco. There has been a church perched on the symbolic Rock in Monaco for 700 years. The present cathedral was designed by the architect Charles Lenormand in 1875. The building officially opened in 1903 and was consecrated in 1911. In 2011, the cathedral of  Monaco celebrates the centenary of the consecration.

In 1956, this church hosted the  marriage of Prince Rainier to Grace Kelly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEk8idis3e0. Prince Albert and his new bride Charlene, wanted  this year’s royal wedding to take place outside the church to accommodate more guests. Bernard Barsi, archbishop of Monaco, performed a Roman Catholic ceremony in the main courtyard of the Prince’s Palace, the Place du Palais http://www.cityoutmonaco.com/monaco-events/articles/monaco-royal-wedding-new-era-grimaldis.

Both Grace and Charlene typify the fairytale nuptials that little girls all over the world aspire to re-create when they meet their “Prince Charming”.

Monaco’s Cathedral is essentially the church of the Grimaldi dynasty. Francois Grimaldi, Il Malizia (the cunning), was a Genoese leader who captured the Rock of Monaco disguised as a Franciscian monk in 1297. The event is commemorated on the Monegasque coat of arms that depicts monks with swords supporting the shield.

Coat of Arms of Monaco.svg

François Grimaldi entered the city with soldiers dressed as monks and they had swords hidden under their cassocks. François was greeted at the gates of Monaco’s castle and seized the castle with his soldiers and his cousin Rainier I, Lord of Cagnes.  After his death, in 1309, he was succeeded by his cousin, Rainier I, Lord of Cagnes. His cousin’s descendants, the Grimaldi family, still rule Monaco today. Prince Albert II is the head of the House of Grimaldi.

Francois Grimaldi Statue in Monaco

Just like London’s Westminster Abbey, the Cathedral of Monaco  has the distinctive honor of being the burial place of generations of royalty.

Prince Rainier’s Grave in the Cathedral of Monaco

Cathedral of Monaco Facade

The ornate facade depicts Christ in Majesty above the rose window.  Henri Louis Cordier, a sculptor from Nice (1853-1926) furnished the six statues on the façade that include Saint Devote, Saint Nicolas and Saint Benoît. He worked on the building from approximately 1883 to 1901. He also created sculptures for the elegant landmark casino on Monte Carlo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTgTaWlETNk

When the Genoese took possession of the Rocher of Monaco (Rock of Monaco) they built the “Old Castle”. Today you can visit the addition that was built by the Grimaldi Dynasty.

Castle of Monaco

Original Monaco Castle

In December of 1247, Pope Innocent IV authorized the Genoese to build a chapel in Monaco. It was placed under the patronage of Saint Nicholas of Myra in 1322. Saint Nicholas had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in shoes. He became the model for Santa Claus.  In the vestry of the cathedral, there is a small reliquary in gilded wood with relics of Saint Nicolas, a donation from a Monegasque woman in 1777.  On December 6th, a special mass is devoted to the joyful remembrance of St. Nicholas’ life in the cathedral.

Built in 1875, the cathedral stands on the site of a 13th century church dedicated to St Nicholas. The Byzantine-style building is made from local limestone quarried at La Turbie, not far from Monaco. The Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is also constructed of this limestone that maintains a pearlescent sheen and tends to get brighter when it rains. The Oceanography Museum and aquarium has long been associated with Jacques Cousteau. Captain Cousteau fascinated generations with his amazing undersea adventures.

Pontifical services take place on the major religious festivals such as the Feast of Sainte Dévote  on January 27th and the National holiday on November 19th.  Saint Devote is very important to Monaco and to the Grimaldi Dynasty.

In 1924, Louis II, Prince of Monaco introduced the custom of setting fire to a fishing boat on the evening of January 26 in Monaco, in memory Saint Devote. A white dove symbolizing her spirit is also released. On January 27, there is a special religious service at the Saint Nicholas Cathedral, with the Grimaldis and other important figures. After the mass, there is a procession of the relics, accompanied by a blessing of the Palace, the town and the sea. Fireworks and receptions in the Monte Carlo Opera House ensue.

Monaco Oceanography Museum

Monaco’s Octapus

.The cathedral is filled with magnificent sacred art and notable artifacts. There is a beautiful altar and an ornate Bishop’s throne in white Carrara marble. There are beautiful panels created in the 17th century by Hippolyte Trivulce, wife of Prince Honoré II. These panels are believed to be from the Genoese School. There are also some interesting white marble busts: Bishop Louis Lazare Perruchot (1852-1930) founder of the Cathedral’s Choir School by Louis Maubert (Paris 1875-Nice 1949), painter, sculptor and coin maker; and a bust of Bishop Clement (1865-1939) who was the Bishop of Monaco from 1924 to 1934. The north aisle has the graves of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.  Take time to admire the incredible apse mosaic.

Monaco Cathedral Apse Mosaic

Cathedral of Monaco Virgin Mosaic

The cathedral has 183 stained glass windows, including 64 depicting characters from the Old and New Testament. One of the sets of windows recounts the Passion of Saint Devote, while another illustrates the miracle of Saint Nicolas. The windows were restored by Fassi of Nice between 1943 and 1948.

Cathedral of Monaco Stained Glass Windows

Cathedral of Monaco Chapel

There is a magnificent altar made of gilded walnut from 1667. The lower vault is adorned with three statues: a statue of Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart) and statues of a male figure holding vine shoots (left) and a woman holding a sheaf of wheat (right) symbolizing the two elements of the Eucharist. The statues are not from the same period as the original altar and were probably added during the restoration in 1884. This chapel is also the burial chapel for the bishops of Monaco (a list of past bishops buried in the crypt is on the wall on the right).

Monaco Chapel of Saint Sacrament

Saint Sacrament Chapel in Cathedral of Monaco

Monaco Gilded Chapel

There are many interesting depictions of the “‘Pieta”  (the grief of Mary over the dead Christ) in this cathedral. There is a  “Pieta” altarpiece  from the atelier of Francois Brea (1495-1562); nephew and colleague of Louis Bréa, the work dates from around 1500-1505.

I love the 16th century altarpiece by Louis Brea of Nice. This  retable (circa 1500) is located to the right of the transept. In the centre, at the feet of the Cross, the Virgin Mary holds the Saviour on her knee. On the right, Mary-Madeleine kneels, on the left, Saint John. The donator, Antoine Teste, is represented kneeling at the feet of Saint John. The Passion of Christ is depicted on the six lateral panels.

Louis Brea Pieta in Cathedral of Monaco

Pieta in Cathedral of Monaco. Painted by François Bréa (1495-1562), nephew and colleague of Louis Bréa, the work dates from around 1500-1505.

Saint Nicholas Altarpiece

The cathedral also houses many additional beautiful altarpieces. The Saint Nicholas altarpiece is one of my personal favorites. The altarpiece is by Nice painter Louis Bréa(c. 1450 – c. 1523). It was made for the church of Saint Nicolas, during Reverend Antoine Testa’s parsonage. The altarpiece is incomplete: four panels have disappeared with only eighteen pieces remaining. Amongst the saints depicted around Saint Nicolas, seated on an Episcopal throne, are Saint Laurent, Saint Devote, the martyr’s palm in hand, Saint Barbe and Saint John the Baptist. The altarpiece was funded by Monegasque benefactors. The name of one of them has been recorded, Charlot Beconi, who donated one florin on 4th September 1497 for this altarpiece.

Saint Nicholas on his throne

St. Nicholas altarpiece by Brea

Panel of St. Nicholas altarpiece in Monaco Cathedral

Panel of St. Nicholas altarpiece in Monaco Cathedral

The third notable altarpiece of Saint Devote, Saint George and Saint Lucie was a gift from Isabelle Grimaldi wife of Honoré I. Saint Devote is in the center with the red robe holding her martyr’s palm. Prince Honore is represented in miniature, kneeling at the foot of Saint Devote (estimated date: 1560-1570). The painting has many re-painted sections.

Cathedral of Monaco altarpiece panel

Saint Devote is in the center of the Altarpiece

Pieta on the facade of the Cathedral of Monaco

Cathedral of Monaco mosaic

Bust in the Cathedral of Monaco

Cathedral of Monaco window

Relics of Saint Devote

Beneath the marble canopy above the altar, there is a reliquary containing relics of Saint Devote in a glazed sarcophagus with black lacquered wood posts lined with repoussé silver leaf with silver feet.

At the top, a small reliquary statue of Saint Jerome was dug up in 1814 with the remains of a larger reliquary that contained relics of Saint Jerome.

Monaco Cathedral altar with relics of St. Devote

Stained Glass window in the Cathedral of Monaco

The present-day choir organ, located in the transept on the right, was built in 1980 by Tamburini to replace a Merklin from 1884, overhauled in 1952 by the Maison Puget, and electrified in 1969.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1ACAIqAFEY&NR=1

Visit the Lapidary Museum located outside the Cathedral on the little square named Don Pacchiero. The architectural remains of the old Church of Saint Nicolas (destroyed in 1874) have been gathered together including:  pedestals, entablatures, columns, chapiters,  the coat of arms of the Grimaldis recalling a stage in the construction of Saint Nicolas by Etienne Grimaldi and Honoré Grimaldi.
 There are also relics from the chapels of the Ange Gardien (Guardian Angel) (1658) and Saint Anthony of Padua (1654). Fixed on the outer wall of the chevet is the old church bell from Saint Nicolas’ from 1484. It was remade and resmelt under the rule of Prince Charles III, in 1873, by Giacomo Semeria with a Latin inscription.

Cathedral of Monaco Crucifix

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com


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