Thursday, June 4, 2020

Monaco and Monte Carlo

November 5, 2011 by  
Filed under travel

One place every world traveler should visit is Monaco. It is a Principality that is less than one square mile, but holds beauty, wealth, and Grace (Grace Kelly that is!). Here are some of the sights to see and things to note in Monaco:

Grace Kelly, the famous actress, married Prince Albert of Monaco. She was Princess of this beautiful, and wealthy city. She was married in the beautiful Cathedral in Monaco. It was originally built in the Gothic style, but years later was torn down, and now is in the Grecco Roman Style. It is a beautiful Cathedral with high painted ceilings, frescoes, and is steeped in history. Grace Kelly’s tomb is located in the Cathedral, and if you visit and are lucky enough to catch it when it is not undergoing renovations or cleaning, you can visit her tomb, and light a candle for her. Upon visiting the Cathedral, many remark on how surprisingly small it is, one would imagine it to be much larger. However, it is extremely beautiful, and faces the sea!

Speaking of the Sea, one of the things to be wary of when walking the streets of Monaco is the gulls. They often perch on monuments and statues, and if you are not careful, they may snatch a sandwich, croissant, or other delicious tidbit right from your hands. It is best to eat in one of the covered verandas or patios, so they have limited access to your food.

One of the sights you may want to see if you visit Monaco is the changing of the guard. It happens at 11 am daily. These are the Prince’s guard, and the small battalion of guards will march from the guard palace, which is across the square from the castle, to the castle, do a few drills, and then change out the guards on duty at the entrances to the castle. In the winter months the guards wear black uniforms, and in the summer, white, as temperatures can get quite high and they must stand at attention in the entrance for several hours.

Monaco boasts a beautiful Botanical Gardens which hosts several types of vegetation, well manicured lawns, beautiful statues, and ponds, etc. It is a beautiful place to see the sea to one side, and a hill of cactus, flowers, trees, and plants of all kinds to the other side.

One of the interesting things about Monaco is that it is a city of both the old and the new. It can be divided into two parts, one of which is fairly new, with big buildings, and a lovely harbor for the yachts. The other is the more medieval side, with buildings dating back but no less beautiful or well maintained.

Wealth abounds in Monaco. It is the wealthiest country in the world, and has the strongest economy. It has a Casino in Monte Carlo. It charges no taxes to the natives, and low taxes to the other inhabitants, but makes up for that by charging tourists, and those entering the city large amounts. If you take a bus into the country, the bus must pay a fee of 100 or more Euro. Cars can get in free, but finding parking along the narrow streets is difficult at best.

Of course, one of the things this area is best known for is the Grand Prix, which takes place every year in May. It takes place right on the actual streets of the country, which are narrow and wind about with sharp turns and angles.

It is a beautiful place to visit!

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