Overlooking the busy marina at Fontvieille, Monaco’s Naval Museum opened in the 1990s and displays more than 250 models of famous ships, including several donated from the private collections of HSH Prince Rainier III, who died in 2005.
With scale models showcasing the history of marine craft, displays start with ancient Roman galleys, Viking longboats and Spanish galleons, including some built by Prince Albert I in the late 19th century. Highlights include detailed models of the ill fated Titanic and French marine biologist Jacques Cousteau’s Calypso as well as battleships and the US Navy’s aircraft carrier Nimitz, one of the largest warships in the existence today. Tiny one-man submarines and vast contemporary cruise liners complete the lineup.
Model-making workshops can be arranged for children and the museum is on the panoramic Terrasses esplanade tucked under gently crumbling defence ramparts. Close by are the Museum of Stamps and Money (Musée des Timbres et des Monnaies) and the Grimaldi family’s private collection of vintage cars. When you’re done with model boats, head down to the waterfront to check out the floating palaces bobbing around in the marina.
Located at Terrasses de Fontvieille, the Monaco Naval Museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Admission costs €4 for adults and €2.50 for children under 15. Monaco’s regular bus service stops off at Fontvieille.