I only had 2-days in the Fench Riviera and I planned on exploring every nook and cranny of this area; so we signed up for the Best of the French Riviera full-day tour. The second was Monaco with the first being Eze. We only had 45-minutes to explore and I made the most of it and got a raspberry sorbet along the way lol.
Anywho, some history about Monaco. It is the second-smallest country by area in the world with the Vatican City is the smallest (first) and it is known as “City of Princes“.
Monaco is a sovereign city-state, country, and microstate on the French Riviera. It borders France and the Mediterranean Sea and has a population of about 38,000.
It is a Principality meaning it is a constitutional monarchy, with the Prince of Monaco as head of state. There are advisory and legislative bodies but it is governed by the Prince.
Monaco has four districts. La Condamine, Monaco Town, and Monte Carlo.
I had a chance to visit 2 out of 4 – Monaco-Ville and Monto Carlo
The old town has narrow alleyways from the middle ages which lead to the picturesque Place Saint Nicolas and Placette Bosio, the Chapel of Mercy, Palais de Justice and the Cathedral, a Roman-Byzantine style building built in 1875. I only made it the Cathedral and the Palais because the beauty of the Mediterranean kept calling my name.
The St. Nicholas’ Cathedral
Next stop is Monte Carlo aka Mount Charles. Along the way, we drove on the road of famous Grand Prix.
Some fun facts…
- It is 5 miles from the western border of Italy.
- The residents are not allowed in the casino.
- It is very expensive but they have a rent control for the residents.
- It’s a tax haven for the rich.
- Lastly, it is home to the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.
We stopped by the Monte Carlo casino. The casino was featured in two of the James Bond movies – Never Say Never Again and GoldenEye. Also in the Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief which starred Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, the future Princess Grace of Monaco.
Roulette anyone lol
One of the coolest things about this visit is that we saw these cars that looked like they were completely wrapped in toilet paper or some strange material. Our driver explained that they are model cars that are being tested ‘under normal conditions’ and they don’t want the public to know the maker and/or design. By the time we realized the awesomeness of what we were seeing, I couldn’t get my camera out in time! Grrrr…
Oh well, as we were leaving Monaco, our guide pointed out the police car 😮
Anywho, my short trip to Monaco was enjoyable and city/state/country is oh so beautiful. Next time, come and travel with me.