Fodor's Expert Review Jardin Exotique de Monaco
Six hundred varieties of cacti and succulents cling to a sheer rock face at Monaco's magnificent Tropical Garden, a brisk half-hour walk west from the palace. The garden traces its roots to days when Monaco's near-tropical climate nurtured unheard-of exotica, amazing visitors from the northlands as much as any zoo. The plants are of less interest today, especially to Americans familiar with southwestern flora. The views over the Rock and coastline, however, are spectacular. Also on the grounds, or actually under them, are the Grottes de l'Observatoire—spectacular grottoes and caves adrip with stalagmites and spotlit with fairy lights. The Musée d'Anthropologie showcases two rooms: "Albert I" covers general prehistory, while "Ranier III" unearths regional Paleolithic discoveries. Steps away from the garden, stop for a cocktail or meal at La Chaumière and take in one of the only public overviews of the palace.