The world’s most famous casino symbolizes all that is opulent and glamorous in Monte-Carlo – a ‘must-see’ even if you are not a gambler.
The Monte-Carlo Casino is probably the most famous building on the French Riviera, known in its heyday as the ‘Cathedral of Hell’. It was opened in 1878 by Prince Charles III to save himself from bankruptcy. Such was its success that, 5 years later, he abolished taxation.
The resplendent building was designed by Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris Opéra. Its lavish belle époque interior is a riot of pink, green and gold, with marble floors, bronze sculptures, onyx columns and high ornate ceilings lit by crystal chandeliers. It was in 1891 that Charles Deville Wells turned $400 into $40,000 in a three-day gambling spree, thus inspiring the popular tune ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte-Carlo’.
Ever since gamblers have come here from all over the world to try their luck at the gambling tables. Yet gone are the days when the Monégasques could live entirely off the folly of others. Revenue from the casino has declined, so that it is worth much more as a tourist attraction.
The Monte-Carlo Casino building also houses the Salle Garnier, a small, highly ornate opera house which, for more than a century, has welcomed the world’s greatest artists.
Richard Reeves is the founder of Essential Sailing and if you have been inspired to relax on a luxury sailing holiday, why not make this idyllic world your reality.
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