Shaken not Stirred – A Trip to Monaco

We are pretty frugal in our every day lives.  We don’t like debt so we save first for special treats like this trip, save for a rainy day, that sort of thing.  So it is always interesting to get a glimpse in to how “the other half” lives.  For example, in Cannes, hotel rooms can reach the bargain price of 35000 Euros a night.  Yes, you read that right.  Granted that would be the price during the film festival but it does come with a jacuzzi tub so it’s a deal. Right?  I have wondered since how much money I would have to have in the bank account before that amount of money for a hotel room wouldn’t make me pass out.  It would have to be an insane amount in the bank.

While we stopped at Cannes we actually took a tour to Monaco as I figured when else would we get a chance to check it out, without having to get a hotel room?  Because the port is shallow and small in Cannes we had to be tendered to shore to catch the bus.

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It was a lovely drive along the coast through Nice into Monaco. I can see why people flock to this area.  Though the tour guide did say she gets away whenever there is a big event like the film festival.  The insanity of it all gets to her.  Can’t say I blame her!

This is looking back over Nice as we drove along the coastal road.

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Another reason I wanted to see Monaco is that is where the F1 has one of their grand prix races.  The cool thing is that they use the city streets.   This spot is close to the casino and you can see the rubber marks on the curves.  It must be quite something to hear and see as they also go through a lot of tunnels.  Must be deafening!

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All you James Bond fans will recognise the casino.  My son was quite happy to get a photo of it as he is a huge fan of the movies.  We are too, if truth be told.  🙂  We were able to go in and see the casino.  The opulence!  They open it to groups in the morning and gambling starts at 2pm in the main rooms.  As the day goes on they open more private rooms.   Each opening gets more exclusive as well.  Very posh.

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After the casino we had a short time to wander before getting back on the bus.  We walked along some roof top parks to take in the view.  It’s pretty incredible and the weather was starting to improve as well.  It turned into a lovely day.  In this picture you can see Monaco, France and Italy.

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The next part of the tour was the rock or the old part with the palace.  Apparently about 700 years ago the original Grimaldi dressed as a monk and knocked on the door of the existing fortress and when they let him and his crew in they took the fortress and it’s been in Grimaldi control ever since.  This church was completed in 1912 and Prince Albert (II?) had all the previous princes and princesses moved to be interred there.  This is also the church were Princess Grace was married and buried.

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After the tour we were free to explore and get some lunch.  My favourite part!  We found a small restaurant that was serving langoustines.  I had seen a few blog posts mentioning these and as we can’t get them stateside it was on my list to try.  It was an amazing dish.  The little buggers are a little difficult to eat but it was worth it.  I will definitely be looking to have them again when we go back.  And the dish itself had such a flavourful sauce.  I will have to try to recreate it though as it had fish stock I’ll have to adjust that as my husband doesn’t like seafood.

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As the day improved we found more gardens with lovely flowers.

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Soon enough it was time to head back to the ship.  Once we got back on we enjoyed the view until it was time to leave.

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I can see why people are drawn to the south of France.  It is such a beautiful part of the world.