2022 Mediterranean Adventure – Monaco

Post # 5 in my Mediterranean Adventure Series – Cannes, The French Riviera, Monte Carlo, and Monaco.

The next port – third stop on the Norwegian Mediterranean Cruise – was Cannes, France – our first French port. I was looking forward to this port as it checked off two major items on my bucket list – visit the French Riviera and visit the home of Princess Grace of Monaco. Excursions on this port covered Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, and Monaco with some other options around that area of the French Riviera. The excursion I chose was a 7.5 hour “Monaco on Your Own” tour. The bus took us to the parking garage that had access to the top of the “rock” where Monaco is located – more on that later.

Cannes is a tendering port – the large cruise ships are too big to dock in the port, so they anchor out in the sea and passengers are tendered in smaller boats into the docks. We arrived at 7:17 am and had to be back on the ship no later than 4:00 pm. My excursion began at 8:15 am.

Selfie on the tender waiting to sail to the docks…..

One of the other tenders so you can see what they looked like

Views of Cannes in the French Riviera from the tender

Scenes from the bus window on the way to Monaco

The Rock of Monaco

Monaco

WOW…..the highlight of the trip was Monaco!!! I loved Rome and Tuscany, but Monaco was simply STUNNING – immaculate and perfect!!! It is the second smallest country after Vatican City. It is officially Principality of Monaco and classified as a sovereign city-state. Monaco is bordered by France on the north, east, and west and covers an area just shy of one square mile. Monaco City sits high up on a rock (known as the Rock of Monaco) overlooking the French Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea. From inside the parking garage the bus had to park, we took two escalators, one elevator, and one more escalator to get up to Monaco City. We drove through Monte Carlo, which is also part of Monaco and located at the base of the rock, to get there. Monte Carlo is, of course, famous for gambling and the Formula One Grand Prix road race…..the bus driver let us know when we were at each of the critical points on the race circuit. There was a young fan on the bus, so the driver stopped at the starting point and took off making the sound of a race car gaining speed in the microphone! It was cool and definitely thrilled the young lad!

French is the official language and the euro is their sole currency. Although not officially part of the European Union, they do participate in many of the EU policies. Monaco is widely widely recognized as one of the most expensive and wealthiest places in the world and is the most densely populated sovereign city-state in the world.

Monaco got a lot of media attention when Prince Rainier of Monaco married American actress Grace Kelly in 1956. It was a fairy tale romance that captured hearts world wide and gave America a princess to call their own. Princess Grace was loved the world over and there are many references to her throughout Monaco. The couple had three children – Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stephanie. Princess Grace died in 1982 at the age of 52 from injuries from a car accident after suffering a stroke and losing control of her car. Her teenage daughter, Stephanie, was with her in the car. She suffered some head injuries, but survived the accident. Prince Rainier never remarried and died in 2005. The current Prince of Monaco is their son, Prince Albert, who took reign after his father’s death.

I took in all the sites of Monaco City and Monte Carlo via a hop-on-hop-off tour. I also wandered around Monaco City and had lunch at a little outdoor café across from the Palace. It was an extremely hot day, but there was a beautiful breeze up on the rock and lots of shade, so it was actually very pleasant to walk around and enjoy the amazing little country.

Here are my photos from an incredible day in Monaco.

The first thing you see when coming out of the elevator / escalator garage is the Monaco Oceanographic Marine Sciences Museum. Jacques-Yves Cousteau was the museum director from 1957 to 1988 and the museum is home to much of his work.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s submarine

 

The church where Prince Rainier married Grace Kelly and where they are both buried in the Grimaldi family vault.

The Royal Palace

The palace guards were cuties……just sayin’ LOL

The view from the palace was amazing!!!

The courtyard across from the palace has shops and restaurants. There are more markets and restaurants throughout Monaco City and below the rock in Monte Carlo, as well.

Just some of the HUGE yachts docked in Monte Carlo – the mega rich visiting the French Riviera

I ended my day in Monaco with lunch at a little café across from the Royal Palace. I had blueberry crepes with a peach, strawberry, and apple juice smoothie. YUM!!! After lunch, I strolled back to where I took the escalators and elevator back down to the bus to return to the ship. I wish I could have spent days there just sitting and enjoying the beauty and history.

Once back on the ship, I capped off my day in France with eclairs for dinner’s dessert in the main dining room – YUM – crepes and eclairs in France!!! Dinner that night was OK. I had the the coconut shrimp with orange marmalade for my appetizer – I thought orange marmalade was an odd choice for a dipping sauce, but it was actually quite good! But I wasn’t crazy about the main course – pecan crusted turkey medallions with some kind of greens and couscous under them – not bad, but nothing to write home about.

The entertainment that evening was the Epic Beatles Through The Years show – awesome!!! They same songs and had a few costume changes for each era of Beatles music – the early years, the Sgt Pepper years, the Abbey Road years, and the psychedelic years. During costume changes, they framed the next set with other songs of that period and photos and news that showcased the times! It was really amazing.

Not sure why, but I craved a snack in my cabin after I got my jammies on and tried to wind down from the excitement of the day. A dear friend gave me a box of my favorite Lorna Dunes to take with me, so I opened them up and had my late evening snack!

I slept like a baby – exhausted from my memorable day in Monaco.

The next post will feature Majorca, Spain!

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