Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Monaco is broken down in to four quarters: Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville, La Condamine and Monte Carlo.  So Monte Carlo is officially an administrative area and where the casino is.  But for all intents and purposes you can think of Monte Carlo as the country's capital.  So far as a capital in an almost 2 km² country can be.

The train from Nice to Monaco is only about 20 minutes which makes for a very easy day trip.

There is no airport in Monaco.  The closest one is in Nice.

The Palais du Prince (Prince's Palace) is where the Grimaldi family has ruled Monaco since 1297.

The Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium is world renowned.  You kind of figure it has to be if Jacques Cousteau was the museum's director for over 30 years.

The Saint Nicholas Cathedral is the home of the Archdiocese of Monaco.  It was consecrated in 1875.

This is where Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III were married.  Many of the Grimaldis are buried here including the Prince and Princess.

The Japanese Garden opened in 1994 after three years of building.  It is 7,000 square meters and sits on top of a car park.  It makes for a nice little place to relax in such a congested area.

The casino was established in 1863 and is world famous for roulette, poker and blackjack (my favorite).  This is where the mega-wealthy hang out at and you can tell just by looking at the parking lot.  Every other car is a Ferrari or a Bentley.

As far as I got in to the casino.
Jackets and ties are required and tennis shoes are not allowed so I obviously didn't get a chance to break the bank at the casino.  Besides it costs €10 just to get inside to the slot machines and no cameras are allowed.

Monte Carlo's only public beach is Laryotto.  It's small but nice.  The pebbles are much smaller than at the beaches in Nice.  But I still can't wait to get back to California's sandy beaches.  

The Champions Promenade is a walk of stars for famous footballers (soccer players).

Future Grand Prix racer?

My personal little quest this trip was to find the grave of Josephine Baker.  It took a while but I finally found it.  She was an American singer, dancer and actress who at one time was the richest black woman in the world. 

Due to segregation and racial prejudice she gave up her American passport for one from her adopted country, France, whom she helped during WWII as a member of the Resistance.  Later in life she adopted twelve children of all races whom she called her Rainbow Tribe.  When she died in 1975 she was given a state funeral in Paris and was buried here in Monaco.  Here's an 80-minute documentary I found on YouTube that tells her story.

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