Monaco, French Riviera


Monaco is on the Côte d’Azur, the French Rivieria and as we were in Nice and it was so close by, of course we had to visit! Off we set, around 9:30 in the morning to stroll down to Nice Port to get on Bus 100.  The price of the bus ticket was only €1.50, a bargain! The bus takes a really beautiful scenic route, passing through the beautiful villages of Villefranche and Beaulieu.  Journey time from Nice to Monaco, took about 35 minutes on the bus. We decided to start our tour of Monaco at Monte-Carlo, so waited until we heard the bus driver say we were there and hopped off.

Café de Paris

First place we headed to was the Café de Paris, as you do, ahem….  A couple of security guys stood at the entrance as you enter the terrace to do a search, they just peeked inside my bag and ran a security scanner down hubby.  They were polite and were not obtrusive at all.  We took a table where we could see everything going on (we are very nosey) with a wonderful view of the Casino across the road.  No wait at all before the waiter came over and took our order of a couple of glasses of Rosé.

I had never seen so many luxurious cars in my life, as I did sitting in the Café de Paris. It was just lovely to sit and people watch and the restaurant/cafe was not a bit pretentious.  The waiters were friendly and attentive.  The customers were  a mixture of wealthy residents and tourists like us.  We were enjoying ourselves, sitting comfortably, people watching and gasping at the expensive cars so we had to order another glass of  Rosé.  We just had to.

I remember thinking the bill wasn’t that bad, for where we were, about €45 for the four glasses of wine or thereabouts, I think.  It was a pleasant start to our day in Monaco and Goddamit! don’t judge me, I was on vacation!  Before we left, we both popped to the loos for another nose and the inside decor of the restaurant is just gorgeous, it was also very lively and busy.  I was very posh using the loos! (well in my head anyway)

Monte Carlo CasinoMonte Carlo Casino

Across the road was Casino de Monte Carlo.  It wasn’t easy to get photos of the outside as there were about 10 other people in the camera lens view, posing, taking photos, selfies ,the works, so this photo was taken after waiting about 10 minutes for a gap in people blocking my view.  Alas, that was wishful thinking, they had the same right to be there taking pics as me, I thought, as I gave each and everyone of them the death stare. So here is my photo of the Casino or rather the top part of it  (tourist people strangers cropped out from the bottom of the photo)

The inside of the Casino is pure opulence. It was so luxurious but no photos were allowed inside where the betting tables were.

After leaving the Casino, we started walking around. The buildings around Monte Carlo are so clean looking, pretty and painted in beautiful pastel colours.  The little parks are beautifully kept and again the views of the sea and boats are gorgeous.

Hubby and I enjoying the views

Monaco Chocolate shopChocolaterie de Monaco

The oldest part of Monaco, Monaco-Ville is a steep walk uphill from Monte Carlo , as it is built on top of ‘the rock’. It’s worth it though as the panoramic views of the Mediterranean are spectacular.

The delightful Chocolaterie de Monaco is such a pretty Chocolate shop and Café. It was lovely and cool inside, which was a lovely relief from the heat outside.  The shop has a gorgeous selection of the most delicious chocolates all prettily packaged. I spent a fortune here but I made sure to buy a cooler bag to carry the boxes of chocolates as the temperature outside was in the mid 30s. I also tried to walk in the shade as much as possible after leaving here so as to give the chocolates a chance not to melt.  But, I can happily report, the chocolates made it safely back to Dublin all intact and were absolutely delicious!  I am not so happy to report that the prettily packaged chocolates I bought for presents have now  been eaten by me  err….disappeared.

More stunning views on the way to the Grimaldi palace and there are also lots of little walkways and secret places to explore on the way up here.

Palais Princier
The official residence of the rulers of Monaco. We were lucky enough to see a changing of the Guard, at about 12 noon.  Of course, the photos aren’t that great, so I left them off this.  We came upon it as it had already started, so didn’t know what was going on at first.  Hell, if only I didn’t spend as much time eating those chocolates in that delightful chocolate box of a shop, I might have seen it from the start.  They were very delish though..the chocolates, not the Guards, although they weren’t bad either.

Saint Nicholas Cathedral.

Next, we visited St Nicholas Cathedral and had a walk around inside.  It is here,  Princess Grace married Prince Rainier of Monaco.  This is also where they are buried.  Princess Grace, no doubt, put Monaco on the map.  Their story is like a fairy-tale, a Hollywood Actress meeting her Prince, when she was shooting a movie in Monaco and ending up marrying him.

If you find yourself on the Côte d’Azur then consider visiting Monaco at least once.  A day is enough to see it, as it’s tiny, the second smallest state (Vatican is the smallest) in the World.  This is where the money is and you will see expensive cars that you would only otherwise see on television.  There isn’t a huge amount to do, but you come to Monaco to look around, nose as much as you can at how the other half lives and enjoy the stunning views.

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