Monte-Carlo – spectators’ experiences

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Rubens Barrichello, Honda, Monte-Carlo, 2006Tell us about your experiences of visiting the Monte-Carlo street circuit.

You may wish to include:

  • When you visited the track
  • Where you watched from
  • How easy it was to get to
  • How much of the track you could see
  • What support races there were
  • What you liked and didn’t like
  • How much it cost and whether it was good value

Please use the reply box below to leave your comments.

Are you going to the 2011 Monaco Grand Prix? Chat with other F1 fans who are going to the race here: 2011 Monaco Grand Prix discussion

339 comments on Monte-Carlo – spectators’ experiences

  1. Stuart Adamson said on 1st June 2011, 12:37

    What an unbelievable experience that was! One of the best things ive ever done. I’ll be back next year and the year after that and the year after that. I cant get over the noise them machines make, I sat in the rocher which was good enough but it’s got to be the grand stand next year. Anyone recommend the good spots?

    Thanks Stu

    • Hi Stu

      K and T stands are popular but the ACM website lets you look at the viewing from each stand and shows where each is located on the map which is a good facility.

      We will be running some premium grandstand options and terraces/balconies without catering next year which will offer an alternative to grandstands where you have a view from a hight position, private toilets, covered from the elements etc. and you can bring your own refreshments. Those are some ideas that came out of working with and helping folks on this forum in the past year.

      All the best
      Ed

      • Cathie said on 31st August 2011, 2:43

        Would be interested in finding out about these premium grandstand options and terraces and balconies without catering, Ed.

  2. Alex Ings said on 2nd June 2011, 10:10

    What an amazing experience! Got back late last night after a week in Nice, including all four days at the race.

    Walked the track & pitlane friday afternoon – an excellent experience (we didn’t get that at Silverstone) All in all a top weekend. Would love to do it every year!

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed it Alex.

      Where did you watch from and what about your photography – did you get some good shots?
      Ed

  3. Mark J said on 15th June 2011, 16:14

    Hi,
    I’ve been following this blog with great interest and have found it very helpful, it’s brilliant to see all the feedback and support from like minded F1 fans. And what a fantastic race it was this year! My wife and I be coming to Monaco for the 2012 race to mark a special occasion, could you give me some idea when the tickets officially go on sale. I see the formula1monaco.com web site is already advertising the race date. Thanks.

    • Caroline said on 15th June 2011, 16:37

      If booking direct with the ACM it is usually early in December.

    • Hi Mark

      Dates are 24 – 27 May, 2012 and Caroline is correct, usually around December for the tickets direct from ACM.

      I mention above also that we will be running some premium grandstand options and terraces/balconies without catering next year which will offer an alternative to grandstands where you have a view from a high position, private toilets, covered from the elements etc. and you can bring your own refreshments.

      Those are some ideas that came out of working with and helping folks on this forum in the past year.

      If you have any more queries or want to pick our brains about anything Monaco related fire away.

      All the best
      Ed

      • Pete said on 21st June 2011, 20:52

        Hi Ed,
        Thanks for the information you put on the site, helpful to have impartial views when organizing a trip. We will be first timers in Monaco next year. Travelled to quite a few including Australia, China, Malaysia, Singapore and are booked to go to Abu Dhabi this year but not sure of the best Grandstand view in Monaco (at a budget), we are a party of 8 and are looking to spend around £300pp for Sunday tickets. We would appreciate any advice.
        All the best
        Pete

        • Hi Pete

          Happy to help. The grandstand prices for next year have not been released yet but if you base it on this year then for £300 you would get the following grandstands:

          C, L (low), N, O (low), P, T (low), X1 or X2 – no view of a giant TV screen from C, X1 or X2 so I personally would avoid those stands. out of the others not much difference in N, O (low) & P so I, again personally, would opt for T although given it would be in the lower tier seats you may not see into the pits.

          Hope that helps Pete, if there is anything else let me know. I’m travelling a lot for another week so opportunity to get onto the site may be limited but I’ll answer when I can.

          All the best
          Ed

          • Pete said on 30th June 2011, 16:59

            Hi Ed,

            Thanks for getting back to me, the information is really useful. I think we are going to bite the bullet and pay more for better Grandstand seats on race day, a big screen is a must. Any advice would be appreciated once again. We are prepared to take our chance for qualifying but want the best seat we can afford for the race – probably up to £450pp. One more question, are there 2 day ticket available, I can’t find any information on this.
            Thanks again for your help.
            Pete

          • Hi Pete

            Sorry for the tardy reply, travelling lots recently.

            Yes there are two and three day tickets available the ACM won’t release them until much later in the year.

            Cheers
            Ed

  4. Steph said on 17th June 2011, 21:35

    Had a fantastic time. Have finally got my photos online http://www.redstephf1.com

    will definitely be going again next year

    • Great pics Steph, thanks for sharing. Looks like to spent a while in the Paddock :)

      • Steph said on 17th June 2011, 22:15

        When I got down there on the Wednesday they hadn’t finished putting the fences up so we could get in. Just a normal fan me. no VIP passes or anything

        • Caroline said on 18th June 2011, 7:31

          We did the same thing, bit manic with trucks everywhere. The Red Bull guys were playing music when we went past which they had supplemented some of the words with the various members names of the McLaren team. We even walked down through where they were putting up the Paddock Club and Red Bull’s amazing hospitality area – just need to work out how you get a pass to go in there! Then went on the open top bus tour round Monaco which was great as it more or less goes around the circuit plus we had the added excitement of getting caught up in the incident with the tarmac truck catching fire and whilst stuck in traffic watching DC interviewing Paul Di Resta.

          Have to say this year’s race apart from feeling robbed of a thrilling final at the end is the best one we have seen in Monaco.

    • Mark J said on 20th June 2011, 9:02

      Photos look good, looks like you watched from different parts of the track. What would you recommend are the best seats for race day for a 1st time visitor next year?

  5. What did you think of your viewing location, the access, facilities etc?

  6. webber (@webber) said on 20th June 2011, 12:55

    Went to Monaco for the first time this year and what an awesome experience. If it wasn’t such a long way I would definately head back.
    I watched the race from the K1 stand just as the cars entered Tabac and would sit there again given the opportunity. The only thing I would change I think is to book the ticket a lot earlier to purchase a seat at the top of the K1 grand stand. This way you can watch the cars enter the first turn at Sainte Devote as well.
    The noise was like no other and something I will never forget. After the race I wondered around and found a nice restaurant near the casino called Tip Top, there I had quite a good meal for a reasonable price.
    So an Aussie did’nt win the main event but hey at least I got to see our local boy Daniel Reccairdo win!

  7. Daniel said on 21st June 2011, 21:00

    This was my first F1 race experience in Monte Carlo and it was amazing. I had grandstand tickets in the T2 section on Saturday for practice and qualifying, it was a good view of the last section before Tabac and I could also see the pits. On Saturday I could choose to go to the top of the stands, since it wasn’t fully occupied and I also saw tabac corner. The sound was incredible, I couldn’t resist without ear plugs, totally different than Montreal.
    On Sunday, I had a ticket at the Dolce Vita restaurant, which included a lunch. They had 2 level stands, where you were actually standing up for the race. It had an excellent view of the start-finish straight right before Ste-Devote, the first corner, plus I saw how the drivers were coming out of the pits, onto the straight. I was one of the lucky few that also had a view of a TV monitor that the restaurant put outside, so I could watch the rest of the race. On Sunday, up to 20 minutes before the race started, they were still selling tickets to one of their spots (they must have had 80 spots). I believe the price was around 200 Euros, that late before the start. I can recommend that place, it had a good view of the action before the first corner and, of course, the start.

    • Alex Ings said on 21st June 2011, 22:24

      It seems to have made my whole post the link to the photos for some reason. Feel free to have a look!

    • Cathie said on 2nd September 2011, 15:39

      How did you like the villa Victoria?
      Heading over next year!

  8. itsmitchelltime (@itsmitchelltime) said on 27th June 2011, 21:49

    I had an amazing time and it was so much better than the other circuits I’ve been too – Bahrain, Singapore and Silverston.

    A few points for those going:

    If going for the full weekend make sure to book through acm.mc as you get a Thursday ticket free.

    If you have a Sat or Sun ticket make sure to do the pit walk on Friday you never know who you’ll bump into, Patrick Head, Seb, Webber, Perez, Lewis and Jenson for me.

    Make sure you visit the paddock gates on the Wednesday it’s media day and drivers are in and out of motorhomes constantly. Also go back randomly through the weekend again you’ll never know who’s about.

    Walk the circuit.

    Sit on one of the barriers of casino square for an hour in the evening and watch the comings and goings when it comes to posh cars and people.

    Make sure to get your train tickets in advance, I got mine in nice on the Wednesday. You may queue to do it but at least it’s just the once.

    If you can afford to stay in Monaco do it, although Nice isn’t far it was a bit annoying getting the 20 minute train each day and did mean you had to leave Monaco by midnight. If staying in nice stay near the station for convienience in case youmwantbtompop back after the race for a shower before spending the evening out in Monaco.

    Get fanvision as the track commentary is multilingual and you miss big parts and sometimes you can’t even hear it. Petrov crashed right in front of me and I had to text home to find out whatbwas going on. It also aids your understanding of the race as I knew Seb was on a different strategy but didn’t know exactly what.

    Rascasse has free wifi, so tweet whilst you drink.

    Make sure to read the signs when you get off the train properly so you go out the right entrance or you’ll walk miles.

    As for where to sit:

    Thursday I sat in B -Casino. You have to do this once for the iconic views. I also managed to get free wifi from somewhere

    Friday I moved about a bit

    T – higher rows give a view of pits and last 4 or so rows are also covered

    Z1 – didn’t seem too bad, although I’m not sure how much they pack it out on a proper day

    A – get back row so you can turn round to also see the run out of the chicane and Tabac.

    For the race I sat in N. This was a good balance between cost and views. Get a back row seat so you can turn round for the big screen and run up the hill, also get higher numbered seats so you’re near the screen in front of grandstand O.

    Don’t dismiss getting a balcony or yacht spot for Thursday or Saturday you may be surprised how cheap they are. I found late availability online a few weeks before the race and also on the day there are touts selling spaces. For Saturday I treated myself to a balcony place on the start finish straight. I arranged this through Ed, and what a view

  9. steve g said on 7th July 2011, 12:17

    Hi

    Brief monaco details :

    Stayed at a Travelodge (about £40) on the Thurs night near the tunnel. ( 15 mins) Doing this gets you a 5 day cheap tunnel ticket. (we came back on tues)

    Got tunnel @ 7am next day friday. Cost £90 return, 5 days.

    On Friday travelled the length of france – about 850 miles, using 2 drivers. Suprisingly easy. However, motorway is £90- each way in tolls, and needs 1700 miles petrol. For us, this came to about £550 return, so biggest cost.

    Arrived at hotel about 9pm. Stayed in Villeneuve–Loubet. Hotel F1 (cheap one) you can find it on google. About £45 a night. Hotel is 10 mins walk from train station. (search villeneuve loubet F1 hotel)

    Take the train to Monaco on Saturday and sunday. It costs about 12 euro return. Takes you right into monaco, very nice train station, all well organised with subways to various bits of the circuit.

    If you have a stand seat expect to pay 400 euro or more for Sunday, and 150 for Saturday. Most stands have a tiny view of the circuit. Not good value. If you do, swimming pool area (large cresent shaped stand) looks best.

    We bought tickets for the ‘rocher’ standing section. You need to get there by 7.30am each morning, but 5-6 hours overlooking Monaco is a great way to spend the time. You get a view of the pool section, and in the distance, the run from the tunnel and back up the hill. Also a bit of pits area. Binoculars are pretty much essential. This section costs 70 euro for Sunday and 40 for Saturday. You can buy tickets directly from the automobile club de monaco. Website in english.

    On race days you wont be able to walk about much as the place is cramped.

    We came back on the Monday, driving the car in, and parking in one of the many well signposted underground car parks. We stayed in the casino one. You can spend some time walking around car park looking at all the exotic cars, before you come out in casino square to see yet more parked outside the grand hotel and cafe du paris. We walked the circuit, and then drove around it.

    You can eat cheap at the mcdonalds on the approach to tunnel entrance on the Monday. You wont get there on race days. Drinks on race days are about 3.5 euro and sandwiches about 7 euro. About what you get ripped off at concerts etc, but survivable. We took our own stuff.

    If you visit on the Monday, you can see the prince and grace’s tombs in the cathedral, walk in the gardens next to the ocenographic institute (there are several gardens). There is also one by the tunnel modelled as a japanese garden, a project of princess grace’s.

    Later on the Monday, we drove a third way back, staying at a F1 hotel at Dardilly in Lyon by the A6. Rest of journey was on Tues, getting the 5 oclock tunnel.

    We enjoyed the whole thing, atmosphere and the parks and exotic cars. The race is also a great experience.

  10. Shivy said on 25th July 2011, 13:36

    Wow, this is one fantastic post, been looking for one like this for a while! There are some great do’s and don’ts on here, mixed opinions on some cheap admin places, thing is I went Silverstone this year, I’m a motorsport photographer, no point in having a grandstand ticket anywhere i go, i just jump ship after 10 minutes.

    I talked to someone at Silverstone who went monaco last year and he told me about a restaurant/bar where he paid for the day and could see the cars from a slightly elevated position between casino square and the first hairpin.

    Ideally if I decide to go to Monaco 2012, I would want 3 different places to go on the different days, it’s not as easy as purpose made circuits to just walk around, so I need to get some homework done and choose 3 spots where I can get great pictures. If anyone has any ideas, please share, I am carrying a pretty huge lens on my camera, so somewhere where i can get some space on the edge of a balcony would be wonderful…also the longer i can see the cars, the better, preferably them coming towards me I’m not too bothered about catering and shelter, I’m fully prepared for rain and hunger, i got completely soaked at Silverstone this year…lol

    I see Ed has some great places, but if anyone else found some hidden gems please let me know on here, Ed, u seem to be the man who gets things on this forum, any chance of talking through email

    shivy@dashphotography.co.uk

    • Caroline said on 25th July 2011, 19:17

      The problem with Monaco is that you cannot wander around like Silverstone for example and the circuit is closed off so you cannot view from anywhere other than where your tickets are for, even on Thursday you still have to remain in the area your ticket is for unlike some of the other circuits where Thursday is a roving ticket.

      We paid for hospitality at Caravelles on the Thursday this year which is 22 floors up and overlooks quite a lot of the circuit – start line, St Devote, swimming pool etc. The F1 authorised photographers were up there and my husband who is a keen photographer got some fantastic shots from up there as well.

    • Hi Shivy

      Email sent, happy to help however I can.

      Best wishes
      Ed

  11. janinec4444 (@janinec4444) said on 28th July 2011, 4:02

    Hi Ed, you seem to be the resident expert on all things Monaco on this site..We found this site invaluable when we went to Spa last year but sadly we didnt use it for Monza and didnt have the best experience.

    Learnt our lesson and sticking to getting adviced before booking or deciding anything now.

    We are hoping to attend Monaco F1 in 2012. We’re looking for tix for Sat & Sun and since we’re coming from Australia it’s prob the only time we’ll get to do Monaco so we want to do it as best as we can on our budget.

    Can you advise on the best grandstands – I dont think our budget will extend to private yachts etc but we really want the best we can afford.

    We also need to book accom – we were hoping for Monaco (altho that of course depended on prices) but even this far out I cant see any availability on the websites.

    If we cant do Monaco accom – do you suggest Nice? Where would you suggest and how do we get to the track etc – is it tricky to catch the train if you dont speak the language – we had a terrible time with the trains etc in Monza. If we train it, what time would we need to leave in the morning to be able to spend a little time at the track before quali & the race?

    Do you know if it’s possible to hire scooters for the few days and if so, are the roads pretty easy to get around on? Otherwise we might have to hire a car and get parking – how long do you think it would take to get to the track, what time should we leave hotel?

    • Hi Janine

      Best grandstand is, to an extent, a matter of personal preference but in general K & T grandstands are most popular. K offers a good view of the Tabac corner section and from T (high) you can see into the pits. Unless someone has a specific requirement to be at a different location these are the two I always recommend to our guests.

      Good hotels in Monaco are expensive for the GP…as a ballpark you are looking at around 5000 – 6000 euros and upwards for a basic room (i.e. typically the smallest rooms, no sea view, no track view) in a decent hotel for 4 nights.

      There are some hotels near Monaco, in Beausoliel for example, which are what they are…i.e. 2* but within walking distance to Casino Square. We have a couple of rooms left in a 2* in Beusoliel we use which is about a 10 minute walk to (downhill) Casino Square and about a 15/20 minute walk back (uphill)…slightly longer if you’ve enjoyed a little hospitality :). This is good cheap option for being within walking distance of Monaco and having somewhere to leave your bags and to sleep, not for anything else.

      Nice is a great option and if I was choosing between a good 3* in Nice and the 2* in Beau I personally would opt for the 3*. We use a great little family owned 3* hotel in Nice which is a 10 minute walk from the train station.

      If you’re going by train get your tickets beforehand, don’t wait until the morning. Language isn’t an issue generally as Alex mentions and the trains are very efficient.

      With regards what time to leave, by way of example we offer a premium grandstand service for guests who don’t want to arrange everything themselves and this includes grandstand tickets, fanvision unit (kangaroo tv) and extras for comfort but it also includes rail transfers and members of our team as guides – so we leave at times to suit guests different requirements. Some want to be in Monaco first thing to see the support races in which case we leave at around 0730/0745. Others want to relax, have a late breakfast and go later just for the F1 so we leave at times to suit all options.

      If you leave Nice between 0730 and 0830 you would have plenty of time to enjoy the atmosphere before any F1 action on the Sunday (race itself starts at 1400 with driver’s parade at 1230).

      I’ve said this in many of my posts and I’ve talked about some of the services we provide in this post but unless a company, including mine, is adding value for you with grandstand tickets then buy them direct from the ACM. This is important to me because I see other companies offering very little for lots of money.

      We offer our premium grandstand service for guests who don’t want to arrange everything themselves…our aim is to remove the worry or stress of ‘it’ whatever ‘it’ might be for the individual guest – going to the station to buy rail tickets / dealing with a language barrier / organising, queuing for and collecting kangaroo tv / providing your stand tickets / providing extras for comfort / providing experienced team members as guides and at multi lingual meeting or information points on the ground to help you…so that guests arrive in Nice and everything is ready and waiting for them. And they know they have help in a bright orange shirt wherever they see one (yes if you have seen the easyjet colour orange polo shirts in the streets of Monaco during the GP that’s us.

      Yes you can rent scooters, this year it cost us around 470 euros for a decent scooter for a week during the GP. I don’t want to post the contact details for the chap we rent from here without his permission but if you email me I’ll send you them.

      Are the roads easy? Depends what you’re used to in Australia and if you ride there/have ridden abroad before…I ride a scooter and motorbike and I’m used to the UK as well as Monaco/Nice. In Monaco/Nice scooters and motorbikes are commonplace, car drivers are used to them cutting in and out of the traffic and so on…if you’re not used to it or the drivers in that city/country are not it can catch you off guard. In the UK for example scooters are not as prevalent and car drivers don’t generally expect or look out for a scooter or biker to cut through the traffic or down the side of their car etc. so I ride differently in the UK to avoid getting squished…long way of saying it depends what you’re used to but riding in Monaco/Nice is not without its hair raising moments.

      Car hire will be no problem and parking should be ok, i stress ‘should’, some people find parking no problem, some have a nightmare. If you can book it in advance at a location you’re happy with. Happy to help with this if that is the route you go down, just post here or email me and I can recommend locations/facilities.

      If you drive from Nice it should (again ‘should’) take around 25 – 45 mins.

      I hope that massive missive helps Janine :), if you need anything else just let me know here or by email.

      Best wishes
      Ed

  12. Alex Ings said on 28th July 2011, 13:17

    Hello Janine – I’m not sure I can answer all your questions, but I can certainly help with a bit. We stayed in Nice this year, and got the train in for the race. Don’t worry about the language – everyone in nice speaks English!

    The train takes about 20-25 mins and is a very picturesque route along the coast. We paid about 6Euros per person for a return and bought all the tickets on the wednesday afternoon.

    We got the train about 8.30 on the sunday morning I think, and there was already a queue out of the station. However, the trains are huge (double deckers) and the station very well organised, so within about 15 mins we were on a train and on our way.

    It’s less busy on the saturday, and the thursday and friday there were no queues at all.

    Hope that helps!

  13. claudia said on 29th July 2011, 17:14

    Help! I’m so confused…trying to surprise my husband for 2012 monaco. Wish I’d listened to his f1 rants more closely :-) For Grandstand T (I believe high is better), what’s the difference between T sections 1-3? Looks like 3 would be best, but want a balance of track view and pits. For Grandstand K – looks like both high and low, section 5 is most popular? If last row, is there a view of the track behind? Which section K1-8 has best view of the screen? Which grandstand/section has a view of the podium? Thinking of B for race day, but would also love to have a view of the podium.

    • Caroline said on 29th July 2011, 17:40

      Not sure what 1-3 is but we sat on T by the swimming pool exit – could see very little of the track as it is so short in that section, the best part was on the Thursday seeing all the pitlane action but wouldn’t want to sit there for the race.

      Grandstand K you need high, the circuit literally comes under the grandstand so if you sit too low down you cannot actually see the cars very well. K1 is in my opinion the best, but is normally the first to get booked up. The top row on all the grandstands gets booked up first because especially in K grandstands you can see over to the circuit from the pitlane and St Devote but only on that row. The screen is massive on the harbour so doesn’t really matter where you sit as you can see it. The podium is actually behind the grandstands I believe so not sure you can see the podium presentation.

      • Cathie said on 31st August 2011, 3:00

        Hi Claudia!
        I had to smile when I read your post…you sound like me! Wonder how you are coming along with your plans and if you bought your tickets yet? What are you doing for accommodation?
        Cheers,
        Cathie

    • Hi Claudia

      T sections 1 – 3 are just three different sections of the same grandstand (like K1 through K8) and they all offer a similar view of the track opposite the pits although 3 is at the start of the pits nearer La Rascasse. You will see more garage activity from 1 & 2.

      I agree with Caroline that K1 is the best of the K grandstands, then K2, K3 and so on but K1 books early and the tops row books out first as Caroline mentions.

      You might be able to see through the trees to the podium from the top row of K8a but I’ve never tried and think those rows are all booked now. You can see the podium from a start/finish straight terrace but they are more expensive than grandstands.

      I personally wouldn’t watch from B as I find the action at Casino Square a little dull (like the hairpin bend…zzzzzzz) by comparison to other locations but you may find others on here that like B and your husband may have expressed an interest in that section of the track but, if it were me, I would go for K over B.

      O is OK but you are quite far from the track, again I prefer K or T over O.

      I hope that helps along with the info from Caroline. If I can help further please don’t hesitate to post her or email.

      All the best
      Ed

      • claudia said on 1st August 2011, 17:06

        Thank you so much for the responses. I have one more question – for now :-) does anyone know which section T1 or T2 is better for viewing the Red Bull garage? And which garages are to the left and right of Red Bull? Thank you!!!

        • Sorry Claudia, I don’t know the answer to that one.

          I don’t know if the team positions in the pit are set, it’s not something I’ve ever noticed or paid attention to really.

          Ed

        • Steph said on 1st August 2011, 20:30

          Hi Claudia,

          Assuming Red Bull win the championship this year (which is highly lightly) you want to sit in T2 on the left hand side of the stand facing out. As to what garage will be next to them – well it depends who’s gonna be 2nd. My money is on Mclaren. T2 is also better for seeing the drivers walk over from the paddock.

    • Cathie said on 2nd September 2011, 15:46

      Hi Claudia!
      I had to smile when I read your post…you sound like me! Wonder how you are coming along with your plans and if you bought your tickets yet? What are you doing for accommodation?
      Cheers,
      Cathie

  14. claudia said on 29th July 2011, 23:20

    Thanks Caroline . That is very helpful. Sounds like T is best for Thursday, thinking B for Sat., any idea on best seats in B? Having trouble deciding btwn K and O for race day…any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    • Caroline said on 30th July 2011, 7:48

      Hi Claudia

      To be honest I am not sure where B and O are. The first year we went I bought K for race day (that was all I could afford to pay for) and we were so impressed with the view plus the boats etc are amazing so you feel like you are in the thick of it. As a result of that we have always stuck with K.