Roses are red, violets are blue, Monaco v Montpellier, is the Valentine's Day treat for you… ligue1.com's David Crossan gives the insight you need to make February 14 unforgettable.
Sunshine, the chance to swim in the Mediterranean in mid-February, a sundowner overlooking the water, and to round off the day high quality Ligue 1 Conforama football in relaxed surroundings as Monaco take on Montpellier. Honestly, what more could you possibly want?
Arriving at Nice airport, either take the 110 bus to Monaco or the tramway to Nice Saint-Augustin train station and then make sure you are sat Mediterranean side for the spectacular 30 minute train journey to Monaco's equally amazing train station. Cut into the rock the station is connected to other parts of the principality by an elaborate network of public lifts.
WHERE TO STAY
To get the most out of your sunshine break I suggest staying at the Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco situated opposite Stade Louis II just back over the French border in Cap d'Ail. Large and comfortable sea facing rooms come with a balcony that overlooks the Port de Cap d'Ail and the Mediterranean. The balcony is where you should have your sundowner tipple before heading out for the 20:45 kick-off.
Get to the hotel early to make the most of the nearby Plage Marquet. With sunshine and temperatures forecast to rise to 16 degrees Celsius during Valentine's Day it is worth packing the swimming gear. Trust me, the water is warm enough and I tried it out when visiting at the start of January. It's a rare treat to get a swim in so early in the year.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
A fixture of my trips to Monaco matches is lunch at Docks Café near the hotel. Everything is freshly prepared with a menu that changes on a daily basis and the fish dishes are remarkable. Popular with locals the restaurant can get very busy so it is worth booking in advance.
It's wrong to think that a trip to Monaco is just for the high rollers. There are good places to go where prices are comparable to those in Paris. I'm partial to a drink at Gerhard's Café, a Monaco institution located at Port de Fontvielle, while Monte Carlo Bar is a must for the Monaco football memorabilia. Classic shirts adorn the walls and before the Monaco v Juventus Champions League semi-final in 2017 the collection led to a group of football journalists trying to recall the Monaco starting eleven from the 2004 Champions League final. Putting our heads together we got 10. See if you can do better…
If you are keen on casinos or overpaying for vintage wines in exclusive surroundings then I'm afraid I'm not the man to ask!
Tickets are available from billeterie.asmonaco.com starting from 25 euros, a bargain when you consider you'll be able to watch stars such as Wissam Ben Yedder, Cesc Fabregas, Islam Slimani, and my personal favourite Vitorino Hilton.
With the stadium located just metres from my suggested hotel you'll have no worries about getting back to base after the game. If you still have energy left then why not trace the Monaco street Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit a little and find somewhere for a nightcap.
WHAT ELSE TO SEE
After a leisurely start to Saturday February 15, a walk around the compact principality is a must. Among the attractions are the Palais du Prince, Monte Carlo Casino, the Musée Oceanographique and the Jardin Exotique.
CONCLUSION AND DISCLAIMER
You can thank me later for curating a unique Valentine's Day experience!
The recommendations contained in this article are mine and personal and not endorsements from ligue1.com.