When you visit Prince’s Rainier III’s automotive collection located at the Les Terrasses de Fontvieille, you’ll experience a memorable collection spanning 100 years of automotive history cars set against an old world setting of the Monaco Palace. While not the largest assembly of autos by one collector, the Princes’s personal collection is a must see for the eclectic types of cars gathered in one location and its historic value.
Price Rainier III
At the end of the 1950s, the car enthusiast Prince Rainier III, also known as the man married to Grace Kelly, began collecting old cars. His collection gradually grew over the years as he acquired more and more models, and the garage at the Prince’s Palace soon emerged as too small to contain this collection of around a hundred stunning streamlined and sporty cars. They range from majestic body work to gleaming hoods and also regal radiator grills. In 1993, Prince Rainier III decided to open his precious collection to the public.
Every Auto Imaginable
Located on the Terraces of Fontvieille, this exhibition brings together nearly a hundred automobiles. You will find the 1903 de Dion Bouton alongside a 2013 Lotus F1. You might also enjoy cars from Rolls Royce, Lincoln, Facel Vega, Belage, Delahaye, Packard, Humber, Napier, Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, and Lexus. The collection also includes racing cars that have marked the Rally of Monte Carlo and the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco.
This exhibit is open 7 days a week, from 10 AM to 6 PM, only closed on December 25th. It is easily accessible by car, bus, or on foot. If you want to walk to the Prince’s car collection, it’s only 5 minutes from the railway station and 20 minutes from Casino Square. Tickets can be purchased online at the official museum site.
Some are precisely what you’d expect in a royal collection including three 1927 Rolls-Royces. Official cars on display include a big 1956 Chrysler Imperial with more bling than you might expect for an elegant European prince. It boasts two-tone paint with whitewall tires and flamboyant chrome work.
There’s no shortage of small and quirky, however. You will find the 1937 four-cylinder Rosengart drop-top coupe. One look at the little red and cream convertible and you’ll know why it’s on display. It’s a pity poor Lucien Rosengart’s car company never quite recovered from the impact of the German invasion of France during World War II.
Then there’s the tiny BMW Isetta with three wheels, two seats, only one cylinder and just one door (at the front). But that’s one door more than the Fiat 600 Jolly, which the royal family owned from 1959. Designed by Ghia, the four-cylinder Jolly is just a platform, with no doors, no roof and wicker chairs for seats. A rollover in this triumph of style over safety could have consigned the entire royal family to history.
Impressive Luxury and Variety
The prince’s taste did not stop with European and British designs. American beauties, such as the red and white 1928 Lincoln Double Phaeton and the bright red 1947 Chrysler Town and Country convertible, also loom large – very large. But they are outclassed by the deep maroon 1928 Hispano Suiza six-cylinder Type HGB.
Of course, you will find the always popular makes such as Lamborghini, Ferrari and Maserati. However, there are also humbler names such as “Morris”. It graces the bonnet of a black Morris Minor, once the runabout of Princess Charlotte.
Some of these cars have been in the royal family for generations. Some of them were gifts, including a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, a present from Monaco’s shopkeepers. The dark red 1956 Cisitalia convertible coupe was “a gift of the Monegasques to their prince” in 1997. There is also one of the 1927 Rolls Royces that was the gift of a certain Yves Piaget, the same Yves Piaget who heads the watch company.
If you are truly a history and auto aficionado and want to host a private event at the museum, the space is available for rental. You can seat 600 people for dinner at your gala or reception or 1300 if you prefer a cocktail party. Quotes are available upon request.
The Prince of Monaco car collection is a unique combination of exceptional luxury vehicles with rare ones. If you love cars, you may also enjoy reading about the Monaco Grand Prix.