April 3, 2022
We have been to Monaco before and were looking forward to tour tour today which was taking us to Eze, France (have visited before and loved it) Nice (new to us) and Monte Carlo (visited before ). The tour was called Jewels of the Cote D’azur
Our guide was Bridget and our driver was Marino.
The Principality of Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, second only to the Vatican. It is only 5000 acres and has a population of 38,000. 8000 are citizens and the rest are residents. About 120 different nationalities live here and it is a magnet for sports stars, entertainers, etc. Elton John and Bono both have houses here. It is one of the world’s most notorious tax havens (residents pay no income tax). I asked Bridget about the residency requirement for residents and she said it is 6 months but is very hard to prove or enforce. The people who work here cannot afford to live here. It is also famous for the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix, held every year since 1929. We will visit here later in the tour.
Our first visit on this tour was to Eze. This village has winding roads that reach a height of 1000 feet. No cars are allowed on the road. We visited here many years ago and really enjoyed it. Many of the shops were closed when we arrived early but opened up later. Two five star hotels are located here.
On the way we passed another yacht, the Olivia O which is 250 feet long and is valued at 250 million Euros.
The views from the top were so beautiful.
After visiting Eze, we traveled by the middle corniche road, which is the road that Princess Grace was traveling in 1982 when she ran off the road and died the next day. She is still beloved by the people and her son, Prince Albert, is the reigning prince.
Nice was next on our visit. It is the 5th largest city in France and one of the oldest.It was originally built by Greeks. Today there is a “semi marathon on the promenade so it is closed from 4 AM to 2 PM. We did get to see some of the runners and had a chance to be on the promenade. There is a man made beach but no sand, just pebbles.
We walked to the market which was outdoors and very nice. Bridget told us about Socca which is a crepe like dish served in waxed paper and eaten by hand. It is made mostly from chick peas. You see these little carts around the market bringing the Socca, which is made off site, to the stands to sell. It is hot and delicious and you can tell it is popular because people are lined up to wait for it. It looks like a huge flat pizza before it is cut.
We also visited the Cathedral of Nice.
I had to stop by the chocolate shop where they had delicious choices! LAC Chocolatier.
We enjoyed the market and it was chilly and windy today but we dressed for it and were very comfortable.
The flower market was so pretty, we bought a bouquet to have in our room on the ship.
This was the most amazing gelato shop I have ever seen. There must have been almost 75 flavors and some were flower based. Bridget said her favorite is the violet. It was too cool for me to try it though.
We returned to Monaco via the lower corniche which hugs the see for our last stop in Monaco and Monte Carlo. We went to the Rock, known as Le Rocher, which just out on the south side of the port and is home to the royal palace. We were too late for the changing of the guard at noon (they change every hour, but the noon one is the one to see). We have been here before and have seen it, so nothing to miss. There is a wonderful aquarium here founded by Jacques Cousteau and the yellow submarine of Beatles song fame is outside of the aquarium. There are no homeless or pickpockets in Monaco because there are cameras everywhere.
We walked on to casino square in Monte Carlo and were allowed in to the main room and one of the small gambling rooms with no charge. If you want to gamble (no time for that for us), you pay a $17 entry fee. The area around the casino often has the most expensive cars you would ever see parked there. Today we only saw Rolls Royce and Bentley. Ho hum, we see them in Palm Beach!
The Grand Opera House, the Hotel de Paris and other casinos, palace-hotels and grand cafes surround casino square. There are also some lovely gardens.
The graves of Princess Grace and Prince Rainer in the Cathedral.
That’s our reflection in the middle of this large mirror in the square!
This is the famous tunnel that the Grand Prix goes through. The grandstands are already set up and a seat costs about $600 Euros. They are all sold out!
This area is known as Cote D’azur and it gets about 300 days of sun per year, a warm temperate climate. Here too, Bridget says they haven’t had enough rain. Real estate is extremely costly here. In the French Riviera towns, 10 square feet in an apartment costs about 10,000 Euros. In Monaco it is 10 square feet for 50,000 Euros.
At each stop we had free time and we wandered around each city. We returned to the ship later than the time posted but because this was a ship sponsored tour, they waited for us.
Then we got our belongings organized as they will change our room tomorrow.