Luck, Be a Lady Tonight
Joseph Jagger did it in 1873 while playing high-stakes roulette, taking advantage of an almost-imperceptible glitch in the roulette wheel. Charles Wells did it several times in 1891 and 1892. And who knows, with lady luck at your side, you too may break the bank at the Monte Carlo Casino. Steeped in the glamour of old-world Europe and the mystique of James Bond, the casino is one of the most popular destinations in this tiny principality on the French Riviera, known for years as a playground for the world’s super-wealthy, super-tanned, and super-ostentatious.
Surrounded on three sides by France and on the fourth by the Mediterranean, Monaco can be reached by way of several rail, bus, or highway connections to other coastal cities. (The best way to arrive, of course, is on your private yacht.) There are several casinos in Monte Carlo, but the most famous and the only must-see is the opulent 1863 Beaux Arts palace designed by Charles Garnier, who also created the Paris Opera. Though the Monte Carlo Casino once enforced a strict dress code, that has relaxed considerably in recent years, and jackets are now “recommended” for gentlemen after 8:00pm in some of the gaming rooms, but not all.
Regardless of how you dress, carry a good wallet—many of the gambling salons here, such as the Salons Prives and the Supers Prive, have high limits. Others, like the Salle Blanche and the Atrium, are appropriate for folks who are happier playing a few casual hands at slot machines. And remember to bring your passport or ID card, because the casino is strictly off-limits to citizens of Monaco. Perhaps that’s because it’s a little like the Fort Knox of Monaco: The casino is the principality’s main source of income.
Direction du Tourisme et des Congrés ( 377/92-16-61-66; www.monaco-tourisme.com).
Tour: Casino de Monte-Carlo ( 377/98-06-21-21; email@example.com).
When to Go: Year-round.
Nice, France (24km/15 miles).
$$$ Hotel Port Palace, 7 av. John F. Kennedy ( 377/97-97-90-00; www.portpalace.com). $$ Hotel Balmoral, 12 av. de la Costa ( 377/93-50-62-37; www.hotel-balmoral.mc).