Monday, January 19, 2009

Monaco


Destination #8: Monaco

Year of Visit: 2008

Monaco or some call it the tax haven and playground for the rich is a sovereign city-state located south of France on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is also the world's most densely populated country and it is a constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II from the Grimaldi family ruling since 1297.

It was a summer trip cum high school reunion for the three of us.

Monaco is only 20 minutes by train from Nice, France which was our first destination.

Buying train tickets from the ticket dispensing machines was quite challenging because all the instructions were in French! No attendants from the train station were in sight to help us like in Italy. However, some common sense should do i guess. Somehow we managed to get the correct tickets to Monte Carlo, Monaco :D

My first impression of Monaco - luxury, up-market, high-end

They have those automatic walking belts in air-conditioned tunnels to connect you to certain parts of Monaco instead of walking on the sidewalks. The moment I stepped out into street level, I was greeted by the exotic cars that grace the streets of Monaco.

Some narrow street in Monaco.

Pretty eh? Some of the buildings are similar to France's.

A miniature tourist train called the 'Azur Express' brings tourists around Monaco.

I still prefer exploring Monaco by foot.

The author, with a nice panoramic view of Monaco's skyline and Port of Hercules, La Condamine. All the residential buildings looked like they cost millions and normally you can see a swimming pool or a helipad on top.

Port Hercules, where most of the privately-owned expensive boats are docked.

We're talking about millionaires and billionaires here!

Insanely luxurious boats!

A house near a small park in Avenue Saint-Martin after you walk pass the Monaco Cathedral.

Lovely.

An ideal location for love birds :D

Avenue Saint-Martin coast.

If you walk along the trail of Avenue Saint-Martin, you will arrive here.

From here you can see albatross gliding in the air and helicopters flying in and out of Monaco.

The Prince's Palace of Monaco.

This is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco.

There are guided tours of the palace each day.

Along your walk (If you walk) you should come across this giant photo frame with Port Hercules as the backdrop. Monaco's Mediterranean climate was so lovely it felt like i was in a tropical country.

Or you can do some crazy stunt from the edge of the hill, at your own risk!

We went down to Port Hercules to check out some of the luxury boats owned by the super rich!

Ahhhh, wish she was mine. I just need to change her name and retain Georgetown. Haha!

You should really check out these mega luxury boats, some as huge as a cruise ship!

You will also get to see the Formula One race track from various angles!

Remember that tunnel from Monaco Grand Prix? There it is!

One of Monaco's exclusive hotels' entrance.

Name me the expensive cars you see. Quick!


The famed Monte-Carlo Grand Casino!

With a passport in hand, entry fees from €30 onwards and dressed in coats and tie you will get to gamble alongside the rich and famous. We gave it a miss because of the exorbitant fees and the inconvenience of having to pack an extra set of formal wear but we managed to walk into the foyer which has spectacular designs, paintings, stained glass and sculptures :D

Monaco is a heaven for car enthusiasts like me.

There are plenty of Ferrari F50s in Monaco that you can sometimes see two F50s one after another.

Among other exotic cars spotted during the day trip were:

  • Ferrari 550
  • Ferrari 612
  • Ferrari 360
  • Lamborghini Murcielago
  • Lamborghini Gallardo
  • Aston Martin DB9
  • Bentley Flying Spur
  • Bentley Continental
  • Maserati Quattroporte
  • Rolls-Royce Phantom
  • Porsche Cayenne
  • Porsche 997
  • Mercedes SLR


Hotel de Paris, an exclusive hotel next to the Monte Carlo Grand Casino.

You might want to gawk at all the expensive and exotic cars parked outside. If you are lucky, you might be able to see some millionaire, billionaire or famous guests walking in and out of the hotel. When we were there some French celebrities stayed there and we actually saw them walking out with photographers clicking away in their cameras.

Guest arriving in a Rolls Royce Phantom.

Monaco is a small city-state and it didn't more than a day to explore this city.

However, if you want to indulge in the lifestyle of the rich and famous one day is too short!

p/s: Make sure you know when is the last train back to Nice if you're doing a day trip. Also check whether there are any rail strikes! Rail strikes are common in France!

5 comments:

Ju Ann on 21 January 2009 at 14:24 said...

omg!! the cars!!! so nice!!!!!

maslight on 21 January 2009 at 15:25 said...

I should save money and visit this place one of these days...*sigh. Such nice architecture T_T

jlshyang on 22 January 2009 at 02:31 said...

Ju Ann: Yea! I know. I went bonkers over them especially when i saw 2 Ferrari F50s passing by one after the other. I took a photo of it but i guess i forgot to put it up!

maslight: well yea, more like expensive architecture and it was experience seeing how the rich men and women splurge their wealth here.

kyh on 24 January 2009 at 19:56 said...

A good place to check out the rich and famous heh. Nice views and cars! WOot!

jlshyang on 4 February 2009 at 14:00 said...

kyh: The perfect place on earth to check out the rich and famous i reckon ;)

 

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