Casino de Monte-Carlo
Casino de Monte-Carlo

Almost a century and a half ago, Monaco saw the advent of a building whose popularity and fame spread far beyond the dwarf state. The complex called “Casino Monte Carlo” has a complex structure. It includes a gambling house, an opera house and the office of the national ballet company, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, one of Monaco’s business cards.

From the outset, the building was conceived to correct the financial situation of the royal family and, more generally, the economy of Monaco. The original casino building was designed by the Parisian architect Gobino de la Bretonri in 1863. But at that time the state was not able to attract enough tourists. Interaction with European countries did not work out due to bad roads, the conditions for accommodation were extremely poor. For these reasons, the inflow of casino customers was lower than expected. It closed down quickly. However, already in 1878-79, it was transformed, expanded and eventually it reached the current level of world fame.

Facade of the casino in Monte Carlo on the coast. Photo taken before 1878.
Facade of the casino in Monte Carlo on the coast. Photo taken before 1878.

Building Concept

Casino Monte Carlo is made in the clearly recognizable style of Boz-Arts (Fr. beaux-arts, literally “fine arts”). It appeared in Paris and was particularly popular in Europe until 1860. This eclectic style continues the Italian Renaissance and French Baroque traditions. The architect of the building was Charles Garnier (1825-1898), a French practitioner and theorist of Boz-arts. In the process of creating his architectural forms Garnier traveled a lot around the world, writing books. The crowning achievement of his career was the Paris Opera. After its construction, the architect was recognized as an outstanding master of his era. Casino Monte Carlo – one of his later and most prominent works in the work. It was Garnier’s project that added a concert hall with a view of the sea. Now it bears the architect’s name and is famous for its outstanding beauty of performance.

The style of the Boz-Ar casino is characterized by symmetry, rich decoration. The atrium of the building is covered with marble cladding. Each of the halls has original moulding, bas-reliefs, polychrome bets imitating gold. These are traditional, characteristic features of the style. It also allows free variation of elements, the desire for detail in the form of sculptures, frescoes, mosaic panels. The interior uses ivory, marble, heavy carpets. All this turns each of the halls into a museum space.

The eastern facade of the Monte Carlo Casino (1878-80), which housed the Trente et Quarante (Thirty and Forty), a French card game popular at casinos in France, Italy and Monaco in the 19th century; the predecessor of blackjack.
The eastern facade of the Monte Carlo Casino (1878-80), which housed the Trente et Quarante (Thirty and Forty), a French card game popular at casinos in France, Italy and Monaco in the 19th century; the predecessor of blackjack.
Master plan to renovate a casino in Monte Carlo (1879). The project of the Opera House is by Charles Garnier, the rest of the complex is by Jules Dutro.
Master plan to renovate a casino in Monte Carlo (1879). The project of the Opera House is by Charles Garnier, the rest of the complex is by Jules Dutro.
Facade of the casino in Monte Carlo after a partial reconstruction and expansion of the building in 1878-79. The photo was taken between 1890 and 1900.
Facade of the casino in Monte Carlo after a partial reconstruction and expansion of the building in 1878-79. The photo was taken between 1890 and 1900.

Principles of operation

The casino works in two formats: tourist and game. Being a large and famous gambling house, Monte Carlo Casino regularly holds card tournaments. The flow of visitors and tourists does not weaken year after year.

Casino Monte Carlo is a bright and noticeable architectural image, and therefore is actively used in cinematography. Spectators greet it in films with James Bond and at Hitchcock. The expanded and improved Garnier building with its paintings, sculptures and halls is rightly considered a world-class attraction. It has become a source of pride for Monegasque residents and an important tourist attraction.

Casino de Monte-Carlo
Casino de Monte-Carlo
Panorama with the casino building in Monte Carlo in the center.
Panorama with the casino building in Monte Carlo in the center.
The southern balcony of the casino in Monte Carlo overlooking the sea.
The southern balcony of the casino in Monte Carlo overlooking the sea.

This stunningly beautiful Monaco landmark is not just a single building. The Monte Carlo Casino is an ensemble. It opens up in a spacious foyer, the so-called Atrium. This is followed by the Garnier Hall, named after the famous architect. It also houses the Monte Carlo Opera, where Fyodor Chaliapin once performed and hosted a ballet performance by Sergei Diaghilev.

This is followed by the other halls – the white and pink living rooms, the Renaissance Hall, the Hall of Europe and the Palm Hall. There are numerous gaming tables, where the big money rule, and gamblers lose to the last penny or, conversely, become millionaires with poker, roulette or blackjack.

What do tourists need to know

It’s not easy to get to the legendary Monte Carlo landmark. There are many casino rules to follow for anyone who is not even going to play, but just wants to walk through the luxurious halls and plunge into a relaxing atmosphere of festivity and luxury.

So here are some tips for tourists:

  • You should have your passport with you;
  • Entrance to the casino is paid at 10 Euros for visiting the building and common gaming rooms, 20 Euros for visiting private gaming rooms;
  • Persons under twenty-one are not allowed into the casino;
  • There is a strict dress code at the entrance – no beachwear or flip-flops, but jeans are allowed. Bags and cameras are handed over to the storage room.

Fans of speed and cars will be interested to see the Formula 1 Track. It was recently renovated, but still remains a gem of the city.


Conclusion


The Monte Carlo Casino is the place that attracts millions of tourists from all over the world to Monaco. The combination of luxury and great wealth with exquisite taste is unlikely to leave anyone indifferent. Casino Monte Carlo is a concentration of chic, fun, eternal celebration and big money. This casino is the king of all such establishments, it shows the world what real gambling is.
From history…

The famous museum building was erected back in 1863. The author of the project was Charles Garnier – it was he who created the world famous Paris Opera. The decision to build the museum was made for a reason – the then reigning Prince Charles III Grimaldi had a whole plan to turn an unknown country into a realm of luxury and glitter. And the Monte Carlo casino was one of the most important items in this plan – it was bound to save Monaco from financial collapse. Well, now we see that the visionary ruler’s plan worked one hundred percent.