So I’ve taken you through Barcelona and into the French Riviera and now it’s time for a stop in Monaco! The Principality of Monaco is a microstate located in the French Riviera. It’s small but has it’s own government, police and post office system. It’s so small that the territory itself is only 499 acres with a coastline of 2.5 miles. But the small town has a population of 37,800, which includes members of the constitutional monarchy that governs the state. Being able to stay in Monaco was surreal. It was somewhere I always wanted to go, but never truly thought I would. It was a pinch me moment both me and my mom shared.
The area is famous of course for the Monaco Grand Prix. The race takes place within Monaco and people line the streets to see it. I can see why it’s held on the town and not on a track. The streets make many circles and hairpin turns, perfect for racing.
Monaco was truly an exceptional town. It’s kept incredibly clean. In a lot of metropolitan’s in Europe, large trash cans lined the streets. Not so much in Monaco. Every inch of landscape was kept pristine and all the buildings look untarnished.
We stayed at the Columbus Monte- Carlo Hotel. Our room over looked a rose garden dedicated to Princess Grace. The hotel itself was very nice and we loved the dining room for breakfast. It was a great place to make your own boiled eggs and indulge in croissants before starting the day.
Our first day in Monaco we visited the Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild. Which I have to save for a another post. There are so many pictures to share of the mansion, it deserves it’s own blog post. Stay tuned!
In the evening we toured the city streets of the Monaco and got to see some of the amazing architecture.
We got to see where the Royal Family stays when they are in Monaco.
And we got to see the church where Princess Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III.
Just a few feet from where the Royal Family stays is a view of the bay, where Monte Carlo is. We were lucky enough to catch this view just as the sun was setting. The massive bay that opens up to the Mediterranean Sea houses hundreds of luxury boats and yachts. They are all parked so they can be within walking distance to the Monte Carlo Casino and luxury shopping.
This is one of my favorite views while traveling the French Riviera. When you walk to the highest point to see it, you pass through a town that exudes class and luxury it houses the upper echelon of European society. Looking at the bay you can see the Monte Carlo Casino all lit up.
After a short walking tour through town, we stopped for dinner at a place called U Cavagnetu. The food was delicious and so fresh. I had a vegetarian appetizer dish to start with a tomato tart, spinach quiche and roasted tomatoes. I also had a goat cheese salad and dinner was fresh white fish with vegetables, potatoes and a lemon roasted tomato. So delicious!
I also had two desserts, because why not. Tiramisu and a cannoli cheesecake.
After dinner, we walked back to our hotel and got a bus to take us to the Monte Carlo.
Now here is where the trip took a mild turn. We were so excited to get to the casino, I mean it was the Monte Carlo! However, our bus driver had another engagement that evening and we only had 40 minutes to be in the casino. So my mom and I were super bummed, when we arrived our plan was to stay longer and take a cab back to the hotel.
Walking up to the casino, the streets are lined with massive lights to show off all the luxury that is Monte Carlo. The street stores are Hermes, Prada and Louis Vuitton and the streets are lined with Ferrari’s and Maybach’s. It’s truly amazing. Once we got to the entrance of the casino we were greeted, offered a coat check and then headed in. No camera’s allowed. So I could only take a few shots of the lobby area. But once we got into the casino, we were thoroughly disappointed. The majority of the casino itself is sectioned off for high rollers. There were only two rooms for regular gamblers and it included about 100 slot machines and 5 tables that offered roulette, craps and poker. We also arrived quite early, about 9:30 pm so there was not much of a crowd.
While we bumbled around from slot machine to slot machine, we counted down the minutes until we could leave. The doorways to the high roller suites stood taunting us with two tuxedo clad security guards standing at attention. We watched as a lot of older men with young buxom women on their hips strolled through, on their way to spend some cash in a private room.
I lost 50 euros gambling and split a $16 martini with my mom. But, if I am being honest it was a damn good martini.
The exclusiveness of the casino did not ruin my trip. Monaco was such an amazing place and I will always remember! So if you find yourself traveling through, I suggest dining and window shopping. You can’t go wrong with that!
Also visit be sure to visit the Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild. Ill have details on my next post. You won’t want to miss it!