Prevue asked Cindy Hoddeson, Visit Monaco’s director of meeting & incentive sales, her thoughts on Monaco’s culture trends for 2011.
Q: Which museums or other cultural venues are popular for visiting groups?
A: Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum, founded by HSH Prince Albert I is a temple dedicated to marine science and oceanography.
The Exhibition of HSH the Prince of Monaco’s Collection of Vintage Cars houses 100 prestigious classic and vintage cars including wedding gifts to Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly.
The Villa Sauber has reopened as part of Monaco’s National Museum and houses thousands of costumes from Monaco’s Opera Garnier. Upon request, visits and evening functions can be organized in these museums.
Q: Are there certain festivals during the year that can build in ROI for a group program?
A: The Principality of Monaco offers thrilling and enriching experiences with world-class cultural and sporting events. Festivals included in the annual calendar, which will make any visiting group’s program truly memorable include: The Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival, Monte-Carlo International Fireworks Festival, International Circus Festival and the Monte-Carlo Spring Arts Festival. The latter event features performances by the world-renowned Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra and Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo.
Q: What are some examples of local cuisine that tie into local culture?
A: Monaco boasts a cuisine all of its own: a flavorful fusion of southern French (especially Provençal and Nicoise), Italian and other Mediterranean influences. The Mediterranean Sea also has a very strong influence on Monaco’s palate, offering a variety of fish not often found in North American restaurants. One Monegasque treat not to be missed is Barbaguians—a crisp, baked or fried puff-pastry filled with Swiss chard, ricotta, leeks, garlic and herbs.
Q: Please describe some popular themed special events that tie into local culture.
A: The Principality has been featured in countless movies including To Catch a Thief starring Grace Kelly (who became Monaco’s Princess Grace), GoldenEye and Grand Prix, to name a few, which sets the perfect ground for Hollywood-themed events in astonishing venues such as the Casino, the Opera house or the Prince’s Classic Car Collection Museum.
Q: Are there certain cultural and/or creative teambuilding experiences popular with visiting groups?
A: Monaco averages 300 sunny days per year which enables groups to experience countless teambuilding activities. Participants compete in sailing regattas off Monaco’s majestic coastline, vie for top chef awards, race around the Principality in vintage or electric cars, or engage in local games such as pétanque followed by a glass of Pastis.