April 7, 2009: Shaken and Stirred

Monte Carlo Casino

Monte Carlo Casino

Monte Carlo, Monaco – Today I went over to Monte Carlo and Monaco-Ville to see what all the fuss was about. My hostel mates already went and were talking about all the fancy cars and massive wealth that they witnessed but I was sure they were exaggerating. People just can’t be that rich! (I thought this as I ate my dinner on my bed consisting of store bought salami, petite beurre crakers and an apple for dessert.)

But they are! I wasn’t too surprised because of what you hear about Monte Carlo particularly on that show “Lives of the Rich and Famous”. But what did shock me was how clean the city is, not just the absence of basic ground litter, but also the shimmer and shine of windows and walls of the buildings. I don’t recall seeing one piece of trash lying around nor were the sidewalks a splattering of old tossed out gum. (Which made me wonder if gum was illegal, and that prompted me to throw mine out.) There was even a different air throughout the municipality, distinct even from its wealthy neighbor, Cannes. Did they clean the air over there too? Certainly felt like it. There just didn’t seem like a speck of dirt anywhere. I even dared to use a random public bathroom and they were cleaner than any public or establishment bathroom I’ve used in the US! The architecture of all the traditional buildings was certainly historic but they were pristine and looked freshly painted. It was like watching HD t.v. Life there just looks better than everywhere else.

I walked around a lot and saw the Casino that was famous even before James Bond visited it. The building itself was breathtaking with its almost gaudy embellishments, and there was a beautiful (and free!) garden overflowing with tulips. I was tempted to go in the casino but my wardrobe of jeans and sneakers were not allowed and unfortunately those were the only shoes I had with me. I went down to the docks to admire all the enormous yachts, which were also perfectly clean, and then ventured my way up to the palaces and cathedrals. The cathedral was amazing and perfect, the surrounding gardens were well-kept and welcoming, and the oceanographic museum which I thought would just be a simple aquarium was almost as grand as the Casino! With each building I saw I just kept getting blown away by the sheer size, architecture and newest of the structure. It was like they were recently built but in the character of centuries ago.

After about 5 hours of walking around my feet started to get angry so I decided to take the train back to Nice. (Even the train station was clean!) I took a little break in the room and then headed out in Nice to treat myself to the one dinner out I allowed myself to have (I’d been saving up for the two days by not eating in restaurants). There were so many restaurants to choose from all with similar food choices and exquisite presentation. I settled for a small, cute outdoor restaurant for my mussels and was not disappointed. Delicious!

Tomorrow I switch accommodations and will be staying close to the airport for my early flight the next day. But I won’t get a chance to do any more exploring. I’m not ready to leave here yet with my French coming along and the fantastic food, but all good things must come to an end. Hopefully one day when I have the money I’ll return to the south of France and further immerse myself in the culture (and food!). And visit the Casino in Monte Carlo and place a bet!

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1 Response to “April 7, 2009: Shaken and Stirred”


  1. 1 Bonnie April 8, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    Ah, cherie, Si je savais que tu serait a Nice, tu pourrais reste chez ma famille francaise ou bien les te laissez prendre manger!! Maintenant tu sait la raison je j’adore ma belle Nice et le sud de france. Je suis bien contente que tu fait tellement bien et je sais que tu sera aux jeux olympiques!!! Bises,
    Bonnie


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