Sunday, November 2, 2008

Vive Le France! Actually, Nice, Eze & Monaco!

I know, I know, I KNOW! It's taken me longer than snot crusting over on a cold, winter day to finish up this 'Fabulous Mediterranean Cruise' of mine. . . but finish I MUST. . . and I WILL!

So saying--I'm going to post my ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE day in France and Monaco. We started in Monaco (that's where we docked) and drove around the city a bit to take in the sights:

Now for a little bit of info about MONACO. . . Monaco is a Constitutional Monarchy and Principality with Prince Albert II as head of state.

Monaco means MONEY! (I'm sure that's how you say money in French) Seriously it is a small, sovereign city-state completely enclosed by France on the north, west and south--and to the east it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco is often regarded as a tax haven, and many of its inhabitants are VERY wealthy and over 80% of them come from foreign countries. There are about 33,000 residents living there today.

(And no, I cannot afford to be one of them. . . although I did give it a brief thought)

Even the Smart Cars display 'money' and are super expensive:

And, if by chance, I DID live in Monaco. . . I spotted my own car driving off into the distance. See if you can spot it in this next photo:

We'll come back to Monaco in a bit. . . next it was onward to Nice, France which was very. . . NICE (for lack of a better word)

Next are some typical street scenes in Nice:

The next photos are of some apartment buildings in Nice:

And just like in Italy and Spain, there were scooters everywhere I looked in France too:

Besides the beautiful beaches, some other fun things about Nice were the food and the shopping:

Alas. . . we must leave the nice city of Nice to make our way to the amazing city of Eze:

Eze was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! It has been described as an 'Eagle's Nest' because the small village is perched atop this superb cliff and commands a very imposing presence, as well as view of the French Mediterranean area. Here is a view looking out from Eze:

Not very many folks live within the city anymore--but it has wonderful art and a beautiful church and castle and many shops and places to eat and is a notable tourist attraction (for folks like me!)

This was a famous fountain at Eze--and at one time their only source of drinking water:

And by the end of the day--we went full circle back to Monaco to visit the most famous casino there--The Monte Carlo (which is how you cay casino in French, I imagine)

Let's get a little up close and personal, shall we? How about going inside?

Come on then! Here's the door:

Oops! Wait! No photos are allowed inside--so you just have to imagine the lavishness and the opulence and the WEALTH being created (but mostly lost) inside it!

So while you are still imagining what it could possibly look like inside, I will show you some of the really cool, expensive cars that showed up to drop off the prospective gamblers and high rollers. . . (apparently Monte Carlo also means EXTREMELY PRICEY CARS in French as well)

We also got to visit the Palace and Cathedral of Monaco--and saw the changing of the one lonely guard:

These next photos were taken inside the cathedral:

Inside the Cathedral they have all these beautiful statues standing where people are burried:

This is also the place where Princess Grace (Grace Kelly) and Prince Ranier are interred:

And if you thought that coming into the Port of Monaco by DAY was beautiful. . . leaving by NIGHT was SPECTACULAR!