The other day, I wrote about getting lost in Cap d’Ail where I discovered a footpath that gave me stunning views of the bay and its impressive villas. That footpath is actually 3.6 kms long – one end leads to the equally awesome Beaulieu sur-Mer and the other – to the land of the filthy rich, that is Monaco!
Well, I promised myself that I shall go back to Cap d’Ail to explore the path to Prince Albert’s Principality, but just as soon as I finished murmuring the words, I was back before I knew it! I actually went to do some important “ten-minute” errand yesterday, in neighbouring Menton, and since Cap d’Ail is just half an hour bus away, I grabbed the chance!
This is the coastal path: looks very long indeed but in truth, it’s practically effortless walking the kilometers-long distance since you are rewarded by staggering views .. and accompanied by other walkers and joggers.
At the last beach of Cap d’Ail which borders Monaco, I stopped for ages admiring one of my most favorite jaw-dropping spring flowers – The Pride of Madeira
But I shall talk about that walk in my future post and will fast forward the tape by taking you to the Monaco-part of the journey.
M O N A C O
This sculpture of a couple sitting in the park welcomes everyone entering Monaco from Cap d’Ail. It’s just one among many “Sitting Couple on a Bench” creations (and currently exhibited worldwide) of the celebrated British sculptor, Lynn Chadwick (1914 – 2003).
Not far behind is the non-stop buzzing sound of helicopters, approaching and taking off! I have reached the vicinity of Monaco Heliport.
Helicopters waiting for their super-rich passengers at Monaco Heliport
This man seemed to have fallen in love with one of the helicopters!
Opposite the Heliport is the Big Top of Monaco where the International Circus Festival is held annually and a regular venue for concerts, shows and charitable activities where Prince Albert and the Royal Family are patrons.
Next to it is an oasis of tranquility….the Fontvieille garden. Fontvieille is the youngest district, the cornerstone laid by then Crown Prince Albert in 1981. It is an area of Monaco reclaimed from the sea.
Not far away is Fernando Botero’s 1987 sculpture, “Woman smoking a cigarette”. Here, she is sunbathing in the nude with a cigarette in one hand
I nearly missed this sculpture of a man in a horse, installed near the Heliport. It’s hidden by a thick overgrowth and a huge road maintenance van seemingly parked permanently on the road infront of it, hence, making it invisible to monument-tracking-tourists.
The mosaic tiled roof of Saint Nicolas Church as seen from the Fontvieille garden.
I had the chance to get closer – by mistake, as I got lost again -to the Church of Saint Nicolas and saw his statue just standing at the entrance. Installed in 1988 and a creation of sculptor Riccia, doesn’t he look adorable with children here?
In English, his name translates to “Santa Claus”….got the connection?
Ahh..a great discovery indeed! That’s the reward of walking, you get to stumble upon gems such as this one – The Princess Grace Rose Garden!
As the name implies, this garden houses around 4,000 rose treess, 150 varieties of which come from all over the world and each plot is dedicated to legendary personalities such as Victor Hugo, Claude Monet, Charles de Gaulle, Prince Rainier, Princess Stephanie,…
There is another reason to go back to this spot – when the roses are in full bloom!
The rose garden is even made beautiful by perfectly sculpted olive trees like this one.
Seeing these ladies reminded me that it’s lunchtime. Luckily, I have a sandwich and bottle of water handy, just a bench needed to have my picnic! That’s the way to NOT TO spend a centime in Monaco.
A floral marker to an apartment complex named “Les Eucalyptus”
You can pop your postcards in postal boxes like this one. You won’t miss it as it sports the same colours of the Monegasque flag.
The Port of Fontvieille with the hovering skyline of Monaco in the background.
The rock on the right is the beginning of “le Rocher” where the old town and the Palace are situated.
Seen from an elevated walkway going towards the Museum of Stamps and Money as well as the Old Automobiles Exhibition House
Voila, here is the museum for you – vintage car lovers!
Metallic structures are being installed along the path of the Monaco Grand Prix coming up in May.
This one is on the way going up the Casino de Montecarlo
I’ve reached the Casino area and noticed these colourful flags and tennis balls attached to each post. Ahaaa….the Davis Cup and Rolex Tennis Masters coming soon, of course!
It’s busy with tourists that day in nearby Hotel de Paris….probably passengers from the Clipper which I saw moored in the waters…
A Spring Art Festival is going on
I never get tired photographing the Belle Epoque facade of the Casino..
Whoah…. some activity going on here!
Cool car…is this the reason for all this hullabaloo?
Reminds me of a grasshopper’s eyes!
It’s Prince Albert…!
An Ashton Martin Vantage (green) and a gull-wing door beauty (blue)..
Prince Albert having an open-air meeting with British ex-minister turned racing driver, Paul Drayson. He is the owner of the Ashton Martin vantage car which he uses in his racing ventures.
Okay, I took a lot of shots of Prince Albert. Practically swooning over him as he is very handsome and extremely elegant. I even commented to one of his security men, ‘ Gosh, he’s handsome!”…And his reply, “Sorry, he’s taken!”
But I have to catch the bus to home so I had to leave the Prince and turned my attention to the tulips of the Casino garden – actually the main reason why I came to Monaco…
Every Springtime, the Casino garden is ablazed with tulips. Last year, they were mostly reds and yellows. This year, I didn’t see any yellows at all – but amazing still! This is my favorite shot…
And last shot…but not the least, before I went to the bus stop, I saw this beautiful relationship of two trees.
Till death do us part…..is a well-fitting caption!