Saturday night. 7pm. They’ve opened the track after the afternoon’s qualifying and you’ve walked right round the circuit, astonished at the way the narrow track snakes between the shops and the houses in Monte Carlo. The track is alive with pop-up bars and impromptu cocktail parties, as the whole world of Formula 1 celebrates this most magical of events. Amazingly, it’s all cleared up and the track restored in the morning for the main event. Finally arriving in Casino Square, the Ferraris and other exotica [well, mostly just Ferraris] are parked outside the Casino. A local arrives in a beautiful Isetta bubble car to the applause of the crowd, stepping out and leaving a bewildered porter to try and work out how to park it.
We head off to the table we’d booked months ago at the Café de Paris, finding it packed and vibrant. But all is well, the table is on the terrace, just off Casino Square. It’s really called Brasserie 1900 and is typical of French brasseries; waiters in black and white, long aprons and the inevitable “French waiter” demeanour. Helpful, friendly but slightly aloof – they’ve seen everyone here and you’re very welcome, but not special.
Panoramic, glowing with light, the Parisian terrace of the Café de Paris plunges you into the authentic atmosphere of a Parisian bistro. Discreet and confidential, the Parisian terrace offers the privilege of being “outside” at all times of year.
Not to be missed, and not too frighteningly expensive. But you should see the prices for the Sunday night, after the Grand Prix…ouch!
Brasserie Café de Paris