Monday, August 25, 2014

Monte Carlo

 July 2014
Having three days to explore Monte Carlo and part of the Cote D'Azur was a great way to start a holiday. Firstly the weather was perfect with maximum temperatures from mid twenties to low thirties Celsius. Coming from winter in Melbourne it was great to see blue skies and enjoy summer.

Monte Carlo has a reputation for being expensive - and it is. However, especially as the area is so small, it is easy to explore on foot and there are plenty of places where you can find good, inexpensive, food - especially on the foreshore. On our first evening we discovered a food outlet, Siklosi, near the marina, and ended up eating there each evening. The fish and chips with calamari rings were great. The marina, of course, is one of the special features of the city.
The architecture in the city is impressive with lots of apartment buildings built in layers up the hill. Every available space is used but generally there is a uniformity of theme in the architecture.
Anything too modern looks out of place.
The city, old and new, nestles into a rocky outcrop which is dominant from most places in the Principality.
There a number of casinos in Monte Carlo but the Grand Casino is possibly the best known. From any angle it is certainly an impressive building.
One evening we walked around to the square facing the other side of this building and watched people coming and going. Off this area run several small streets with shops from all the well known brands in fashion, perfumes and jewellery. The hotel where we stayed had displays in the foyer and other public places for a number of these stores.

The Monaco Grand Prix has run through the streets of Monte Carlo since 1929. During our stay our tour driver took us over a large section of the course, including the grid area and the starting line. We also walked beside sections of the course.
Grand Prix start line
One of the starting grids
Skid marks in the above photo suggest that not only Formula One drivers have started driving from this spot. Next year I will watch at least part of the race with interest.

Monte Carlo is not the place to go for its beaches but we did find a beach when we followed the promenade along the shore away from the city.
The promenade is known as the Champions Promenade where the best known football (soccer) players in the world are invited to imprint their footprints on the promenade.
And last, but not least, there is the Mediterranean Sea.

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