Forget the Christmas Tree, Rub Here for Good Luck at the Hotel de Paris
While we're rather partial to Monte Carlo's Hotel Hermitage for its quiet elegance, and dig the water views and amenities over at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, all of the big names who visit Monaco stay at the Hotel de Paris.
That includes the gamblers. As the closest hotel to the Casino Monte-Carlo, and with rates that warrant a turn at the blackjack table, Hotel de Paris is a natural choice for anyone keen for a flutter. What we learned when popping into the Hotel De Paris for dinner recently, was that it is tradition upon entering the hotel's lobby to rub the knee of Louis XIV's horse.
You won't have any trouble remembering which knee of the statue to caress, either--as you can see from our snapshot, the many years of lucky rubs have left their mark on the ol' steed.
Hotel de Paris is glittering with holiday lights at the moment and the night we dropped by it was the venue for a grand, black-tie event for Monaco's society set. In other words, whatever your vision of Monte Carlo is from watching Bond films--it's just like that. Just add Christmas lights!
A view of the Casino from the Hotel de Paris
Oh, and don't be alarmed if you see folks entering the hotel and reaching under Louis XIV's horse either. As we were admiring the statue, a dapper gentleman strolled by and fondled not the horse's knee, but something, uh, between his hind legs instead.
The explanation, according to our local companion? "Italians!"