Friday, September 11, 2015

The French Riviera: Meet Me in Monaco

Photo Journal: Monaco | July 2015

As a silver screen baby, we watched more black-and-white films at our house than ones in color. My mother always made sure we knew the stars of the old black-and-white films. And no one had more effortless class than the princess herself, Grace Kelly. Naturally I was thrilled to be able to visit the princess's domaine, also called known to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Monaco was our last destination in our little three day excursion to the French Riviera. But I have to tell you something...the whole thing was a bit, well, a bit strange. We arrived at the train station fit for a movie star with our bags after a heart-warming farewell to our more-than-generous hosts in Le Rouret. I was excited. But stepping outside, I was a bit bewildered. There didn't seem to be any clear direction pointing us to where we wanted to go. So we just picked a highway that seemed right by our map and set out, only to end up in a beautiful but reclusive residential area––not what we had in mind. We tried again, this time finding our way to the Exotic Gardens, which turned out to be no more "exotic" than a mini golf course and a playground. Stumped again, we sat and reevaluated our plan. We need to go down the mountain. Monaco has a number of free elevators to transport people from one street to another, as the country is basically built along a steep cliffside. We haphazardly discovered this system only after the hottest part of the day, but managed to reach the main historic center near the sea. After lunching on the second seafood pizza of the trip, we again climbed uphill to the castle. (Note to self: do not eat a whole seafood pizza in 100° heat before climbing up a massive hill). The royal castle wasn't open to visitors, but the cathedral containing the graves of many Monaco royals was, and we got to pass by Grace's grave. The rest of the historic part was a nest of twisting pastel streets, lovely but a bit charmless when bursting with tourists. We didn't stay long before heading back to Nice to catch our train home. In short, Monaco was a lovely place to see, but not a very interesting place to be. Still, it was a dazzling finish to our intoxicating journey through the French Riviera. And Grace, you are still as classic as ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment