"" Writer's Wanderings: Monaco--Monte Carlo

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monaco--Monte Carlo

One of our favorite ports on our Mediterranean cruise was Monte Carlo. Maybe because a girl can dream. The wealth kind of oozes here. It is seen in the cars, in the homes, in the buildings and gardens. And then of course there's the fairy tale story of Grace Kelly who came here to film a movie and ended up a real life princess.

Monaco is the second smallest country in the world--right behind the Vatican which is considered the smallest. It's coastline is 2.5 miles long and the country covers 485 acres (100 of which have been reclaimed from the sea). It borders France and the first part of our tour actually took us up to a vantage point in France that overlooks the city of Monte Carlo. The yachts looked big even from that view.

From there we went back to city and took a walk around passing the villas of Caroline and Stephanie and stopping at the palace to see the changing of the guard. We also entered the cathedral and passed by the graves of Prince Ranier and Princess Grace.

Attention single ladies: Prince Albert is still unmarried although we were told he does have a girlfriend. There is at present no male heir to the throne through him since his children have been born out of wedlock.

While we were waiting for the changing of the guard, we watched cars lining up for a sports car rally. I think Bob had his eye on one or two.

The Monte Carlo Casino of course is the major attraction because of all its colorful history and James Bond movies of course. We did not go in. There is a cover charge of $15 just to get in and a strict dress code. The doors were not open until it was almost time for our ship to sail anyway. We did take a look at the Cafe de Paris across from the Hotel de Paris on the same square as the casino. The Cafe was built years ago before women were allowed into the casino. They got to gamble there. Guess the casino saw that as profitable and eventually let women in as well.

The gardens were beautiful, the city lovely and clean, and we'd definitely put it on our revisit list--if we could afford it.

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