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  • Writer's pictureDavid Viney

International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo

Updated: Mar 10

The International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo is an annual event held in Monaco every January. The festival was created in 1974 by Prince Rainier III of Monaco to recognise and promote circus performers at the peak of their profession, and is the largest event of its type in the world. It is held in the Chapiteau de Fontvieille - a permanent marquee venue in Monaco's Fontvieille district - and is presided over by Princess Stéphanie of Monaco.

RSAJ Band © Justine Aubert

During the festival, circus acts from around the world perform for paying audiences, whilst simultaneously being judged by a jury of circus professionals, specialists and journalists. The jury gives awards for the best circus acts, including the Golden Clown (Clown d'or), Silver Clown (Clown d'argent) and Bronze Clown (Clown de bronze), in the form of statuettes. Special prizes are also awarded by various organisations and individuals in a glitzy closing gala attended by the Prince of Monaco and his family.

The 46th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival - 2024

Within a broader celebration of the 50th year of the Monte Carlo Festival, the Festival International du Cirque marked its 46th anniversary:

Poster for the 2024 Festival International du Cirque

It's worth noting that the Monte Carlo Festival (in accordance with Prince Rainier's wishes) is in a very traditional format. So if you find performing animals offensive, this is probably not the event for you!

The 2024 Festival International du Cirque Programme

The ambitious 2024 programme included contortionism on a hoverboard (Trixie Zavatta), LED dance moves (Extreme Lights), horse riding (Alexis Gruss family), performing elephants (Elvis & Cvetomira), and all manner of acrobats, trapezists, and clowns. Check out this great show reel from the 24 event, with a brief clip of each performer:

The Winners of the Awards in 2024

There were three winners of the Clown d'Or this year; Charles et Alexandre Gruss (juggling on the back of horses), the Kolev Sisters (hand-balancing acrobats of the Cirque du Soleil), and Elvis et Cvetomira Errani (elephant troop).

The Kolev Sisters; winners of the Clown d'Or 2024
The Kolev Sisters; winners of the Clown d'Or 2024

For a full list of the silver and bronze awards (and the separate awards for junior circus performers), please check out the information page of the official Festival Website.

How to Get there

  • By train: Monaco Monte-Carlo station is located underground in the Condamine district, and passengers can reach all four corners of the Principality from one of its six access points. It is served by local trains (on the Marseille–Ventimiglia railway) and (in summer months) by fast TGV trains. Timetables here.

  • By car: Leave the A8 Autoroute at Exit 56 (direction: Monaco) if travelling towards Italy, or Exit 58 (for Roquebrune Cap Martin) if travelling away from Italy. From these exits, you can reach the centre in less than 20 minutes. Many locals instead prefer to use one of the three famous 'Corniche' roads which hug the coastline, have stunning views, and lots of hairpin bends and little tunnels.

  • Parking (important): Access to Monaco-Ville is restricted to vehicles that are registered in Monaco or to residents of the Alpes Maritimes region. So, as a tourist, you should instead park in the Parking des Pêcheurs car park, from which the centre of Monaco-Ville is just a few minutes’ walk.

  • By bus: Monaco is served, seven days a week between 7am and 9.15pm, by the seven bus routes of the Monaco Bus Company (C.A.M). The network covers all of the main tourist attractions, museums, the exotic garden, business centres, Casino, Stade Louis-II, and more. See here for timetables.



With stunning views, private pool, super-fast Broadband and modern air-conditioning, the villa Haute Vue is a large Holiday Villa in Montauroux; conveniently positioned for exploring both the interior of Provence and the highlights of the French Riviera. Sleeping 10/12 in 5/6 bedrooms, it is close to the beautiful perched villages of the Var and in easy reach of the beaches and sights of the sparkling Côte d'Azur.

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