Does the Casino always win?
Private jet charter Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo officially refers to an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco, specifically the ward of Monte Carlo/Spélugues, where the Monte Carlo Casino is located. Informally the name also refers to a larger district, the Monte Carlo Quarter (corresponding to the former municipality of Monte Carlo), which besides Monte Carlo/Spélugues also includes the wards of La Rousse/Saint Roman, Larvotto/Bas Moulins, and Saint Michel. The permanent population of the ward of Monte Carlo is about 3,500, while that of the quarter is about 15,000. Monaco has four traditional quarters. From west to east they are: Fontvieille (the newest), Monaco-Ville (the oldest), La Condamine, and Monte Carlo.
Monte Carlo (literally “Mount Charles”) is situated on a prominent escarpment at the base of the Maritime Alps along the French Riviera. Near the western end of the quarter is the world-famous Place du Casino, the gambling center which has made Monte Carlo “an international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth”. It is also the location of the Hôtel de Paris, the Café de Paris, and the Salle Garnier (the casino theatre which is the home of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo).
The eastern part of the quarter includes the community of Larvotto with Monaco’s only public beach, as well as its new convention center (the Grimaldi Forum), and the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort. At the quarter’s western border, one crosses into the French town of Beausoleil (sometimes referred to as Monte-Carlo-Supérieur), and just 5 miles (8 km) to its east is the western border of Italy.
The Opéra de Monte-Carlo or Salle Garnier was built to designs of the architect Charles Garnier, who also designed the Paris opera house now known as the Palais Garnier. Although much smaller, the Salle Garnier is very similar in style with decorations in red and gold, and frescoes and sculptures all around the auditorium. It was inaugurated on 25 January 1879 with a performance by Sarah Bernhardt dressed as a nymph. The first opera performed there was Robert Planquette’s Le Chevalier Gaston on 8 February 1879, and that was followed by three more in the first season.
With the influence of the first director, Jules Cohen (who was instrumental in bringing Adelina Patti) and the fortunate combination of Raoul Gunsbourg, the new director from 1883, and Princess Alice, the opera-loving American wife of Charles III’s successor, Albert I, the company was thrust onto the world’s opera community stage. Gunsbourg had remained for sixty years.
By the early years of the twentieth century, the Salle Garnier was to see such great performers as Nellie Melba and Enrico Caruso in La Bohème and Rigoletto (in 1902), and Feodor Chaliapin in the premiere of Jules Massenet’s Don Quichotte (1910). This production formed part of a long association between the company and Massenet and his operas, two of which were presented there posthumously.
Other famous twentieth-century singers to appear at Monte Carlo included Titta Ruffo, Geraldine Farrar, Mary Garden, Tito Schipa, Beniamino Gigli, Claudia Muzio, Georges Thill, and Lily Pons.
Apart from Massenet, composers whose works had their first performances at Monte Carlo included: Saint-Saëns (Hélène, 1904); Mascagni (Amica, 1905); and Puccini (La rondine, 1917). Indeed, since its inauguration, the theatre has hosted 45 world premiere productions of operas. René Blum was retained to found the Ballet de l’Opéra. The “Golden Age” of the Salle Garnier is gone, as small companies with small houses are not able to mount productions that cost astronomical sums. Nonetheless, the present day company still presents a season containing five or six operas.
Monte Carlo has featured in numerous films and television series, most recently in the 2011 movie of the same name.
The casino featured in the James Bond films Never Say Never Again (1983), and GoldenEye (1995). To Catch a Thief (1954) was an Alfred Hitchcock film with Monte Carlo and its famous casino as the setting and featured Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, the future Princess Grace of Monaco, as the stars. There is a scene in the movie where the-then Grace Kelly drives a car very quickly—and dangerously—along the steep winding roads of Monaco that surround the heights of Monte Carlo; an interesting coincidence to her actual fate in 1982. Monte Carlo was even a location for the late 1960s British London based series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) where in the eleventh episode of the series, “The Ghost who Saved the Bank at Monte Carlo”, Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre went to Monte Carlo to accompany a highly talented elderly woman to gamble inside the casino and waylay a group of thugs (amongst them Brian Blessed).
In 1970, Chevrolet introduced a car called the Chevrolet Monte Carlo which went through six generations of production until 2007. The motor race Monaco World Prix 1 in Monte Carlo also featured in the 2010 film Iron Man 2. Other films such as I Spy, Cars 2 and Monte Carlo use the city as a setting. The video game series Gran Turismo often features Monte Carlo as a location, and the Indie game “Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine” features Monte Carlo as a setting. There are two difficult heists in the endgame that take place in the Casino. The hotel in Monte Carlo, Monaco also made an appearance in the 2012 DreamWorks Animation SKG film Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.
Arranging a private jet charter to and from Nice Cote d’Azur airport (LFMN / NCE) is straightforward. Nice airport lies approximately 31 kilometres from Monte Carlo and takes around 35 minutes by car subject to traffic.
A private jet charter from London to Nice will take approximately 1 hour 45-50 minutes in a 6 seat Cessna Citation CJ2 jet, and 1hour 35-40 minutes in a 8 seat Cessna Citation XLS jet. On arrival into Nice, a helicopter transfer will take you to the heart of Monte Carlo in Monaco in 10 minutes, where you will land at the Monaco heliport (LNMC / MCM).
Arranging a private jet charter or helicopter transfer with Freedom Air to arrive in style to Monte Carlo is simple. The Freedom Air team can be reached on +44 (0) 1275 548001 to book your next trip.