It is a kingdom showcasing the exuberance, strangeness and surrealism of nature. Sixty metres under the ground, a prehistoric cave unveils its spectacular lime formations, formed over millennia.
The Exotic Garden
Spread over an area of approximately 15,000 m2,
the Exotic Garden is home to a thousand cacti and other succulent plants with
stems or hypertrophic leaves which store water. Originally from the planet’s
main semi-arid regions, these plants still produce plenty of flowers. The
principal flowering seasons are winter (January–February) for South African
succulents such as Aloe and Crassula, and spring and summer for cacti, a family
native to the American
The enormous trees which line the paths of the Exotic
Garden illustrate the age of the collection which served as the basis for the
creation of the garden at the instigation of Prince Albert I. Opened to the
public in February 1933, and supplemented in the 1960s by a botanical centre
and specialist tree nursery, the garden is one of the Principality’s most
visited tourist attractions.
The Observatory Cave
At the base of the cliff on
which the Exotic Garden is situated (called “the observatory” due to the
long-standing presence of a small astronomical observatory), at an altitude of
100 metres, there is a subterranean chamber equipped to receive visitors. The
limestone rock, carved out by water containing carbon dioxide, is studded with
caverns adorned with geological formations bearing evocative names:
stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, columns, soda straws...
Expert guided tours of the cave are included in the entry ticket for the Exotic
Garden. The tour travels from a depth of 98 metres to a depth of 40 metres
(around 300 steps). The chamber plunges down almost to sea level and is
regularly explored by local cavers.
The presence of prehistoric humans in the region of the cave is confirmed
by the bones of the animals that they ate. These remains also illustrate the
climate variations that have taken place over the last 250,000 years.
The collections of the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology complement a
visit to the cave perfectly. hours and fees
Accessibility: Pushchairs are not permitted in the garden (they
may be left at the entrance).
Due to the topography of the garden, accessibility for
wheelchair users is limited to the flat area at the entrance to the exhibition
The stunning panorama over the Principality and the
Riviera is accessible.
Wheelchair users enjoy free entry and reduced rates
are available for their companions.
People with disabilities will be charged a reduced
rate on presentation of their disability card.
The Cave is not accessible by wheelchair and people
with reduced mobility will find access difficult due to the numerous steps and