Overlooking the glittering, yacht-filled waters of the French Riviera, Monaco may be the world’s second smallest country (behind the Vatican), but it abounds with romance, sophisticated elegance and high-stakes excitement ranging from billionaire bets at Monte-Carlo Casino to the annual Grand Prix Formula One Race frequented by jetsetters.

Highlights for honeymooners include strolling down the manicured streets lined with boutiques, restaurants and cafés, where champagne flows from noon to night and the specialty du jour is fresh seafood from the nearby Mediterranean—be sure to try some bouillabaisse.

En route, don’t miss the magnificent 700-year-old Grimaldi Palace, where Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, who married The Prince of Monaco in 1956, once lived and the couple’s sovereign son, Prince Albert II, now makes his home. Monaco Cathedral, where the royal couple wed, offers gorgeous Roman-Byzantine architecture, while the Oceanographic Museum, once headed by Jacques Cousteau, showcases rare fish and sea creatures in the aquarium’s 90 pools.

At night, glitz reigns, especially at Monte-Carlo Casino, also home to the majestic Monte- Carlo Opera, and bars and nightclubs lining the harbor buzz with an international crowd sipping, supping and dancing the night away.

So where should you stay during your stay? For sheer luxury consider Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo, a Belle Époque boîte steps away from the Casino with 182 opulent rooms, a chic bar and three eateries, including a 3-Star Michelin Alain Ducasse restaurant. It also has direct access to the legendary spa, Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo, known for its marine treatments. Also sharing the spa is Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo housing 280 lavish rooms, a restaurant, two bars and a private beach. For modern glamour, Hôtel Métropole Monte-Carlo offers 141 stylish rooms, along with a Karl Lagerfeld designed spa and restaurant.

Dazzling, delectable and primed to fill your every desire, Monaco is a petit piece of paradise on earth.

> Written by Victoria Abbott Riccardi

Location: Monte Carlo