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Monaco celebrates its Fête National

Fete National 2017, (c) Eric Mathon, Palais PrincierDecked out in red and white, Monaco proudly displays its patriotism during the Fête National on 19th November. But did you know that it wasn't always celebrated in November?

Traditionally, Monaco’s National Day fell on the Patron Saint-day of the reigning Prince. It was once celebrated on 16th May under Prince Honoré III. Under Prince Ranier III, the day was celebrated on Saint Rainer day, 19th November. When Prince Albert II became the prince, the Fête National would have been changed to 15th November, the day of Saint Albert. Instead, Prince Albert II decided to keep the 19th as the official date in remembrance of his father.

Each year, the day begins with a service at the Notre-Dame-Immaculée cathedral on the Rock, which is attended by the entire Grimaldi family. From there, the festivities move to the Palais Princier, where parades of the principality’s services such as the police and firefighters, pass with pomp and circumstance, honouring the Prince.

Port Hercules will have an active and fun fairground for the kids, complete with rides, bumper cars and lots of sweets.

A fireworks display goes off over the port on the night of the 18th to kick-off the celebrations.

Monegasques are happy to attend the festivities, but many choose to spend the day doing charitable service like distributing care packages to the less fortunate. 

For the last few years, one the highlights of the day has been seeing the adorable royal twins, Gabriella and Jacques at the balcony with their parents. They are growing quickly and Monegasques love to see their little heirs wave from the balcony.