Category Archives: Monaco

Monaco

We were driving in France, approaching the Italian border when we made a stop at an “aire” (highway stop) to take a panoramic glimpse (and take photos) of Monaco, probably more than a thousand meters below where we were.

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Montecarlo

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A multi-million-euro rooftop apartment with its gardens

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Penthouse pools

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The cemetery bordered by cypress trees

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Monaco is a popular cruise ship destination.

 

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Casino de Montecarlo

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Charlie enjoying the sights of Monaco below.

Monaco in Photos


Man in sunglasses: I earned six million euros in my sleep.


A policeman is a permanent fixture on this spot. Not only that he gives a more humane side of the city (in the photograph) but he can also assist lost drivers and pedestrians…


Every school holiday, the Port of Monaco is transformed into a Funfair of rides, food stalls and games.
This one is for the All Saints’ Day school holidays.


A family that plays together stays together


In Monaco, even trees are tourist attractions..


This olive tree is probably a hundred year old


Fido says if you don’t want to pose .. I will (thanks to my friend, Lou, for the caption!)


Out for a sandwich break!


Even without the gaming income, Casino de Montecarlo earns a fortune each day coming from visitors paying entrance tickets for the chance to see the gaming rooms.


They seem to be debating whether to go inside the casino or not! (casino is the building at the back)


Chandelier in Opera de Montecarlo


The Grimaldi family: Prince Rainier and Princess Grace with their 3 children: Albert, Caroline and Stephanie


Almost the entire 2 square kilometer size of Monaco is an urban area.


My idol, seen in Monaco


The entrance to the casino. Photography is not allowed inside


Despite the restricted land space of the world’s second smallest country, Monaco boasts of many parks.
How do they do it? They build them on top of buildings


This 5-star Belle Epoque style Hermitage Hotel is owned by the same owner of the Casino de Montecarlo


Opera de Montecarlo


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Several cruise ships bringing thousands of passengers dock in Monaco Port every day all year round

Window-shopping (Part 2)…. in Monaco

Previous: Let’s go window-shopping


If a third-hand is cheaper then I’m interested!


Those are second-hand…who can tell!


Even a second hand LV still looks an LV!


(still second hand)…Shame.. too small for me


Chopard mini-umbrellas.. errrr… watches


Most shops display the photo of the Prince and his Princess.. This is a second hand shop.


A city of racing cars need shoes for drivers of racing cars!


The rich still needs toilet accessories fit for the rich!


Can’t make up his mind! red, black, grey….


If it’s Gucci, it must be good!


No, they are not auctioning the car. The man with the number 40 sign is a tourist guide.
These tourists just arrived from a cruise ship and they are about to enter the Casino which is the building behind them.

Photowalking in Monaco

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!

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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.

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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

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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).

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Not far behind is the non-stop buzzing sound of helicopters, approaching and taking off!  I have reached the vicinity of Monaco Heliport.

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Helicopters waiting for their super-rich passengers at Monaco Heliport

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This man seemed to have fallen in love with one of the helicopters!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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The mosaic tiled roof of Saint Nicolas Church as seen from the Fontvieille garden.

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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?

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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!

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The rose garden is even made beautiful by perfectly sculpted olive trees like this one.

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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.

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A floral marker to an apartment complex named “Les Eucalyptus”

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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.

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The Port of Fontvieille with the hovering skyline of Monaco in the background.

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The rock on the right is the beginning of “le Rocher” where the old town and the Palace are situated.

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Seen from an elevated walkway going towards the Museum of Stamps and Money as well as the Old Automobiles Exhibition House

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Voila, here is the museum for you – vintage car lovers!

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Metallic structures are being installed along the path of the Monaco Grand Prix coming up in May.

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This one is on the way going up the Casino de Montecarlo

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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!

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It’s busy with tourists that day in nearby Hotel de Paris….probably passengers from the  Clipper which I saw moored in the waters…

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A Spring Art Festival is going on

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I never get tired photographing the Belle Epoque facade of the Casino..

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Whoah…. some activity going on here!

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Cool car…is this the reason for all this hullabaloo?

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Reminds me of a grasshopper’s eyes!

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It’s Prince Albert…!

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An Ashton Martin Vantage (green) and a gull-wing door beauty (blue)..

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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!”

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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…

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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…

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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!

Christmas in Monaco

One thing I love doing during the holiday season is going on a Christmas exploration of villages, towns or cities near us to see the colourful festive decorations, the magical Christmas markets and themed activities.  Yesterday, we went to Monaco, the land of the filthy rich and famous which is exhibiting a 19th Century English Village as its theme.  H, an Englishman who had been living outside of his country for the last 31 years , is naturally excited so he didn’t need convincing. 

You might say that a visit to Monaco is bank-breaking, Not at all!  Would you believe if I tell you that we spent only 4-euros going and coming?  Let me share with you how we did it:

First:  From home, we drove the car to Menton, a town just 20-minute bus-drive away to Monaco

Second:  So that we don’t have to spend for any carpark fees in Monaco which costs a fortune per minute, we took the shuttle bus to the Principality where we paid only 1-euro per person one-way.

Third:  Before catching the bus, we had our picnic lunch by the sea in Menton, watching the turquoise-blue Mediterranean while enjoying our ham and cheese sandwich!

Fourth:  Full and satisfied, we didn’t need to spend for anything to nibble nor drink in Monaco.  The fact that we got there and saw really stunning sights and valuable Christmas decorating ideas without spending a single centime is already enjoyment with a capital “E”!

Enjoy browsing!

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The giant ferris wheel

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The festive Casino de Montecarlo

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It’s Winter Wonderland infront of the Casino

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Inside the Cafe de Paris Casino

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Santa Clauses about to play Christmas carols

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A-da-da-da….

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“Guignol” or  marionette show

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The Christmas market

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Lady:  “Let me see if I have some coins for a carousel ride.”

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The Olympic-size swimming pool which is transformed into a skating rink every Christmas time

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—– and finally, the non-Christmassy stuff that makes Monaco, MONACO!

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Great! For 1/3 of its population comprising of billionaires, 3M euros for a 1-Bedroom flat is peanuts!

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The 5-star Belle Epoque styled Hermitage Hotel

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Soul-searching at the Casino steps

—– AND THE BAGS! ——

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