Oh Mr Bond, you are spoiling me! The opulent and historic Casino de Monte Carlo has attracted the wealthy and powerful since the gilded years of the late 19th century. Get your glad rags on, order that martini and return to an age when gambling really was glamourous.
This grand and glittering palace of cash was all part of Princess Caroline's cunning master plan to keep the Monaco monarchy's finances flowing in the mid-1900s. She saw the opportunity and worked like a demon to get the casino built, the area developed (and renamed Monte Carlo) and the best people in the gambling business working there. Monaco's royal family still have a major share in the Monte Carlo Casino today.
The building itself was built in 1858 and has had many alterations and additions over the years, but it remains an iconic creation of the vibrant and optimistic Belle Epoque era in France. The grand gaming rooms, including Salle Europe, Salle Blanche and Salon Touzet, are sumptuously decorated with original frescoes, paintings, sculptures and dazzling crystal chandeliers.
Forget Vegas theme park fakery, this is the real thing and deserves a place on your bucket list!
Monaco's pleasant climate attracts a jet-set crowd all year round. If you'd like it a little on the quieter side, it's probably wise to avoid the peak summer season and the Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend, usually at the end of May each year.
The most prestigious casino in the world offers table games (European Roulette, Trente et Quarante, English Roulette, Chemin de Fer, Punto Banco, Black Jack, Texas Hold'em Poker Ultimate), private gaming areas and slots. Yep, you can feed more than a thousand machines in the ornate surroundings of the Monte Carlo Casino, some of them in the Atrium for free.
Table games begin at 2pm each day and it will cost you €10 per person to enter, plus a €10 supplement for the private gaming rooms. Pay in cash at the Atrium entrance gate. You must be 18 years old or over and bring photo ID with you. Monaco citizens live a tax-free life but are not permitted in the casino.
If you want to throw yourself into the Monte Carlo experience, get dressed up. At the very least, leave the shorts, flip flops, sports shoes or uniform back at your hotel. You must be wearing a jacket, or elegant attire for the ladies, after 8pm in the private gaming rooms.
To fully soak up the grandeur and history of the Monte Carlo Casino take a guided tour, which run during the mornings when games are not in progress. Email [email protected] for more information. If you want to see some table action you'll need to pay the usual entry fee later in the day.
You're in the playground of the super-rich, so go the whole hog and stay at the lavish Hotel de Paris connected to Place du Casino by a handy flight of stairs. Once again you can gawp at the grandeur of historic sculptures, paintings, marble colonnades and chandeliers. Then brace yourself for some full-on fancy French fine dining at its award-winning restaurant Le Louis XV Alain Ducasse - the first hotel restaurant in the world to be awarded three Michelin stars.
The Hotel de Paris Gold Card gives you immediate access to the casinos, Wellness Centre, exclusive private beach and other local attractions. Slightly easier on the wallet, the Café de Paris terrace is a fantastic place to enjoy a coffee and a spot of top quality people-watching across from the casino. Get your camera at the ready and gaze open-mouthed at its continual parade of slick super cars. Aston Martin, Bugatti, McLaren, Lamborghini anyone?
Embrace the decadent, over-the-top glamour of the French Riviera and add a visit to the casino in Monte Carlo to your bucket list. You won't forget your 007 moment!