I still have content from our French holiday sitting in my laptop folders, and I really should make an effort to get it online before it becomes totally irrelevant! So here I am, telling you about our day in Monaco. If someone were to ask me what my favourite thing about our holiday was, I'd tell them that Monaco takes the cake. Something about the drive there, winding through mountains with occasional glimpses of the bright blue mediterranean sea sparkling in the distance, and then arriving in this tiny little city-state teeming with history, glamour and architectural beauty... I fell in love almost instantly.
Monaco is small, and while the life of its ritzy inhabitants is financially pretty much totally out of reach for the likes of you and me, the compactness of the city still makes it seem like something you're part of it the moment you step out on the streets and the beautiful views reveal themselves. Monaco has an inviting feel to it, is what I'm trying to say.
We went there on a gorgeously sunny day, and focused our visit on exploring the old town around the Prince's palace.
This is the actual view I had on the marina after exiting the parking garage. Appartment blocks aren't normally my idea of pretty, but there's something about Monaco and its bright blue waters that makes all of this work aesthetically. There's plenty of parking opportunity throughout Monaco, btw, but it's also easily reachable by train from Nice. Very tourist friendly, and almost everything is within walking distance because the city is so small.
Going down the hill from the parking garage, you get a better idea of the architectural richness of the city. Built on hills and colourfully painted, its buildings felt like something out of a fairy tale.
Monaco is squeezed between the mountains and that perfectly blue water, making sure that wherever you turn your head, there is natural beauty waiting for you.
Once we made our way up the hill to the Prince's palace, I really fell in love.We had some amazing ice cream while enjoying the view and admiring the colourful buildings around the square, and we witnessed the changing of the watch in front of the palace. We mostly just felt bad for those guards who had to stand there in the scorching sun all day covered from head to toe, including gloves. Until I saw their quarters, right across from the palace.
Note those medusa heads under the top windows! I would HAPPILY stand around melting my ass off all day if that meant I could live in this demented Barbie house in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, man.
After catching our breath from all that climbing, we ventured into the narrow streets of old Monaco to enjoy the atmosphere. As you can see, it wasn't even that crowded, which was my impression for all of our French Riviera travels: not overwhelmingly busy, but lively in a way that I very much enjoyed. We also had the most amazing pizza here in some little storefront along the street. I had a stone oven pizza vegetarienne with grilled vegetables + my favourite drink whenever I'm on holiday in France (peach ice tea). Why does food always taste better on holiday?
Beauty is really everywhere you look in Monaco. You can see how rich this city is in its attention to detail, like this adorable little doorknocker.
We walked through Princess Grace's gardens and passed the Oceanographic museum of Monaco, which I would love to discover one day. But our day was already running short, so onward we went!
Another indication of Monaco's eye to detail: in the middle of this beautiful park, there was a big picture frame you could pose in to take a picture with the amazing Monegask views as a backdrop. This city was practically built for tourists, but it doesn't feel like a tourist trap.
And then we walked right up to the cliffs of Monaco, where blue was all the eye could see. Well, blue and idyllic little hidden pebble beaches, only known to locals. Watching the people enjoy the refreshing water made me decide I wasn't going to leave Monaco without having a dip, so off to Larvotto we went. I changed into my bathing suit in the car, and we drove around for ages until we found a parking spot close to the beach, but it was all worth it. The water was, for lack of a better word, heavenly.
Ah, if I ever return I vow to spend my entire day enjoying those waters. Monaco, you have my heart!