Off to Monaco

The allure of Monaco beckoned, the playground of Europe’s monied and elite and so the opportunity to go to the Monaco Yacht Show was impossible to resist.

Letad was attending in order to promote the latest edition of his magazine, OnBoard (www.onboardmagazine.fr) which he’d worked on night and day to get printed. With phones ringing at all hours while in LA, the deadline had been met and the magazine had been delivered just in time. A huge sigh of relief I’m sure as the hard work paid off.

The OnBoard team

Arriving in Monaco, the density of the buildings was immediately apparent. Monaco is the second smallest and most densely populated country in the world. It’s also home to the doomed Grimaldi dynasty and poor Princess Charlene, locked in an ivory tower until she provides Prince Albert with a legitimate heir but that may be hearsay based on me occasionally reading the Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk).

After checking in to the Yacht Show, I set off to climb to the Princes’ Palais. Up and up the steps I climbed and was treated to a spectacular view of Monaco on the way. 

Monaco in all its glory
Reaching the top, there was an element of the surreal about the palace and I wouldn’t have been surprised to see the child catcher from “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” emerge from the palace gates. However the views were incredible and I enjoyed exploring the area around the palace.

Entry to the Palace
Peering over the other side of the wall another spectacular view, I wasn’t sure if I was looking at Monaco or France given the diminutive size of the country.

The other side

From the palace I wandered down a nearby street until I reached the cathedral. Inside I discovered the graves of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier along with a large number of the Grimaldi dynasty over the centuries. 

Heading to the cathedral
The exterior of the cathedral

After a pleasant lunch (despite several mosquito bites) I resisted the temptation to take the little tourist train (and just as well as I noticed no one under seventy on board) and I headed down the hill, around the port and back up to Monte Carlo. 

Resisting the temptation, the casino

Home to probably the most famous casino in the world, Monte Carlo is also home to the Hotel de Paris and Cafe de Paris, a fantastic spot to people-watch. The buildings are incredibly ornate and capture the elegance of a bygone era.


The back door of the casino
I decided not to go the casino, given my previous history of playing craps in Las Vegas in my youth and instead, enjoyed a slightly more sedate sorbet which resulted in a sticky mess, before heading back down to the yacht show.

A tiny part of the Monaco Yacht Show

After looking at some of the biggest and most outrageous yachts in the world (and there was some serious money on display), we decided to call it a day and head back to the car park only to realize that we had no idea where we’d parked.

We hadn’t been paying attention when we’d arrived earlier in the day and so half an hour and several floors later, the car was finally discovered (not stolen after all) and so we set off back to Valbonne, hot and tired but luckily still with a sense of humour intact.

A lovely day in Monaco.

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