The Obamas Met Prince Albert for Dinner in Monte Carlo Before Heading to Clooneys' Italian Home

Peter Mikelbank
The Obamas Met Prince Albert for Dinner in Monte Carlo Before Heading to Clooneys' Italian Home

Add Prince Albert II to the list of the Obamas’ high-profile hosts during their European vacation.

Between spending time with U2’s Bono and The Edge in France and George and Amal Clooney in Italy, the former first family dined with Monaco’s sovereign on Friday evening at one of the world’s most breathtaking locations, PEOPLE exclusively confirms.

“There was incredible security involved but they had dinner together at The Grill Friday evening,” says one observer.

The open-air restaurant on the top floor of Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris has an unparalleled view overlooking the principality’s historic Garnier Opera House, the casino and a panoramic view of the harbor and Mediterranean coastline.

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Albert, 61, who had earlier in the day been in Spain, flew back expressly for the private dinner. He and former President Barack Obama, 57, have been associated through their efforts on environmental issues for a decade.

Friday’s dinner included the entire Obama travel party of 17 — including Malia, 20, and Sasha, 18 — and capped a week-long vacation in France in which the Obamas sampled the sweet summer of Provence with a mix of sightseeing, gourmet dining, hiking and wine tastings.

Friday’s dinner was not their only memorable meal: Earlier that day the family ended afternoon aperitifs of Tattinger champagne and Ruinart rosé with Bono and The Edge at the Chevre d’Or in Ezé.

From Monaco, the family flew to Milan for their weekend visit with the Clooneys on Lake Como.

Former President Barack Obama (center) on vacation in the South of France | EliotPress/MEGA
Prince Albert II of Monaco

The family’s excursions began days after Sasha’s high school graduation in Washington, D.C. Older sister Malia is a rising junior at Harvard and Sasha is expected to begin college in the fall.

Since leaving office, the Obamas have stayed busy but at a more relaxed pace. (Their office declined to comment on their vacation plans.)

“In the White House there’s no time for reflection — there’s barely time to breathe. I’ve always gone for walks, and I can do more of that now,” Mrs. Obama, 55, told PEOPLE last year.

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Reflecting on the importance of travel with his family, President Obama said earlier this year: “There is something spectacular about seeing a new place, being exposed to new ideas and experiencing a new culture. Traveling makes you grow.”

“As a parent, when you are able to watch that sense of discovery in your children’s eyes?” he said. “That is more special than anything else.”