Our next stop was to the 2nd smallest country in the world, Monaco (size of central park in NYC — The Vatican City being the smallest country). Four things come to mind when I think of Monaco and the French Riviera: James Bond, Monte Carlo Grand Prix, Princess Grace, and Luxury.
The French Riviera has a micro climate in that the French Alps to the north protects the area from cold weather, and the location by the Mediterranean Sea provides 300 days of warm sunshine.
Our day long excursion was to tour Monaco and drive the French Riviera to Nice, France. Unfortunately, it was in a bus and not a Porsche convertible.
Our cruise ship is in the background in the city of Monte Carlo.
The building at the top is the church where the wedding of Prince Rainer to Grace Kelly happened, and they are both entombed inside. After the wedding ceremony, they both walked through the gardens to greet the people of Monaco. We really picked a great time to visit, as all the flowers are in bloom during Spring.
This was a big deal in the 1950s in the US because of the marriage into royalty and the fairytale of prince & princesses.
Statue of Prince Rainer, who was an avid sailor.
One of the first things we noticed about this area, is there is absolutely no trash, graffiti, panhandlers, etc. The city is incredibly clean and immaculate, and safe. It has to be because of how many completely wealthy and famous people live here!
The building is an observatory created by Jacque Cousteau the famous oceanographer who lived and studied the seas in the region.
I loved the simplicity of this picture…a small sailboat in the middle of the sea
The church that Princess Grace was married to Prince Rainer and where they are both buried inside.
…and where the flowers are is where both Prince Rainer and Princess Grace are buried
The white sign is funny….but at some point is probably true as George Clooney and a list of who’s who of Hollywood either live or routinely visit Monaco.
The Royal Palace of Monaco. Currently ruled by Prince Albert…..and, no…he is not in a can.
Race fans will recognize the streets of Monte Carlo as this is the site of the Monaco Grand Prix, the most watched race in the world. The race is in May, but the road course is setup all year. The road course is the city streets of Monte Carlo. This is the famous Fairmont Hairpin curve.
The Grand Casino of Monte Carlo….where the rich and not so rich try their luck in the casino. James Bond (Casino Royale) is the setting here. Tours of the casino were allowed during the day, but at night it is all about the gaming.
Extravagance is all around inside, even at the bar. Dom Perignon champagne anyone?
The room is called the white room with its white bar, white marble and gold accents
The detail and architecture inside just begs for people to spend
Outside of the Casino. In the background, seating stands are being setup for the Grand Prix in May.
We left Monaco and started our drive along the French Riviera to Nice, France. We stopped halfway in the medieval city of Eze, France to tour the area and to have lunch.
We climbed up the steps to the top of the mountain through the town of Eze. We made a turn and these wonderful smells filled the air from homemade soaps and….
…the scents from the open-air spices.
At the top of the mountain in the city of Eze, is a cactus garden with many different plants and flowers. The attraction is the view. Our guide said that this is an incredibly clear day to where on the left, the first area of land sticking out is Cannes, France. The next is Nice, and then the last is St. Tropez.
Zoomed into St. Tropez, France.
Walk back through the artsy, medieval town of Eze to get back onto our bus to drive to Nice, France.
The beach of Nice. Nice is nice! And, I had to enlarge the picture first to make sure I wasn’t posting any topless pictures.
The promenade at the beach in Nice is where tons of people gather for festivals and to people watch
On our drive back from Nice along the French Riviera to Monaco.
Monte Carlo at night from the deck of our cruise ship as we were just getting ready to leave
Monaco and the French Riviera is truly an amazing place. And, it is so understandable why this region has attracted the world’s wealthiest people….and tourists.