Postcards from Monaco: Monte Carlo Casino

The Monte Carlo Casino is an architectural masterpiece, where colours, shapes and forms go together in a perfect harmony. Any viewer may experience an unusual emotional impact, which may be explained by the building Beaux Arts architectural style.

The Monte Carlo Casino

The Monte Carlo Casino

Beaux Arts is a post-Neoclassicism style, which merges architectural elements from ancient Greece and ancient Rome along with Renaissance elements. The style favours the space, where the composition emphasises symmetry, grandiosity and detailed ornamentation.

The Monte Carlo Casino: Its roof & multiple decorations

The Monte Carlo Casino: Its roof & multiple decorations

The Monte Carlo Casino is an easy-to-spot building when arriving in Monaco’s city centre. It is one of the masterpieces of Charles Garnier, the well-known architect who also authored the Paris Opera. The Casino also houses the Monte Carlo Opera.

The Monte Carlo Casino: Front clock

The Monte Carlo Casino: Front clock

We just found out here that the first casino was built in Spa, Belgium, our home country, in 1762. The word origin is “casina”, which means a residence for courtesans. Today the meaning is certainly different…

The main building structure of the Monte Carlo Casino was open to the public in 1863. The main building became a complex of buildings, as a result of adding new parts to the initial building over the years. The people in charge of the job took good care of harmonising the building complex. They chose to preserve a distinct and harmonious architectural style, a choice, which was key to making the Monte Carlo Casino famous worldwide.

The Monte Carlo Casino:  One of its entry doors

The Monte Carlo Casino: One of its entry doors

It is worth noting the 28 Ionic columns surrounding the entrance hall covered in marble. The Salle Garnier is in red and gold and features bas-reliefs, frescoes and a number of sculptures. There are also stained glass windows, symbolic paintings and golden lamps. The Salle Garnier was open in 1879 with a performance by Sarah Bernhard.

While in the past the Casino was the favourite meeting point of both royalties from Europe and from elsewhere in the world, today it is the meeting point of many worldwide celebrities.

Although the Monte Carlo Casino is placed on the Monaco’s land, the Monacans, the Monaco’s inhabitants, are not allowed to get to the gaming rooms of the casino. The Casino was a solution to save the Grimaldi family from bankruptcy in 1850. The Casino has then got the fame of an important income source as it brings in so much money, so that the Monacans do not need to pay any taxes.

The Casino faces the Hôtel de Paris, Alain Ducasse’s Louis XV restaurant and Café de Paris. In the middle of the square, a beautiful garden and a fountain may help a visitor get some fresh air during the hot summer days.

Hôtel de Paris

Hôtel de Paris

A world-renowned cultural reference and featured in many movies and books, the Monte Carlo Casino is a place we wanted to see one day. And it happened.

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