National Day of Monaco
Saint-Rainier day is Monégasque National Day — a holiday for Monaco residents. Monaco’s National Day is also a celebration of its independence which is just as important to Monaco as July 4th is to the Americans. It is held every 18th and 19th of November.
The people of Monaco celebrate by displaying the Monégasque flag and wearing white and red. There are festivities throughout the town including concerts, parades, a drone light show, live theater, and other ceremonies.
Monaco’s National Day: A Rich History
In a different form, Monaco’s National Day was first celebrated by Honoré III on May 16, 1734 and then in 1854. However, the current annual itinerary of celebrations for National Festival only dates back to the reign of Prince Charles III (who is also the founder of SBM and the Casino de Monte-Carlo).
It was during his reign that Monaco became a modern, truly independent state. During his reign, the towns of Menton and Roquebrune, constituting some 80% of Monegasque territory, were formally ceded to France, paving the way for formal French recognition of Monaco’s independence. Rebellions in these towns, aided by the Kingdom of Sardinia, had exhausted Monaco’s military resources for decades.
Charles III established diplomatic and consular relations with other countries, found a national flag for the Principality, provided the Principality with a medal (the Order of Saint-Charles) as well as an autonomous diocese, reestablished monetary impressions and also issued the first postage stamp in the history of the Principality in 1885. Monte Carlo (in English, Mount Charles) itself takes its name from Charles.
In 1857, during the second year of his reign, Charles III picked November 4 as the “Sovereign’s Festival”, as it was the day of his patron’s saint. Starting during his reign, on the day of the “Prince’s Festival,” as it is called by the Monégasque, people celebrated with a Te Deum mass ceremony in Saint Nicholas Cathedral. As early as 1871, following the mass, the first military parade took place on the Place du Palais with the Prince’s Guards (it was not until 1875 that the “Carabiniers” took part in the parade.) There were also joyous celebrations, fireworks, concerts, and popular games on the Rock.
On November 19, 1949, Prince Rainier III ascended to the throne. Soon after, he changed the date of the National Festival from November 4 (as it had been for a century), to November 19, by creating Sovereign Order n°465.
HSH Prince Albert could have chosen November 15th after his own Patron Saint. But in honor of his father Prince Rainier he kept it as November 19.
Televised Coverage of Monaco National Day
Live coverage of events in Monaco available on “Monaco Channel” (starting at 9:55am in Monaco, or 3:55am EST). Here is last year’s coverage:
Monaco National Day’s Program
- November 15th and 16th: Monaco’s National Day is also being celebrated at La Condamine Market on the 15th and 16th as well as the 19th of November. There’ll be lots of delicious local food specialties to taste and to buy.
- November 18th, at 20h (8pm): 200 luminous drones will fly above the Prince’s Palace for a 12 minute lights show set to music. The show includes representations of famous Monegasque landmarks as well as fireworks, animals and incredible shapes.
- November 18th, at 21h (9pm): A ticketed live musical show (“Les Franglaises”) held at Espace Léo Ferré . Les Franglaises uses classic pop songs in a theatre spectacle that combines the best of dance, music and comedy to toe-tapping favourites. 1h30 of entertainment.
- November 19th:
- 10h (10am) – Te Deum Mass in Saint Nicholas Cathedral
- 11h20 (11:20am) – “Prise d’Armes” ceremony
- 11h40 (11:40am) – Military Parade in the Place du Palais : A parade in front of the Palace follows the mass in the morning in the Cathedral. You’ll see the Knights of Malta, ambassadors, consuls and state officials in uniforms.
- 13h (1pm) – Official lunch in the Salle du Trone
- 18h (6pm) – Concert by cellist and violinist sisters Camille and Julie Berthollet
- 20h30 (8:30pm) – National Day reception and gala evening
Tickets & Practical Information for Monaco’s National Day
Date: November 18 in the evening, and November 19 throughout the day.
Tickets: Tickets are free. If you would like tickets to the National Day Events, they will be given out at Espace Léo Ferré between 8:30am and 6pm on Thursday November 3rd for Monegasques and on Friday November 4th for Monegasques and residents. Presentation of an identity card, resident card or family booklet for resident children is required.
Transportation: Check out our guide to Monaco’s transportation options.
For more events, check out our complete Monaco & the French Riviera events calendar.