Monte Carlo, Monaco Revisited

 

Dara, our son, wanted to see Monaco :  Monte Carlo here we come 🏎🏎🏎

My husband  Brian and myself drove to Monte Carlo from Nice many years ago. 

Sheer terror is my most vivid memory. Everyone was driving like they were in The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix. No exaggeration!

Apologies, I can’t describe the scenery en route from The French Riviera to Monaco. My eyes were closed for the duration 😫😫😫

Travelling by train this time was traffic & terror free.

Passing through villages, with postcard perfect views, spectacular seascapes & beautiful beaches relaxing and soaking up the Riviera’s coastline.

The train stops at Eze-sur-Mer, a picturesque village on the Riviera. We visited years before with Seán, Dara & Cian to see the 20-room beach- front mansion co-owned by U2’s Bono & The Edge.

Their neighbours include stars like Roger Moore, Tina Turner, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Princess Antoinette of Monaco, Prince Rainier’s Sister.

76501537-DAD8-4AD1-988C-AF107F322B8BWe met Bono in Dingle a few years ago. He was in town for a wedding.  What a nice guy 😊

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Brian and myself could  feel quite at home here, I think. I might finally get to meet Johnny Depp . (A reference to a previous blog The night I nearly met Johnny Depp)

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We arrive at the train station in Monte Carlo. A total contrast to the quaint French train stations. The wealth, the extravagance  of the train station hits you – it’s decorated in white marble, floors, walls & ceilings. The train station is in a mountain. It like a large cavern. You exit through a long marble tunnel.

We weren’t sure where to go. Monte Carlo is preparing for the biggest event of the year The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix 2018. All the streets are barricaded. We take the wrong way , we see  behind the scenes of Monte Carlo, side streets, lane ways, places where the locals go.

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The wow factor 😮 The Magnificent, Majestic Monte Carlo Casino in Place du Casino.

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The Hotel de Paris is perfectly located to see all the Monte Carlo activity. There’s a security guard checking all bags with a scanner. We wait in line.

“Votre sac madame?”                                                                                                                    “Je n’ai pas de sac”                                                                                                                     “Pas de sac???”  I think I created history in Monaco – a woman without a handbag. What’s the world coming to?

A fabulous table on the front row, an ideal spot to watch the world go by, or in this case, watch the wealth go by.

We order drinks – beer for the boys G & T for the woman without a bag. The drinks are expensive but if you want to sit in the best spot in town, you must be prepared to pay. Worth every cent!

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We travel a lot, we stay in nice resorts & hotels. We eat in excellent restaurants wherever we go. Dingle, our hometown is The Foodie Capital of Ireland.

What I’m trying to say is I’m Overwhelmed, Gobsmacked 😶 by the overindulgence, the wealth, the style, the fashion, THE HANDBAGS, the shoes  👠 👠👠 & the cars 🏎.

So much opulence in one place. I’m enthralled, I’m watching a catwalk of fashion, a vintage car rally, a who’s wearing the most expensive shoes competition, a dog show and hundreds of  tourists like me trying to take it all in. I’m loving it, savoring every second. Dara & myself judging the best dressed ! (I’m no expert) Brian’s imagination takes him to The Grand Prix.

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My Prince 💫💫💫

The Principality of Monaco measures just two square kilometres, but it’s a show stopper, sensational, impressive.  A fairy-tale principality wouldn’t be complete without a palace, a resident prince and princess. 

 

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The foyer of The Hotel Paris. The Belle Epoque architecture , the crystal chandeliers combine to create a sense of decadence.

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The ceiling of the dining room – La Salle des Fêtes , Hotel de Paris. Magnifique

Shamelessly extravagant, this hotel offers the chance to sample the highlife – at least for an afternoon.

 

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Birds of paradise are everywhere, reminding you that maybe this Principality is paradise on earth.

Weeks before the Monaco Grand Prix, the vintage cars start arriving for The Historical Grand Prix. The barricades are annoying but the variety of vintage cars passing by compensate for the inconvenience.

 

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We reluctantly bid au revoir to Hotel & Café de Paris and cross the street to The Monte Carlo Casino.

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BBB46187-935D-49E3-AA2F-A81116F5BA9EPhoto Credit: Monte Carlo Tourism

The European Room at the Casino de Monte Carlo.

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The Casino is closed, we don’t mind, we’ve no interest in the casino. We love the Belle Époque architecture & the ambience. Funny faces in the foyer 🤣🤣🤣

 

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Cool car parked at the side of the casino.

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The glitz and the glam in Monte Carlo isn’t only for humans.

Check out this beauty salon and accessory shop for pets.

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Loving the jewellery.

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Cuteness Overload 🐶🐶🐶

Time for a late lunch. We saw a fabulous seafood restaurant overlooking the impressive Monaco port when we arrived, La Maree Restaurant. We arrive and the place is full. I ask if there is any table available.

“Do you have a reservation? …….. One moment, I have a cancellation, one table left, the best one in the restaurant, please follow me, this way” The luck of the Irish ☘️               A corner table overlooking the port and also the beautiful town of Monte Carlo. Spectacular finish to our day in Monte Carlo.

 

F6DE3A39-1808-43FA-AD33-173DB2AF1DCBPhoto credit: La Maree

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Photo credit: La Maree

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Brian’s menu pose✨✨✨

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Michelin Star Fish

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Top class meal, excellent food & service. Great company. Another beautiful Île Flottante.

The perfect end to a fairy- tale day.

Fairytale : Monte Carlo & Princess Grace (Grace Kelly)

Grace, who is celebrated for films like Rear Window and To Catch a Thief, became an Oscar-winner for her performance alongside Bing Crosby in The Country Girl.

The Oscar

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Photo credit: Getty Images

Grace retired from acting at 26-years-old to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco.

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The Engagement Ring : a 10.5-carat emerald-cut diamond flanked by two baguettes, from Cartier.

 

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The Wedding Dress : Princess Grace on her wedding day 1956

 

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Princess Grace visited Ireland on three occasions in 1961, 1976 and 1979.

Princess Grace died tragically following a car crash in 1982.

“She was a very loving and caring mother,” Albert told CBS Sunday Morning. “She not only made sure that she gave us enough attention and enough love and that we had everything we needed, but she was so caring toward other people, too.”

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The Princess Grace Rose Garden first opened on 18 June 1984. Prince Rainier III wanted to create a place in memory of his wife Princess Grace.

“You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met. Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own. No question, I’ll miss her, we’ll all miss her, God bless you, Princess Grace.”

Rainier, who did not remarry, was buried alongside her in 2005. R.I.P. Princess Grace.

We take the train back to Antibes. More memories made in Monaco.

The Principality of Monaco gave us a small taste of life in the jet-setting lane.  

 

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Slán go fóill – Bye for now,

Blogger to be,

Máiréad

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Monte Carlo, Monaco Revisited”

  1. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for your lovely comment. It was a wonderful experience. Such a pleasure to share experiences with my husband Brian and our boys. So many more memories to share.
    I love reading your adventures too 😘😘🐶

    Like

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