Monday, November 9, 2015


Actual date of this event: 4 May

After visiting Antibes for the day, we decided our next day trip from Nice would be to Monaco. I didn't really know much about Monaco before visiting other than it 1.) is where the rich and famous go, 2.) has a few casinos, 3.) is a super tiny country (the second smallest in the world after Vatican City), 4.) hosts the Monaco Grand Prix each year, 5.) is full of yachts and extremely expensive luxury cars. All things true, but what I didn't know is 1.) it has a castle, 2.) is NOT a place you want stay in due to how expensive hotels are, 3.) that the casinos have a strict dress code and an entrance fee, 4.) is VERY confusing to walk around in because, 5.) the country is located on a steep cliff of a mountain and all of the roads wind up and down and around but thankfully, 6.) there are elevators that take pedestrians up and down rather than walking steps and hills (in many places, but not all), and 7.) 80 year old ladies will pass up young 30 year old men (Luke) while walking up a hill.
 {Above & Below: You can see the different levels in the streets making it difficult to know where to go - we learned quickly not to follow signs because they were directing cars not pedestrians.}

{Above: One of the elevators - The problem with them is that when you leave the elevator, you have no clue, again, where you are located. Constantly lost!}
After taking the 11:30 train, arriving around noon, we decided to start with Le Rocher (the rock) Castle first. It took us a long long time to figure out how to get down the mountain. Luke is a very good navigator but this one puzzled him. I don't even remember what we did and how we got there, but after walking along a few busy streets, down stairs, down an elevator or two, through a shopping street, and up other stairs, we arrived to the castle area. The views were beautiful!

{Above: Monte Carlo Casino}

Then we needed a drink, so after getting lost again going down the hill, we stopped at Stars'n'Bars, an American bar, for a drink to rest since we had probably already walked five miles at this point. As we sat, we watched some men work on the Monaco Grand Prix course, setting up fencing and what not. And nearby was the starting line for the Monaco Grand Prix. Since the actual race was taking place just two weeks later, we decided we needed to walk some of the course. And so we, along with several other people, walked along the lower part of the course by the port with "some" of the yachts.

Unfortunately, we were now downhill and needed to go back up hill to go see the famous Monte Carlo Casino. This is where the funny happened: Luke got left in the dust as this little old lady sped passed him on the hill. I was walking behind him, and when she passed me, I was shocked at how fast she was going and just knew Luke was going to be even more in shock. So I watched, and his face as she passed him was hilarious! Anyway, we eventually reached the casino. The square was very busy with cars continuously coming and going. You've probably already guessed that Luke and I did not go into the casino, but we did walk around the back side of it where a quiet terrace gave us a great view of the country and sea. 

We stopped for a drink at a nearby pizzeria where we watched expensive car after expensive car after smart car after expensive car drive by which happened to be part of the Grand Prix course so fencing was being put up. It's interesting to see in person just how narrow the course is. 

It was then time for us to figure out a way to get back up the mountain to the train station. We did well this time, didn't get lost even though we had a drink or three in our system! Perhaps that is key?? We enjoyed our time in Monaco, but I wouldn't say it was my favorite of our trip. Ritz and glamour isn't my thing though, so it makes sense. It is definitely a nice places with wonderful views, so I'm glad we went. Plus, a person can't be THAT close to Monaco and NOT go to Monaco, right?
Coming up next: one of our top favorite places we have ever visited that has spoiled us for life, Eze Village!

More from the South of France: IntroNiceAntibesMonacoEze VillageAvignonPope's Palace & Pont d'AvignonPont du GardBuissonSt. RemyLes BauxArlesNîmes

The residents of Monaco do not pay taxes, and they are are not allowed to gamble or even enter the casinos.

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