Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Monaco - the Non-Gardening Edition

I am back from the beautiful country of Monaco!  A whirlwind four day-three night trip sandwiched between dropping the kids off in Georgia (the state, not the country) to stay with the grandparents has made for a nice long, travel-filled vacation.

Monaco
Monaco was gorgeous.  Located on the French Riviera, I can definitely see why the area is called "the Azure Coast."  Blue skies, blue water, and perfect weather were in abundance on our trip.

This is a section of the nearby coast of France, right outside Monaco. 
According to our tour guide (who was a living issue of People magazine), Bono and Elton John both have houses here.
Monaco is the world's second smallest country (behind Vatican City) with an area of less than one square mile!  It has a population of around 36,000 people in this area, making it the most densely populated country in the world.  There isn't room for an airport (we flew into Nice, France), but it does have an International Heliport!

A view of the Monte Carlo casino
Our hotel was in Monte Carlo, the most famous section of Monaco and well known for its beautiful casino.  We didn't visit the casino, having so many other things to see in our short trip and not feeling a great urge to lose some money!

Surprisingly, citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble or even go into the casino.
We only saw the casino from a distance.  In the picture above you can see scaffolding in front of it - this is for seating for the big event coming up this week - the Monaco Grand Prix!  Everywhere we saw preparations going on for the race - there were gates and walls of tires to shield buildings (just in case!) and stands of seats with giant screens nearby.

Here you can view the race from the stands or from your yacht!
Monaco, which has no income tax, is home to the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world.  I have never seen so many Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Rolls-Royces in my life, not to mention a Bugatti (a car I had never heard of, but my excited husband assured me it goes really, really fast).  My husband got the thrill of his life when we went out for a fancy dinner and he was asked by the hostess if he owned the red Ferrari parked outside (one that we had been standing next to ogling).

Mais oui, Madame, but we seem to have misplaced our valet stub... Perhaps you could just give us the keys?
Of course there was also some beautiful architecture...

Saint Nicholas Cathedral, where many members of the royal family are buried, including Grace Kelly
the courthouse in Monaco
However, I think the most stunning attraction of Monaco is the beautiful rocky cliffs against which the country is nestled. 


With a dearth of available land, houses and other buildings are built right up against the cliffs.


I'm not even quite sure how you get up to some of the houses that were perched up there!  I'm sure it offered an amazing view, though.

An exterior wall of the Musée Océanographique de Monaco
With its mild Mediterranean climate, there is an abundance of plant life in Monaco, even on the cliff faces, and several exquisite gardens are located there.  But I think all those pictures will need to spill into another post!

a cliff-side pathway overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

13 comments:

  1. Wow, how exciting to take a once in a lifetime trip like this. The coastline is breathtaking.

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    1. It was amazing. It was such a fabulous opportunity. I wish it would become a twice in a lifetime trip!

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  2. What a wonderful trip!! It took me back to my teenage years when I spent several summers on the Cote D'Azur vacationing. At the time people watching was a fascinating pastime in places like this. Now I would be more interested in the plants. Did you go to the Jardin Exotique?

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    1. How fun! As far as the Jardin Exotique - well, I went to one, but it was the wrong one! (More on that in another post..) It has such a mild climate - great for growing such a variety of plants!

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  3. Oh how exciting Indie! What a beautiful place. How do they build on those cliffs. The buildings are beautiful and so interesting. Too bad you didn't have a ticket stub for that car. LOL!

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    1. My husband was also very sad about that! :)

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  4. I know I would love to visit this place. Your tour was such an exciting adventure for me. The scenery and architecture really perked my interest, even though I know I will never visit first hand.

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    1. There were several different kinds of interesting architecture there, which I'm sure you would love. Royalty from different areas had built houses that are still there. I remember seeing one very interesting house that I think was built by the Shah of Iran? A beautiful place! I was so thrilled to get the chance to visit this area.

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing. It looks like you got to dress up and see the town and what a beautiful place it is.

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    1. We had so much fun dressing up and going out. It was such a great opportunity (especially since my husband's company paid for it!)

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  6. The Côte d'Azur is lovely! We always stay in Antibes, a train ride west of Monaco. We've been through Monaco on the way to Menton, but didn't stop to check it out.

    Wine cups -- you asked about growing from seeds in your comment on my blog. I've not tried this from seeds myself as I ran across the plant. You can buy seeds. i've not tried collecting from the cups in my garden as they open/close and bloom off/on so that it's difficult to determine when they are ready. I've not seen any seedlings so far.

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    1. The whole area was so beautiful. I'd love to go back sometime and check out more of the coast.

      Thanks so much for the info! I haven't seen wine cup plants sold in nurseries in the area, but I might have to get some if I see any!

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  7. Oh boy...more holiday snaps...YAWN Zzzzzz Zzzzzz Zzzzzz...BUT WAIT (Again!)...fascinating facts about Monaco that I never knew. Entertained & educated in one posting...now there's value for money...lol xx

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