My wife and I and our 13 month old baby have spent the past 2 days at Larvotto Beach in Monte Carlo. It's a nice little beach just a few minutes' walk from the town center. The beach is very small so you might want to come earlier in the day. It's a public beach so it's free to the locals so it seems really popular. There are also clubs/restaurants that rent out comfortable chairs and umbrellas but it's a good idea to make a reservation ahead of time as they fill up quickly and get reserved ahead of time.
The beach is very compact. There are many different restaurants and cafes and little stores that sell sandwiches and drinks as well. There is a sidewalk that you can access different parts of the beach. The nice thing is there is something for all budgets as I saw many places that sold sandwiches and hot dogs for about €5 to more expensive restaurants with a nicer atmosphere.
The places that rent out chairs and umbrellas mostly charge about €15 per person for chairs and €5 for an umbrella to block out the sun. We tried going to a few places early this morning and they were already all booked up for the day with advance reservations. Consider that we arrived at the beach by 10:30 AM this morning so definitely make reservations ahead of time. We were going to make one yesterday but we didn't think it would be busy as we got in late afternoon. We ended up going back to La Rose des Vents which is the first restaurant as you walk down to the beach. It's the place with the red umbrellas. €30 for 2 chairs and €5 for umbrella.
The chairs there are very comfortable with foam padding. We had our baby with us so it was great the chairs were so comfortable. The staff was friendly. Keep in mind these places really make their money from the drinks that you order. Again, you don't have to rent a chair but definitely if you have a small child it's advisable as the beaches here don't have sand. They have small pebbles which is uncomfortable to walk on and get VERY hot. I can't imagine it would be comfortable just laying a towel down.
Drinks at these types of places are expensive and you can easily rack up a bill if you're drinking a lot. But hey its vacation and you have to relax and not worry so much about that. To give you an idea, Coke's are €4 ($5.75); a large bottle of spring water is €9 ( almost $13) but the good thing is they serve the bottle of water with a carafe of ice so it's really cold. They also have great fresh fruit served cold but again pricey. 6 small slices of cold pineapple was €10 ( $14.30). Small glass of orange juice €6. I know many people are curious about prices when vacationing so I'm including them.
We also had lunch here at La Rose des Ventas and the food was very good. We had the grilled seabass with fresh vegetables and it was delicious. You can just put everything on your tab and pay at the end. They only ask your name and just put everything on your tab. The nice thing is they take all major credit cards including American Express.
The beach itself was nice and perfect for small children. In fact, there were lots of families with kids and they had a store that sold all kinds of toys, inflatable mattresses, sunscreen, etc. Make sure not to forget your sunscreen. We forgot ours at our apartment and they charge €18 for a bottle of suntan lotion so definitely bring yours from home.
The water is perfect as it's not cold and not too warm and clean. There aren't strong tides so it's perfect for kids to play in. Wearing a top is optional for women. We saw plenty of females with no tops on so keep that in mind if that sort of thing bothers you. It's a really nice beach for families and we really enjoyed it.
We are staying in an apartment overlooking the Casino Gardens just 1 block from the Hotel de Paris hotel and it's fabulous. The last time I came to Monte Carlo I stayed in Nice and just came to Monte Carlo for a day trip (and came back at night for the view at the Palace). We are enjoying staying here. Monte Carlo is a really classy, very clean and beautiful city. We rented a car as we are going to explore the Riviera and use our apartment for a base. Our apartment has a garage which makes it convenient but there are plenty of parking garages around the city center. In fact, next to Larvotto beach there is a parking garage if you are coming from other areas and have a car.
We're headed to St. Tropez tomorrow as we are staying in at a hotel for 2 nights to enjoy the beaches there.
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