It is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world

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Joel Fulleda

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They called it one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. And, if not for botanical quantity and quality, it deserves this title if only for the panorama enjoyed there. It is the Jardin exotique or Exotic Garden of the Principality of Monaco and was named in the latest edition of the Ulysse guide of the "150 most beautiful gardens in the world".

Il Exotic Garden è an oasis of exuberant nature, unusual and surreal on the heights of the Principality and dominates the skyscrapers of the small state from a deep cliff.

The Exotic Garden of Monaco

With an area of ​​about 15 thousand square meters, the Exotic Garden is home to a thousand cacti and other succulent species with hypertrophic stems or leaves that store water reserves.

The Rock of Monaco and the Prince's Palace seen from the Exotic Garden

Native to the main semi-arid areas of the globe, these plant species flourish very much. The main periods of flowering they are winter (January-February) for South African plants, such as the different types of Aloe and Crassula, and spring and summer for American cacti.

The rare plants of the garden

The gigantic specimens that line the paths of the Jardin testify to the antiquity of the collection, which served as the basis for the creation of the garden itself, wanted by the Principe Alberto I, great-grandfather of Alberto, Caroline and Stéphanie. Open to the public in February 1933, supplemented by a botanical center and a specialized nursery since the mid-60s, this garden is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Principality.

Each area of ​​the garden has been selected on the basis of its “éblouissante” (dazzling) beauty, the guide explains, of its botanical, cultural or artistic interest, but also of the tourist experience it will allow to live and its accessibility.

An oasis of peace in the Principality

Visiting the Jardin exotique means strolling peacefully among tropical flowers, rare plants, ponds and fountains and even works of art. It is one of the quietest places in Monte Carlo where the Monegasques themselves love to take refuge during the most glamorous but also the most crowded events such as the Formula One Grand Prix of Monte Carlo or the international tennis tournament.

The cave

At the foot of the cliff of the Exotic Garden (known as the "observatory" due to the ancient presence of a small astronomical observatory), at 100 meters above sea level, there is an underground cavity, the cave, organized to welcome visitors. The limestone rock, dug by water charged with carbonic gas, is scattered with caverns adorned with concretions with suggestive names: stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, columns, spaghetti.

The cavity practically pushes itself up to sea level and is regularly traveled by local speleologists. The presence of prehistoric men in the surroundings of this cave is attested by the remains of the bones of the animals they ate. These vestiges also testify to the climatic variations that have occurred for 250.000 years now.

A starting point, in short, for those who want to visit the Principality of Monaco, so close to Italy that it deserves a weekend even out of season. Unfortunately, due to some safety works, the Exotic Garden is currently still closed and should reopen the gates in 2022.

The Exotic Garden of Montecarlo

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