Feeling Royal today?
We’re going to escape to Monaco,
so get ready to channel your inner Grace Kelly.
Monaco is a tiny country (the second smallest in the world),
located on the French Riviera.
Officially, it’s called The Principality of Monaco.
It’s located on the far Eastern French border
and is surrounded by France on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea.
A short 20 minute bus ride will take you from Nice to Monaco.
The ride is beautiful and peaceful with ocean views the entire way,
and you don’t even have to show your passport for entry.
When you get to Monaco, you should immediately start
up the mountain to Monaco-Ville.
This is the oldest part of Monaco and home to the Prince’s Palace.
And remember: you’re in the late Prince Rainier’s country.
Of course, it’s now run by his son Prince Albert II.
After a beautiful 15 minute hike up the mountain,
you’ll land in Palace Square (Place du Palais).
and heavily guarded all the time.
So don’t try anything clever.
I was tempted.
The locals refer to the rock that makes Monaco-Ville
as Le Rocher, or “The Rock.”
The views from the top are stunning,
and it’s a great place to get oriented.
If you look out over the rock,
you’ll see a mountain known as
little Hong Kong look-alike.
We stopped here for the view and asked someone to take our picture.
Apparently, she’s a famous professional photographer.
I couldn’t understand her name clearly, but it was pretty cool nonetheless.
Look away from the mountain,
and you’ll see a port with lots of fancy boats.
From here, you can walk around the entire mountain (or rock, if you prefer).
Monaco quickly became one of my favorite parts of the trip.
It’s quiet, pristine, and just downright lovely.
One of my favorite things was finding the Grace Kelly
“stops” all over Monaco-Ville.
They still love their Princess as much as they did
when she was in the Palace.
The boards give quick facts
and even show you spots that she frequented.
We visited the Cathédrale de Monaco
where she and Prince Rainier were married.
It’s overlooking the ocean, by the way.
Upon walking into the Cathedral,
my breath was literally taken away.
It’s more stunning than these images can say.
Behind the altar, you’ll find the burial sites of the Royal family.
I am in love with her Royal Monogram.
From the Catherdral, walk to Jardin Exotique.
The cliffside garden feels like a little slice of Heaven.
And the views…
The views are appropriately described by Rick Steves as “eye-popping.”
From here, you can see Italy on one side AND France on the other.
How cool is that?
Because a lot of wealthy people live in Monaco
(and the wealthy come here to retire, too),
you’ll see an impressive number of boats sailing around.
This is a great place to breathe deeply
and just take it all in.
After you’ve come back to reality,
finish a slow walk around the cliff,
and take in the Monaconess.
The old gates to Monaco-Ville:
If you have time, visit the other two tourist areas of Monaco–
Monte Carlo (where the casino fun lies)
and La Condamine (the port between Monaco-Ville and Monte Carlo).
We ran out of time to visit Monte Carlo,
but I did snag a postcard of the Monte Carlo hotel featured in
To Catch a Thief.
On your way out, be sure to stop by Palace Square one more time.
Take in the Palace views and try to think about which window
Grace Kelly gazed out of most frequently as Princess.
Oh, and if you go in April, you’re in luck.
That’s the month that you can get a sneak peek of the inside.
Not exactly sure why April is the special month, but don’t question it.
Get the tour while you can!
I hope you enjoyed Monaco!
Let’s all retire to this French Riviera country one day, shall we?
If you haven’t watched To Catch a Thief, do it.
You’ll get all of the gorgeous views of Monaco
and the French Riviera.
And…Grace Kelly and Cary Grant.
Need I say more?