Sunday, June 21, 2020

Your Disco Needs You!

A summer in the French Riviera without nightclubs?! C'est impossible!

It appears Coronavirus has struck again, this time with the nightclub world. As we moved forward in France to "Phase 3" of the restrictions being lifted, one thing stayed the same. All nightclubs in France had to stay closed and now it appears that rule may stay into affect until September sometime.

As understandable and sad as it is, especially because in the summer months the LGBTQ nightclubs (and nightlife overall) is one of the most interesting, fun activities to do here as it is an extremely big part of the social life here in France. But then again, being social in a pandemic is not a good thing.

Currently bars are allowed to be open, but only if they have a terrace where people can social distance or if you can go inside, a mask must be on at all times. There have been cruising bars that have opened and even the gay bathhouses but again, it depends on how they are regulated in their city, laid out internally and of course with many safety precautions in much as that can allow for anyway.

Needless to say, nightclub owners are upset and a movement has begun to try and at least have limited openings with a certain amount of people in attendance while adhering to safety measures.

As one nightclub owner wrote as part of a press statement (translated):

"The Government signs the death warrant of the nightclubs. Night professionals are in complete incomprehension vis-a-vis the improbable decision which was taken yesterday by the Government and the health services to keep closed the night clubs until September.

In this same decision, it is stated that sporting events and performance halls are authorized to accommodate between 1,500 to 5,000 people maximum; it's more than what discos welcome! In France, there are 40 nightclubs that can accommodate more than 1,000 people.

The profession is on edge and wonders about this injustice between what is authorized for an athlete or a performance hall and prohibited for discotheques.

How is it that we keep closing nightclubs or bars at night, even though the prefect of Paris authorizes 4 demonstrations today or that football matches will again take place with thousands of spectators?"

So it's alright for one type of entertainment but not for another. Overall there seems to be a lot of confusion as to how the government came to these decisions, especially when you see in person a restaurant full of patrons in the evening yet literally next door a nightclub the same size has to remain closed.

In my personal opinion the government has done a tremendous job with Covid19 and it has actually been amazing to experience people abiding by all the rules so we can get back to whatever normal is as soon as possible. Safety first, just the line seems a little blurred in this case.

Time will tell though as new changes on restrictions are to follow in the next week or two.

The French Riviera is a great place for trying out new ideas so perhaps all the dancing will be done on the streets this summer!

Monday, June 15, 2020

June Covid19 Deconfinement Update

Needless to say, it’s been a confusing time for not only travelers but also for those of us living in France with both not being certain of what is coming next due to the Coronivus pandemic along with who and what countries will be allowed to cross the border into France for either business or pleasure.

As of last night, June 14, 2020, President Macron indicated in his speech to the country what would be steps would be coming next.

Besides what is happening now with the pandemic and how far we have all come, along with the economy, it was announced what countries would be allowed past our borders.
Here is the main confirmation people have been waiting for as France is now in Phase 3 of the lockdown:

From June 15th France has reopened its borders to travelers from within the EU, UK and Schengen zone with no more need for international travel permits.

People traveling from the UK are "invited" to quarantine in a mirror of the UK's quarantine restrictions, but in France this is optional.

However, for people wanting to travel from outside Europe the restrictions remain in place until at least July 1st.

This will continue to be dependent upon how each country is doing with the containment of Covid 19.
It is extremely exciting that people are allowed to visit the beautiful country of France again but please keep in mind there are still various basic rules to follow, such as:

1. No public gatherings of more than 10 people
Seems tricky but it can be done and the better we all progress the sooner this gets lifted.

2. Masks
Masks are compulsory on all forms of public transport (including taxis) and in many shops and public buildings.

Masks are not compulsory in public spaces like the streets, but are advised, and in spaces such as beaches, parks and gardens local authorities can decide whether to make them compulsory or not so check out the signs at the place you are visiting.

3. No getting closer than 1m
The advice for social distancing and hygiene measures in France remains unchanged - people are asked to follow basic health advice including not getting closer than 1m to other people, washing their hands frequently, using hand gel and coughing into their elbows. It really seems to have become second nature here for the most part.

4. No cinemas
Although a lot of venues are reopening not all have been given the go-ahead just yet, with cinemas set to reopen on June 22nd. Word is nightclubs may be allowed to open at this same date but with a limited number of people allowed in attendance.

Bars, cafés, restaurants, tourist accommodation and museums have all now been given the go-ahead to reopen fully after the whole of mainland France became a 'green zone' on June 15th.

Venues are obliged to put in hygiene measures and ensure that their customers and staff can safely social distance, so some businesses are not reopening straight away while they put the extra measures in place.

5. No sports matches or concerts
Mass gatherings of more than 5,000 people are still banned and are unlikely to come back before September. This means that concerts at bigger music venues are still banned, as are professional sports fixtures.

6. Attestation on the Paris Metro
If you're in Paris and traveling on public transport at rush hour, who will need an attestation stating that your journey is for essential work-related reasons. Outside of rush hour (7.30am-9.30am and 4.30pm-7.30pm) there is no requirement for a form.

This rule runs until June 22nd.

7. No cars (in some streets)
If you're in Paris, watch out for changes to the traffic rules as local authorities have declared many streets off-limits to cars. Some of them have been closed to allow café terraces to expand while others - like the Rue de Rivoli - have been turned into bike lanes to encourage more people to take up cycling and stay off the crowded public transport. This has also happened in a lot of local cities such as in Nice and Cannes.
I encourage everyone to come and visit, just take those one or two extra steps of caution so that as a whole community we can continue to fight this virus together.

Stay safe.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Deconfinement in France

Yesterday it seemed that the whole of France was watching the French Prime Minister give his live press conference pertaining to the next level of deconfinement pertaining to the Coronavirus situation in the country.

Life has been slowly getting back to normal in France with a feeling of renewed optimism in the air since the first level of restrictions were lifted earlier this month.

As of Tuesday June 2nd, France is lifting restrictions nationwide reopening of bars, restaurants and cafes from June 2, albeit with restrictions, and lifted limitations on domestic travel in time for the summer holidays. 
“Freedom will be the rule and restriction the exception,” said Philippe, adding the country was “in a better place than where we expected to be” after the first two weeks post-lockdown.

Museums and monuments are to reopen to visitors nationwide from June 2, though face masks must be worn.

Holiday resorts will reopen too, from June 22, and parks and gardens from next week.

Cinemas can open from June 22 while theaters can also open from June 2, although social distancing rules will have to be observed, he said.

Phillipe urged people to continue respecting social-distancing measures and maintain a strict hand-washing regime, and said gatherings of more than 10 people in public places would remain prohibited.

It is already mandatory to wear a face mask on public transport.

As for dining out, a mainstay of French culture, Philippe specified people can meet in restaurants and cafes in groups of no more than 10, and with a minimum of one metre (3.3 feet) between tables.

In Paris, only outside tables can be occupied. 
This unfortunately does not mean that the nightclubs, bathhouses and establishments of such are able to open just yet but business owners have been working diligently with the government with word being a possibility of opening on June 21st with precautions in place. LGBT establishments with an outdoor terrace will be allowed to open as of June 2nd.

This also means that the borders to France are not yet open but word is there will be another announcement about that concern on June 15th.

Step by step things are improving for everyone to enjoy their summer in the beautiful French Riviera.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

On The Sea With Riviera Boat Tours

A big reason people love to live here and those visiting cannot get enough of the French Riviera is because we are at the edge of the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

If a memorable experience is what you are after then you have to book a trip on the sea with gay-friendly Riviera Boat Tours! I spoke with the owner, Patrick for more about his remarkable business venture...

Hello Patrick,

Can you tell us a little bit about what brought you to the beautiful French Riviera?

My life on the French Riviera started around 25 years ago. I came here for family vacations in St Paul de Vence, Cannes, Antibes and Mougins.

Then eventually as many others have, I moved to France and discovered Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. The views as with everywhere along the Cote d'Azur left me breathless but because St Jean is a peninsula that extends south towards the sea, I was overcome with how St Jean seemed to be more intensified in its natural beauty.

No wonder artists such as Picasso, Cocteau, authors such as Somerset Maugham, Fitzgerald and the politicians such as Churchill, the Kennedys, royal families and movie stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, David Niven to name a few flocked here.
When did you start your business, Riviera Boat Tours?

Four years ago I decided to get my yachting license in Beaulieu sur Mer. My intention was not to start a business but purely for personal pleasure, as an experience, an extension of my learning and personal growth.

After I got my license, friends with boats would ask me to skipper for day journeys, allowing them time to relax and spend time with families, or business clients, as I undertook the responsibility concerned with handling everything. Eventually boat operators would call me on recommendations from friends to collect clients, business partners from places like the Royal Yacht Club Monaco and bring them to lunches at the surrounding beaches and portside bars.

With this demand, combined with my absolute love of the area, I decided to take it a step further and fully commercialize my license, a bigger step forward than I imagined but the added training was great fun.
Can you please tell our clients about your background in the boating industry?

With my international commercialized license, I started to worked for a tour boat company. The owner of the boat was delighted as were the clients. Within 3 months I was #1 on TripAdvisor, Airbnb Experiences, Viator and most other platforms. Eventually through all of this I decided to form my own boat tour brand and expand upon what clients can do and see on such boat trips.

Where is Riviera Boat Tours based?

In the Port of St Jean Cap Ferrat France. A beautiful peninsula fishing village nestling between Nice and Monaco. So easily accessible by car and bus. 15 minutes from Monaco and 20 minutes from Nice.
Are there specific times of year you operate or is it also based on demand year-round since we have such an exceptional climate in the region?

Peak seasons are May until the end of September although we operate year round as the weather for the most part is so sensational and sunny here.

How many guests can go at one time on one of your tours?

Our boats are a maximum of 5 persons. We limit this for client comfort and ecological reasons. The boats run more fuel efficient with less capacity. It also allows me, the Captain to take special care of all on board, safety, service and to answer any questions regarding the tour. It's a very personal experience and I invest so much of myself into the guests on board.
We also have the capability to charter boats for larger numbers. At Riviera Boat Tours we have a wonderful relationship with the Marinas and local yacht agents, so we can accommodate any request for boats regardless of size. Our team is qualified in both Sailing and Motor boats up to 24 metres (80 feet).

We have a bilingual crew speaking 5 languages.

During the tour, can guests go swimming and/or snorkeling?

Swimming, snorkeling and cliff jumping too. All equipment is supplied along with towels and a fresh water hand shower for after swim rinse. I am a pro-active skipper and nearly always use our swim stops to jump in alongside our guests, if asked. We have buoyancy aids available as well for those a bit nervous of the sea.
Are you able to arrange special tours for guests seeking a memorable moment or celebration such as a birthday, engagement or anniversary?

Absolutely. At Riviera Boat Tours we have wonderful relations with hoteliers and restaurateurs, to arrive by boat to a special location with tables reserved and specially arranged. We also have the capacity to charter, skipper and crew a variety of different sail or motor boats, with full catering, for any special occasions.

This year we are arranging beach picnics as part of our tours. This idea would work particularly well in the early evenings after a day or half day on the water, to disembark and be able to sit on the beach, relaxing and sipping something cold as the sun dips low westwards as the sunsets here are spectacular.
What locations do you offer on a tour?

Riviera Boat Tours departs from the port of St Jean Cap Ferrat. On the full day tours we cruise on over to the magnificently picturesque Port of Villefranche, enroute we go around the two headlands that compose the peninsular of Cap Ferrat, stopping in the bays and small coves, with small beaches accessible only by foot or boat. A chance to swim and snorkel in the deep or shallow waters, observe marine life and on occasion see dolphins and whales.

From Villefranche we head across the wide open Mediterranean towards Cap d'Ail for our planned restaurant stop at Plage Mala. This area makes for a perfect Instagram moment as it retains its exclusivity because of how difficult it can be to access and surrounding natural environment. After lunch we head on over to the Port of Monaco, with a very special opportunity to see the Super Yachts close up, the famous Casino of Monte Carlo, and perched above it all, the old town of Monaco with its Palace and museums.

Leaving Monaco we head back towards Cap Ferrat but not before taking in the various bays surrounding Eze.
I must note that clients can choose a one way trip, perhaps stopping in Monaco or any other points along the route, to meet friends or shop as part of their experience.

Can boat tours be arranged for specific times of day, half day or full day?

Yes, we offer Morning, Full day, Afternoon and Evening Sunset cruises. On Half day morning our tours typically start at 9 to 10am and include a port side breakfast stop if the client wishes.

Afternoon Boat Tours start at 1 to 1:30 pm and can include a lunch stop at the gorgeous private bay of Cap d Ail or the Port of Villefranche Sur Mer if they wish.

Full day we take all destinations between Villefranche and Monaco which is approximately a 6-hour tour.

Sunset tours normally start from 6 until 8pm depending on the season.

We also offer Boat taxi services, collecting dropping and returning clients after a lunch or dinner, a shopping or business trip.

The boat trips during peak season is the quickest and most reliable way to get around. And one can be dropped directly into the heart of the city and town ports, refreshed and invigorated upon arrival.
Are safety requirements are met with approvals of local authorities?

All Crew and Captains are Registered and fully commercially licensed with the Royal Yachting Group.

Association with an Internationally recognized license.

All our training for safety takes place with Bluewater in Antibes. This includes fire safety, sea rescue and basic first aid and seas survival techniques and navigation.

All our boats whether it be our own or boats we charter for occasional use are equipped with Sonar and Satellite Navigation and sea to shore radios.
Where can someone find more information on your availability and rates?

Find us and contact us directly at: Riviera Boat Tours.
Instagram: @rivieraboattours
Merci Patrick!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Lifting Restrictions In The French Riviera

As years go, this is certainly a different one. With the Coronavirus pandemic all over media coverage it can make for confusing times on what safe steps to proceed with in daily life.

And usually at this time of year in France, the French Riviera is buzzing with anticipation for what would be the upcoming Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix this month that would bring together an international list of people from around the world.

Fortunately though as the weeks have gone by, people here in France for the most part seem to have been abiding by the restrictions (hefty fines help) meaning our Covid-19 numbers so far keep going down.

So much so that last month President Macron announced that as of May 11th our restrictions in the country will slowly be lifted as long as the virus numbers stay manageable and consistently decrease so that we do not have a second wave.
Since March 16th everyone has had to stay within the 1 km radius of their homes unless they are an essential worker or its an emergency type situation.

Starting Monday, May 11th we will now be able to travel up to 100 km radius of our home with the only option to move further if you have an emergency or special permission with your attestation forms.
The 100 km distance alone seems to have made people feel more relieved. And with the borders still being closed for some time yet it sounds like everyone here will just be making the most of it as things progress hopefully for the better.

In the meanwhile in the French Riviera, local mayors have been either adding to their local restrictions or lifting even more with permission from the Government of France.

At this moment when you go outside you can see small businesses preparing to open for tomorrow with city workers busy maintaining the parks and beaches for when the public are allowed to use them again in the following days.
This is great news as with the beautiful sunny weather here in the French Riviera, not having access to those public areas, especially the beaches seemed unfathomable.

Public transit will still not be available to the full extent it previously was but train and buses will be running but only allowing a certain amount of people at a time with social distancing at stations, on platforms and within transit itself. Plus you must always wear a mask when traveling or you can get a fine or not be allowed to travel.
For now bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs will still be closed until June 5th and that can change by week depending on the virus situation and even then the type of service might be different meaning a limited amount of people and more social distancing.
As it also will stand starting May 11th, the current number of social groups can only be up to 10 people with distancing in affect.

You can tell those of us in the LGBTQ community are very much looking forward to full on social events again like at the bars, private dinner parties and nightclubs.

Owners of local gay establishments have been watching the government news closely and keeping people up to date with information on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram with any fresh news they may get with many keeping a positive outlook to it all.

The feeling right now is as long as things keep safe and relatively normal, these establishments may open again by July. Fingers crossed.

 There has been a good patriotic spirit to this whole virus situation with many offering more support online and an overall optimistic viewpoint while restrictions gradually get lifted.

When the final news comes in that the border are open to visitors from around the world again, you can be certain everyone here will be letting the world know.

Stay strong, stay safe.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Life During The Coronavirus

Well, it's basically the middle of April, the restrictions in place because of the Coronavirus started to slowly take place on the early evening of March 14, 2020 here in the beautiful French Riviera and the rest of France. Which at the time meant all the bars, restaurants and nightclubs were at first to limit the number of people inside but within hours had to close all together.

As soon as the new life rules came into play it made for interesting times, life then started to change more and more as the restrictions continued to come in and yet there was still a feeling of being able to move on to an extent with freedoms not totally abolished and for the better good.

After that first evening, every day businesses were told to close to the public and if you could manage to work from home that was the best option.

One of the main attractions the Cote d'Azur is known for is our stunning surrounding landscapes with the precious blue Mediterranean sea lapping against the long coastline. People were just getting used to the closures and overall limitations, so naturally they headed towards the beaches.

You could sense there were people nervous about what was happening and already worried about their future while others decided to treat the invisible Covid-19 like a bit of a reason to holiday.

Which at the time meant too many people were gathering at the various beaches and not staying inside so soon after those in authority barred everyone from going near any of the beaches but depending on where you live one could still see, smell and hear the waves hitting the shore. There still was life even if the blue waters were so close but yet so far away. 

For weeks now people have gotten used to filling out the (previously hand written or printed off) online attestation form on their smartphone before leaving their residence so that if stopped by the police they can scan the code it produces. Some of the current restrictions are: limited exercise to an hour outside every day and within a 1km radius of your home and only within certain hours.

Essential workers can go their jobs, while doing this you may be checked for such reasons before getting on trains, buses and in your car at checkpoints. One can go for quick trips to the grocery store, pharmacy or doctor appointments.

And some cities quickly enacted curfews anywhere from 7pm to 6am. Wear a mask if possible, social distance and staying home are the main rules.

President Macron gave a very strong, all encompassing and encouraging speech this past Monday night.

Basically now we will continue to be under confinement until May 11th as what we are doing as citizens is working which means we also currently will not have any new restrictions. After that date, a very small select number of schools and businesses will be allowed to re-open.

Further to that Macron said,"May 11 will be the start of a new phase. It will be progressive and the rules can be adapted according to our results."

So again, it's a day by day issue but easily handled.

One thing that seems to have stood out for us in the luxury industry, this is the time of year businesses are really ramping up for high season with the adrenaline going. Even the so called luxury lifestyle gurus would be making plans to head this way, getting in contact, trying to make their mark, grab a piece of the pie so to speak and attempt to make some quick cash in the region. You can see them coming from a mile away.

Many things during this time period have been remarkable. The sense of strength of communities coming together, people are being more helpful with each other, little things are no longer taken for granted and one of the best times is at 8pm every night when everyone stops what they are doing at home and go out on their terraces or front yards to clap and cheer for all the honorable health care workers and front line industry staff doing the best job possible in such a horrendous time.

Although life may never be the same again, hopefully this virus will be over soon and we can carry on with some valuable life lessons.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Coronavirus and the French Riviera

Well, as of early Saturday night some not so unexpected news came in quickly from the Government of France about the next steps that would be taken to try and contain the Coronavirus. 

The first message was that starting immediately any restaurants, bars and nightclubs along with other places people usually gather would have to close by midnight. 

About an hour later it was stated that further restrictions would come into effect. Starting Sunday all shops and services would close for the foreseen future with only supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and tabacs deemed essential being open on a regular basis. 

This really wasn’t that much of a surprise as President Macron in his speech only a few days before declared that schools and universities would be closed as of March 16, 2020. 

Needless to say, this has been a very odd time in not only France but around the world as we all grapple with what has been going on.
With the new changes implemented, we were curious how the city of Nice was reacting. In walking around, to be honest, life seemed as normal, in fact it felt much like years ago when shops were regularly closed on Sundays.

People seemed to be enjoying life as normal as possible, sitting at the beach, watching the waves or on benches in parks under the clear, sunny blue skies taking in the surroundings.

We walked by a number of grocery shops, there was no lineups, the checkouts had a normal amount of people buying products. Before finishing our stroll in the city, we went into one of the larger grocery chains to find again, an average amount of people doing a regular shop and the shelves looked stocked and noon, no panic at the checkouts.

Obviously things can change but what we have already noticed online is businesses and groups of individuals are coming together to help support each other in the various communities in France. Very heart warming.

We are feeling positive that through this tricky time, things will eventually pass and we have a number of creative plans in the works not only for our luxury businesses but since we have already developed a shared economy for the past number of years in France, we want everyone to benefit from the natural rewards of the country.

One of those smaller plans is to keep promoting all that France has to offer, this was actually upon the suggestions of our regular clients and followers who have told us that our posts on social media have been inspiring and lifting their spirits, it is even more so now a pleasure for us to do.

The LGBTQ community is strong here in France and so is everyone else seemingly working together as one.

If you ever have any questions about the situation here in France, feel free to connect with us.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Les Thermes Sauna Masculin in Marseille

Exciting news came to the gay community in the city of Marseille a couple of months ago with the addition of the brand new Les Thermes Sauna Masculin!
After almost a year of top to bottom renovations, this expansive sauna has been reconfigured with more than 600m2 among three levels of play space.

Each area has been well thought out to offer you the maximum in socializing, cruising and adventurous hook up spots.

With a feeling of warmth, cleanliness and comfort, this is truly one of those places in Marseille where you can leave your cares behind.

Upon entering Les Thermes, you will be greeted by friendly and discreet employees putting you at ease as soon as you enter, especially if it is your first time in this type of establishment.

Totally soak in the atmosphere while meeting new friends at the bar or go for a swim in the large pool.

Around every corner in Les Thermes there is something new to experience and more men to meet.

Grab a quick shower and relax in the Hamman or Finnish Sauna. Close by you will find the extensive cruising area where most of the cabins are configured and they all offer something unique such a sling room, some cabins equipped with glory holes or even just private rooms. Whatever suits your pleasure.

If you have a kink you need worked out, head to the lower level of the club, otherwise known as the "Fetish Zone" with a large communal mattress, sling cabin and play room with porn video monitors.

Les Thermes is a great place to hang out and a must visit on your next trip to Marseille as the spacious new sauna has a rotating variety of themes day and night that always brings in the best crowd.

You'll definitely leave with a smile on your face!

Photos courtesy of Les Thermes Sauna Masculin

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Allure of Monaco

Monaco is the second smallest sovereign state in the world after Vatican city.

Monaco doesn't have a separate capital due to its small size and is called a Principality since it is governed by a Prince. Monaco has an area of 2.02 sq. km (0.78mi) but over the decades has been reclaiming land from the sea to slowly extend its borders while being surrounded by France.

There can be some confusion between Monte-Carlo and Monaco. Monaco is the name of the country. The city of Monaco has a number of neighborhoods, and Monte-Carlo is one of these. It is the district overlooking Port Hercules and where you will find the casino and many luxury hotels, shopping and residences.

There are a variety of reasons why people find Monaco so alluring:

1. Royalty. If you love hearing about the lives of royal families around the world then Monaco is definitely the place to be. Here the Grimaldi family has ruled for over 700 years and it's not unusual to either catch a glimpse of if you are lucky enough, to even meet various members of the royal family and their offspring at various events or in passing in day to day life.
2. Grace Kelly. While filming the iconic Alfred Hitchcock movie, To Catch A Thief in the region in 1954, the then actress was invited by Prince Rainer to visit the Prince’s Palace which then lead to a romance and eventual royal wedding. Her acclaim helped develop Monaco into a modern worldwide travel destination and her presence can still be felt throughout the country. 
3. Money. The best of the best can be seen and bought here. The most rare and unimaginable can be found and constructed. If one lives in, applies or follows specific legal rules, Monaco can be considered a tax haven for many. One in three residents is considered to be at least a millionaire. It is also one of the many homes of the top ten billionaires in the world. It also has a poverty and employment rate of zero. 

4. Security. Monaco is one of the safest places on earth. Those who live and visit the country are unobtrusively monitored by the most sophisticated in 24-hour surveillance system and protection services for their well-being. There is one police officer for every 100 people. It is not unusual to see people daily wearing very expensive jewelry pieces or driving the finest in sports cars with little fear of being robbed since crime is extremely low.

5. Lavish Wealth. The country is exceedingly full of wealth and that can be seen in the lifestyle of the residents in where they shop, live and even eat. This also makes the country a draw for social media influencers hoping to attract attention by simply having their photo taken in the country's various glamorous backdrops.

6. Monte-Carlo Casino. An historical, captivating landmark this remarkably beautiful Beaux Arts style building not only houses the casino but also the likes of Chanel, Buddha Bar and the Opera de Monte-Carlo. There is a gambling ban for residents in place which leaves all the gambling up to tourists and foreign residents. A number of James Bond thrillers have been filmed here along with other movies and even Kylie Minogue's, On A Night Like This video was partially filmed at this location.

7. Luxury Shopping. If you can imagine it and afford it, it can be found or designed for you here. The usual high-end boutiques such as Hermes, Cartier, Balenciaga (to name a very few) are situated here but the difference being that many of these boutiques also offer one of a kind, superior haute couture pieces of fashion or jewelry. The same can be said for any number of brand sports cars and super yachts. 
8. Monaco Grand Prix. A not to be missed weekend event in May that brings together not only sports enthusiasts from around the world but the international jet set who mix and mingle with the who's who in the world of sports and celebrity. Day and night the party atmosphere never stops as people watch the races from the balconies of private homes, luxury hotels and the decks of mega yachts in the port. During the evening the nightclubs and restaurants are also in high gear catering to the crowd in attendance.
9. The Prince's Palace. The official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco is a historic, majestic palace that dates back to 1191. The is a working palace where not only the royal family resides but it also holds many of the offices of Prince Albert to help maintain duties of the principality and welcome international guests. The changing of the guard takes place daily and tours are available inside specific areas of the palace. As a side note, Princess Charlotte, Princess Stephanie and other members of the royal family also have villas and apartments minutes away from the palaces on Le Rocher.
10. Oceanography Museum. Within a five minute walk from the Prince’s Palace is the Oceanography Museum of Monaco. This outstanding architectural masterpiece houses the marine sciences and sits right on the edge of the Monaco cliffs with the Mediterranean Sea below. Designed over 100 years ago it is not only a museum but also a conference centre with the main draw being the aquarium that holds more than 6000 species. Be sure to go to the roof to take in more of the panoramic views of the sea and principality where you can also enjoy lunch in the rooftop restaurant. 
11. The Exotic Garden. The Jardin Exotique de Monaco is a botanical garden located on a cliff side that dates back more than 75 years. The exotic garden offers a fantastic view of the principality and holds thousands of varieties of plants. Here you can also take a guided tour of a prehistoric caves that leads you down 196.8 feet (60 meters) and offers you the opportunity to see the stalactites and learn more of what has been discovered during the first journeys down below.

12. Nightlife. Although predominately a straight clientele, the nightclubs are very, open-minded and gay-friendly. Open until dawn, the summer months are the best time to discover the clubs for yourself where it is not unusual to rub elbows with major international celebrities, rock stars and royalty, many of which also own amazing villas and luxurious yachts nearby.

13. Restaurants. For all the foodies out there, Monaco is the place to dine out. A culinary delight for many, whatever you are craving or have always wanted to try is available to indulge in. Here for the most part, French and Italy fushion takes place along with any other cultural feast imaginable with Michelin run restaurants such as: BeefBar, Restaurant Joel Robuchon Monte-Carlo, Blue Bay, Restaurant Yoshi and the newly designed Le Grill at the Hotel de Paris.

14. The Cars Collection of H.S.H. the Prince of Monaco. A short walk below from the Prince's Palace is a museum dedicated to every car enthusiasts out there. Everything from the rarest antique and super cool cars is available. Prince Rainer III was a big collector of cars and funded the museum; his personal collection can be found here including the Rolls Royce that was used by Grace Kelly on her wedding day.

15. Helicopter Tours. The quickest way to get around not only Monaco but the French Riviera and beyond is by helicopter and the number of companies are situated at the edge of the principality and offer tours of Monaco and the surrounding countryside. Or make the most out of your vacation time and take direct helicopter flights to and from the Nice Airport or even start your weekend off with a trip to places such as Saint Tropez.

16. Paragliding. At the border east of Monaco is Roquebrune Cap Martin, take a tour high in the mountains and past the private estate retreat of the royal family where you can go on any number of paragliding trips for various lengths of time in the air. Certified instructors will take you on paragliding panoramic flights over the principality and into other areas such as the peninsula of Cap Martin leaving you with memories of a lifetime as you eventually land on the beaches below.


17. Hiking. Get your exercise in and also get a bird's eye view of what makes up the Principality of Monaco at the same time. This part of France and Monaco are known for their various hiking trails and while not technically in Monaco, above it is on the most famous vantage points of the Tete de Chien. The walk and climb from the Monaco Train Station to the top only takes about 2.5 hours and offers stunning views of not only Monaco but to the east you can see down the coastline into Italy and to the west once can see down the coast towards Cannes to Theoule-sur-Mer.
18. Monaco Yacht Show. Held every September in Port Hercules, it is Europe's biggest in-water display of yachts of all sizes, usually the bigger the better. Networking (and partying) at this international weekend of events goes beyond the yacht community and into other areas of commerce and entertainment as well such as: luxury real estate and super cars.
The LGBTQ community is very small and private for the most part within Monaco but supportive and members of it meet socially monthly and are also known for being very business minded so it's not unusual to run into each other or meet new people while at various functions.
No matter your sexual preference, although life here overall is carefree there is still a strong element of privacy for anyone.

Year round there is always something to experience in the beautiful Principality of Monaco.