Dotted around the Principality are more than 100 Monaco outdoor sculptures which are free for all to enjoy on a unique trail from Fontvieille to Larvotto Plage.
For a tiny sovereign state that is roughly the same size as New York’s Central Park, Monaco offers an extraordinary array of artistic attractions. Among them is a unique trail of more than 100 Monaco outdoor sculptures, which are dotted around the Principality.
The arts have always played an important role in Monaco, with world-class architecture, rousing orchestral music and elaborate ballets delighting European nobility since they discovered this mesmerising country nestled on the French Riviera in the 19th century.
Fast forward two hundred years, and the role of the arts has never been stronger with its Sovereign Prince Albert II actively engaged in bringing internationally famous artists to the Principality.
Much of the art is exhibited in the Principality’s plethora of excellent art museums, but a large part is displayed in the open air, across Monaco’s public gardens and walkways in a myriad of outdoor sculptures that delight those who come across them.
It is not, however, always easy to know where to find the many Monaco outdoor sculptures dotted around, so to help you discover the hidden treasures, we have put together a 10-point trail of our favourites:
1. Many of the outdoor sculptures are found in Fontvieille, Monaco’s newest area, created on land reclaimed from the sea. Here, in the aptly named ‘Chemin des Sculptures’ in the park opposite the Hotel Colombus, you can find many of the Monaco outdoor sculptures including the ‘Woman with the Cigarette’, a wonderfully voluptuous lady lounging with a cigarette in her hand, created by Colombian artist Fernando Botero.
2. Just a little further into the park is the striking sculpture of ‘The Sitting Couple’ by English artist Lynn Russell Chadwick, who was awarded an O.B.E (the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1962. Chadwick also received the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1985.
3. Not far from the park is the famous Stade Louis II, home to AS Monaco football team, in front of which you will find the inspirational ‘Sport’ sculpture by Dutch artist Kees Verkade. Verkade took up Monaco residency in 1979.
4. In 2013 Verkade created a statue of Rainier II, now located near the Prince’s Palace in Monaco-Ville – our fourth sculpture to visit on the whistle stop tour of Monaco outdoor sculptures.
5. Back in Fontvieille near the busy commercial centre is one of our particular favourites – a massive ‘Knot’ crafted out of bronze by Vietnamese sculptor Kim Hamisky which makes the perfect bench for weary shoppers.
6. Children will love our next sculpture located in the Jardin Exotique called the ‘L’Avocat’ (The Lawyer), with a human body and fox head by Iranian-German artist Pari Ravan who now lives on the French Riviera.
7. Also in the Jardin Exotique is another sculpture for children called ‘Envers et contre tout’, which in English means ‘against all odds’. The sculpture by Louis Charlie is of a child’s rocking horse.
8. In the Jardins de Saint Martin in Monaco-Ville there are many wonderful sculptures to be admired, but for us, the most captivating is the dramatic figure of H.S.H Prince Albert I of Monaco at the helm of a ship. Created in 1951 by Francois Cogne, it depicts Prince Albert I as he wrestles with the wild open seas in a storm.
9. At the other end of Monaco, towards Italy, is Larvotto Plage, an area which is home to a number of sculptures including one of Princess Grace, arguably Monaco’s most iconic personality. Created by Flemish artists Stefan Depuydt and Livia Canestraro, the beautiful piece of art was offered to the Principality as a gift from the Belgian community of Monaco.
10. Finally, all art lovers should take time to discover the sculpture titled ‘Jean Baptiste, Monegasque’ also situated in Larvotto by the Grimaldi Forum. This figurine of a good-natured man with bright eyes and wide smile was created by Rachid Khimoune, and is said to represent Monaco residents.