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Compass T r av el MARVELOUS MONACO The gilded and lavish coastal principality of Monaco reigns most supreme as the jetsetting playground to the world — with or without The Royals, it takes the crown. Here are a trio of gems not to miss on your next visit. TEXT BY FRANCESCA CRUZ   PHOTOS BY THE SOCIÉTÉ DES BAINS DE MER Ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, the tiny principality the size of Central Park known as Monaco is synonymous with luxury, history and la haute société. It’s a favorite destination for the bon vivant, thanks in part to a 0% income tax. Celebrities and those with an appetite for refinement and the royal treatment flock here year-round. Monte Carlo is the prominent district within the minikin city- state, and it’s here where you’ll find the Hôtel Hermitage. Sitting lavishly on the Mediterranean coast with a cupola designed by Gustave Eiffel, this 5-star staple of the Belle Époque is one of the leading hotels of the world. Another jewel to experience is the Oceanographic Museum. The first of its kind, it’s housed in a Baroque palace towering a cliff, and home to the Mediterranean Science Commission. Dedicated to preserving our oceans, this museum chronicles the history of marine science. Just a 9-minute car ride north, is the Monte Carlo Beach Club. This is the most exclusive beach club you’ll ever set foot in. Here, sheltered by a pine forest, and tucked on the edge of a rock jetty, is La Vigie Lounge & Restaurant. With the sea as the welcome committee, a Dom Pérignon P2 Lounge at your caprice, and Executive Chef Paolo Sari creating gastronomical magic, the pampering is just starting. A coveted dish on the menu is the Warm Shellfish Salad, accompanied by Noisette Potatoes & Spicy Tomato Coulis. Another star-studded option is the Mullet Bottarga Spaghetti w/ Sea Urchin. As you savor your course of choice and welcome dusk, you’ll realize that Monaco is magic. 40