Monday, May 19, 2014

Moon Over Monaco

We took a Mediterranean cruise back in November of 2013. I know, I know. "Another cruise?" You might be asking. There is just so much to see, and so little time to see it and cruise boats are a great way to get around Europe. At least the part of Europe that touches the ocean.

Before we got on our boat, we made a little stop over in Monaco. 

First. Where is Monaco?

Monaco is a teeny, tiny country in the southeast of France. It is surrounded by France on all three sides.

See that itty-bitty red dot down there in the corner? That's Monaco. (And don't get it confused with Morocco. They sound similar, but they are oh so different...)


This here is also Monaco. Those mountains out in the sunset are France.

Monaco-France sunset

The border of France and Monaco provides some beautiful sunsets, as you can see.

We were staying in nearby Nice and only ventured in to see some of the sights in Monaco.

Monte Carlo casino, Monaco

Sights like this. The Monte Carlo Casino, playground of the fabulously wealthy and beautiful.

Monaco ocean front bay

Or the sights of all the yachts and boats anchored in the harbor.

Monte Carlo racing

Monaco has two famous car races every year. The Monaco Grand Prix and the Monte Carlo Rally. We didn't see any racing, but we did see this statue celebrating Monaco's famous racing past.


In fact, some of the cars we did see wouldn't go at all. While standing in front of a grocery store eating some pizza, a man with a woman and baby in his car was struggling to get it started. He would turn the key and all that the car would elicit was the tell-tale clicking of a dead battery. Matt approached him and asked him if he wanted a push. He spoke no English so Matt acted out pushing the car. The man eagerly shook his head and said "Oui! Oui!" Matt, Alexander, and Aidan then got behind his car and pushed him into the street. He popped his clutch and sputtered away with a shout of "Merci!" out his window. One good deed done.

Here is a view of the fortified section of the old town of Monte Carlo. Prince Albert II, the current ruler of Monaco, lives not far from here in his palace. Monaco has been ruled by the Grimaldi family for over 700 years. Through out that 700 years, they have only had the one palace to reign from, where as other monarchs built new castles and palaces all the time. Why didn't the Grimaldis build some new digs? Seven hundred years is a looooong time to live in one place. The reason they didn't was real estate. Monaco kind of lacks it. They are small. Like really small. Actually, Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and the most densely populated. It has the area of less than a square mile, and in that area of less than a square mile they have crammed over 36,000 people in to it. 

Monaco France border

The city is part of Monaco, but the hills above the city are France. In this picture the whole country of Monaco is shown.


But don't feel too bad for Monaco just because they are small. What they lack in size, they make up for in luxury and glitz. Yachts, jewels, $100,000 cars (everybody's got em)*, furs, and casinos are all common place in Monaco.

Hotel de Paris, Monaco

And don't forget that the occasional movie is shot in Monaco. Like the movie Monte Carlo starring Selena Gomez that my daughter watched no less than 50 times. Kind of why we took a picture of a hotel. Just for her. Here it is!

Monaco Mediterranean sea

All in all, Monaco is a absolutely great country to visit if you are in the area. I highly recommend you take a drive through it. Just don't blink, cause you'll miss it.

*Up about where I am talking about what is in Monaco, I quoted a song. Hundred thousand dollar cars, everybody's got em. I will give bonus points (in my head because I'm really not keeping score on anything) if you can tell me what song that is.

Up next our time in Spain!


  1. I liked your interesting comments on the whistle blowers and the current changes to the famous temples. The American presence is always commented on in Europe. They should be more grateful to don't see any French or Greek soldier cemetaries in the United States.

  2. I would love to know if you have a source for good deals on European cruises or ways to save. I've looked here and there but with three kids, it can get pricey. You've got four - even more $$! Or should that be €€.. :)

  3. Sitting outside that casino, sipping rosé is my happy place! LOVE Monaco :)


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