In the summer of 2014 we went to the Côte d’Azur on a holiday. We did heaps of beautiful day trips and one of them was a trip to Monaco. As this state is so small, you can easily visit it for one day (of course if you’re lucky enough to spend more time over there please do!!). Today and next week I will give you some tips on what to see and do in this city-state. We arrived in Monaco quite early, I guess it was about 9.30 am. We parked our very humble Renault in a car park in the Larvotto tunnel. This tunnel is famous because of the F1 race in Monaco and some drivers passing through that tunnel really think they should race like Lewis Hamilton… well… most of them have the appropriate car anyway, so why shouldn’t they 🙂
We immediately took a bus to the Jardin Exotique de Monaco, a beautiful garden with a wide variety of exotic plants. This unique garden opened in 1933. The bus dropped us off at the entrance and following a winding path in the garden, borderded with beautiful plants, we made our way towards the exit. There are a lot of different cactus plants in the garden and you often get treated to fabulous views down the Méditerranée. Enjoy… soak up the beautiful surroundings… relax!!
After our visit to this beautiful garden, we wanted to go down to the old part of Monaco to visit the museum of Prince Rainier III’s private collection of antique cars. I knew we had to take stairs and elevators to get to this museum… I even had a map… but this system really is quite complicated! We ended up asking a local who was so friendly to take us all the way down to where we were headed… we couldn’t thank him enough because it would have taken us so much time to find our way!
In the collection of Prince Rainier’s cars are more than 100 vehicules to be seen… all presented by class or period. There are horse-drawn carriages, vintage cars, sports cars, cars used in films,… I’m personally not that into cars, but you can always play ‘which car do you like best’ of course 🙂 I had a couple of favourites… there was this pale blue vintage cabrio which was used in Hitchcock’s ‘To catch a thief’ featuring Grace Kelly and then there was this fab red fifties Ferrari… Now I would gladly take that for a spin down the Larvotto tunnel!
Leaving the museum we strolled towards the old part of Monaco and watched the guards at the Palace. The Palace was restored during the reign of Prince Rainier III and the State Apartmens can now be visited from June to October. We didn’t go inside as that would’ve taken too long, but if you’re lucky enough to visit Monaco for longer than a day, I wouldn’t hesitate as the State Apartments are stuffed with lots of art!
We did however ended up having a drink on a terrace right across the palace and watched the world go by for a while, enjoying our view of the beautiful palace.
Strolling down the narrow and winding streets of the ancient part of Monaco, we passed the Monaco Cathedral. The white-stoned cathedral makes a beautiful contrast to the blue sky and sea. We went into the cathedral to cool down for a bit as it was a really nice (read HOT!) day. Inside the cathedral we visited the graves of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.
And then it was onto the glitter and glamour of Monaco… but that’s for next week! Don’t miss it as I’ve got plenty more photos to share with you…