Prickly experience in Monaco's best gardens.
For such a packed place, Monaco crams in a lot of gardens. Whatever the state-let's reputation, it displays a serious concern for nature and beauty. The Jardin Exotique is the most interesting of the lot.
Perched high up at the entrance to the principality, it unravels down the rock-face, covering the descent with an extraordinary collection of cacti and succulents. Some date from early last century and have grown as huge as houses. It’s like wandering through a sort of vertical New Mexico.
Except that the views are more ravishing – way across the sea to the Italian Riviera. Believe me, it’s worth the bus trip up, even if you can’t tell a cactus from a cowslip.
The entry price also gets you into a cave within the gardens full of stalactites and stalagmites (be warned: there are 300 steps) and an on-site museum of pre-history.