Exotic Garden (Jardin Exotique)
In the rocky terrain of Monaco's hills lies the Exotic Garden (Jardin Exotique), with a variety of plants that thrive in dry, hot conditions. The vast collection of flora grown here are known as succulents, a plant group which includes cacti and yucca trees. Many of the specimens here have been gathered from other similar terrains around the world, such as the deserts of the U.S. and Mexico. Arrive at any time of year to witness different plants flowering in bright colors.
Enter through the main gate and encounter the enormous “Mother-in-Law's cushion” (Echinocactus grusonii), a bulbous, thorny plant that is over 150 years old. Next to the entrance is a raised viewing point. From here, look out over the rest of the park and admire views of Monaco down below.
Follow the paths that wind through the park. Along the way you'll find tall, narrow cacti along Cereus Alley and more examples of the round grusonii as seen at the entrance. Rest at the bottom of the park in a quiet, shaded spot near the pond. Browse the collection at the greenhouse shop, which sells small examples of the flora displayed in the garden.
Make a trip underground to visit the Observatory Cave. Stalagmites and stalactites line the floors and ceilings of this subterranean space, where the temperature drops to a much cooler level. Smell the fragrances of the Mediterranean on the walk back up the hill, which leads past local plants.
Head to the neighboring Prehistoric Anthropology Museum, which you can access with your ticket to the garden. Learn about the prehistoric animals that once roamed this region and trace the history of humanity in the local area through fossils and archeological artifacts.
Find the Exotic Garden near the western border with France, about a 20-minute walk from the station. Park on the adjoining boulevard. Throughout the summer, the garden is used as an open-air venue for concerts and art exhibitions.