Grotte de l'Observatoire

Useful Information

Location: Jardin Exotique, Monaco
Open: 15-MAY to 15-SEP daily 9-19.
16-SEP to 14-MAY daily 9-18 (or sundown).
Fee: Adults EUR 6.90, Children (6-18) EUR 3.60, Students (-30) EUR 3.60, Seniors (65+) EUR 5.30.
Groups: Adults EUR 5.30, Children (6-18) EUR 2.80. [2007]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension: A=100 m. asl., T=18.5 °C.
Guided tours: VR=58 m, St=300.
Address: Grotte de l'Observatoire, Bd du Jardin exotique, 98002 Monaco, Tel: +377-93152980, Fax: +377-93152981. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1902 Anthropology museum founded by Prince Albert I.
1950 opened to the public.
1955 Anthropology museum established in the Exotic Garden.


The Grotte de l'Observatoire (Cave of the Observatory) was named after a small astronomical observatory which was once located here. The entrance to the cave islocated at an elevation of about 100 m asl, with a nice view over the Mediterranean Sea. It is located in the Jardin Exotique Monaco (Exotic Garden Monaco) and the cave tour is included in the entrance fee to the garden. The garden is specialized on succulents, cacti, which grow on the hot and dry limestone cliff above Monaco.

The cave is not really exceptional, but it is decorated with some nice speleothems. Beneath stalactites and stalagmites there are curtains, columns, and helictites. Some waterfilled pools show calcite cristals and rimstone dams. The most exceptional fact is the high temperature of the cave, around 18° Celcius. The guides tell this was the highest temperature in any show cave in Europe, and we guess they are right. The high temperature is obviously a result of the extraordinary location of the cave. It is inside a steep cliff facing southwards.

The cave entrance was open for thousands of years, and the sunny place was a fine location for our ancestors, who used it as a shelter. Excavations revealed human remains up to 200,000 years old, the cave sediments reveal the climate of this area during the last 250,000 years. Many of the findings are on exhibit in the nearby Musee d'Anthropologie Prehistorique (Prehistoric Anthropology Museum). This museum was founded by Prince Albert I. in 1902, and 1955 it was relocated to this place. The musem has two hall, Albert I Hall is dedicated to general prehistory. The exhibit include remains of the Australopithecus , the Homo erectus and Homo sapiens. Tools from the Palaeolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age are on display. The second hall is called Rainier III Hall and is dedicated to regional prehistory. The center of the exhibition are the findings of excavations at the Red Rocks (Grimaldi, Italian Liguria), which were made from 1895 to 1922. They were started on the initiative of Prince Albert I.