See Why the Country of Monaco & the French Riviera Is the Land of Luxury

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.

IMG_1026The 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.

IMG_0952This was a big deal in the 1950s in the US because of the marriage into royalty and the fairytale of prince & princesses.

IMG_1032Statue of Prince Rainer, who was an avid sailor.

IMG_0964One 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!

IMG_0978 IMG_1026The building is an observatory created by Jacque Cousteau the famous oceanographer who lived and studied the seas in the region.

IMG_0961I loved the simplicity of this picture…a small sailboat in the middle of the sea

IMG_0993The church that Princess Grace was married to Prince Rainer and where they are both buried inside.

IMG_0996 IMG_1004…and where the flowers are is where both Prince Rainer and Princess Grace are buried

IMG_1001The 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.

IMG_1015Race 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.
IMG_1035 IMG_1056 IMG_1093

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.

IMG_1077 IMG_1080Extravagance is all around inside, even at the bar. Dom Perignon champagne anyone?

IMG_1064The room is called the white room with its white bar, white marble and gold accents

IMG_1068The detail and architecture inside just begs for people to spend

IMG_1070 IMG_1073Outside of the Casino. In the background, seating stands are being setup for the Grand Prix in May.

IMG_1076We 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.

IMG_1102We 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….

IMG_1111…the scents from the open-air spices.

IMG_1112At 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.
IMG_1119 IMG_1135 IMG_1166Zoomed into St. Tropez, France.

IMG_1143Walk back through the artsy, medieval town of Eze to get back onto our bus to drive to Nice, France.

IMG_1176 IMG_1179The beach of Nice. Nice is nice! And, I had to enlarge the picture first to make sure I wasn’t posting any topless pictures.

IMG_1227The promenade at the beach in Nice is where tons of people gather for festivals and to people watch

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On our drive back from Nice along the French Riviera to Monaco.

IMG_1299Monte Carlo at night from the deck of our cruise ship as we were just getting ready to leave

IMG_1385Monaco 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.

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