Swanky Monaco and Nice
25 June 2014 | Monaco and Nice France
We had a short 17 nautical miles from San Remo to enter the French Riviera and the Principality of Monaco. Monaco is famous for its swanky Monte Carlo Casino and the marriage of actress Grace Kelly to the Prince Rainier.
There were heavy winds while we were in Monaco so we were happy to be safely in the harbor..
Monaco residents pay no taxes because of the casino revenues which fund a very modern, clean and upscale metropolitan area. It was a delight to find a place where everything functions from hand dryers in public restrooms to public elevators and escalators to navigate pedestrian traffic across roadways and up inside the rocky cliffs upon which Monaco is built.
We toured the Royal Palace with an informative well-done audioguide and learned about the royal Grimaldi family who have ruled this small principality since 1271. The tomb of Grace Kelly who died tragically in a car accident in 1982, was in the beautiful cathedral, next to her husband, Prince Rainier who died in 2005.Their son, Albert, is now the reigning Prince.
A highlight of our visit to Monaco was the Oceanographic Institute and Aquarium built by Prince Rainier’s father in the 1920’s. The aquarium is perched on the ocean cliffside, and has amazing and educational specimens.
Because of the weather and the unavailability of boat berths in Nice, we visited that French Riviera city by train from Monaco. It was a short 30 minute scenic train rider for our day trip to visit all the Nice tourist spots. We also had to find a cellular phone and wireless provider and get set up for service in France. This took the usual visit to multiple offices, waits for technicians and finally we were set up with new French cell phone service and internet. Every new country requires this hassle with varying levels of cost and service.
That evening back in Monaco, we visited the famous Monte Carlo Casino which charges 10 euros admission just to walk around the beautiful 1920 art deco building. It was worthwhile just to see the interior, and we had something to drink in the lounge area. Gambling isn’t “our thing” and the minimums were more than we wanted to waste. Coat and tie are no longer required as in past years but we still dressed up a bit only to discover that most young visitors were very “casual”. We were of course too early for the true players who started to arrive as we left at 11 pm. The automobiles parked outside the Casino were astonishing. There were a few basic Jaguars and Porsches. Most cars were Ferrari, Mazerrati, Lamborgini or Rolls Royce. It was definitely a place where the wealthy of Europe come to gamble.