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The Perfect Road Trip

The Perfect Road Trip
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Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Glitter of Monte Carlo

                                     ( The beautiful harbour of Monte Carlo)
The beauty of Monte Carlo the capital of Monaco is unsurpassed. It is a small country bordering France. The place is a haven for the rich and famous and the feel of same can be had as soon as one sets the feet here. The personal yachts of who’s who adorn the seafront which is pristine blue. One can see the small pups being carried in the purses by their female owners. Do not be surprised if you see the best-bred puppies going around in the strollers with fancy clothing, collars and even dyed fur. The harbour front looks like a setting direct from a Bond movie!Not surprising that 'Golden Eye' , 'Casino Royale' and 'Never Say Never Again' were shot at verious locations here.

                                ( The Railway station of Monte Carlo- Exterior)

The opulence of the city is visible as soon as one steps down at the railway station which has neon lights flickering giving an impression of a huge discotheque. The station looks like a fortress from the outside where one has to go down several levels to come to the sea level. Alternatively, the lovely elevators can take one to almost any part of the city in no time.

                      ( The Change of Guards Ceremony at the Royal Palace)

This post is not about the description of the riches that the city flaunts but about the many a treasures such as the regal palace where the current King resides, and one of the most unusual botanical garden called the Jardin Exotique, situated at the highest hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

                         ( Cactii at Jardin Exotique- The Botanical Garden)
The Prince of Monaco resides in the fortress that was built in the 11th century and is accessible by a short climb over the hill. The view of the harbor leaves one spellbound. The glory of the palace was restored by Prince Rainer III and his wife Grace Kelly, a well-known Hollywood actress from 1970’s.

                                         ( The Cathedral of Monte Carlo)

Both of them lie buried in state at the cathedral close to the palace where Prince Albert, the son of Prince Rainer, resides.  The parts of palace are open to public and one can  witness the change of guard’s ceremony every day at 12 o ‘clock. According to a legend Francios Grimaldi, from Genoa, entered the castle in January 1297 disguised as a monk. He killed the guards and his followers took control of the castle. The statue of Grimaldi adorns the castle even to this day.

(Some More Cactii at the Jardin Exotique)
Another landmark of Monte Carlo is the botanical garden that can be accessed by a series of public elevators in the city. The distance of 4 km uphill can be covered in barely 20 minutes using these . A boon indeed! Jardin Exotique or the exotic garden of Monaco is outstanding for the wealth of succulent plants that one can see here. 

               ( A still closer look at some remarkable sight of cactus at Jardin Exotique)

The Prince of Monaco personally took interest in construction of the garden and series of over bridges within the precincts. The cacti from different regions of the world ranging from Sahara, Africa, Mexico, to almost all arid regions of the world can be seen flourishing here.

                     ( The Stalagmite and Stalacite formations in the Grotto)

A grotto at the feet of the garden can also be accessed by climbing down a flight of long steps to the sea level. The stalagmite and stalactite formations takes one back to the prehistoric era since the times these were formed. Evidence of prehistoric humans has been found   in the grotto which was opened for public only in 1950.

(Legendary Formula 1 racer; William Grover)
The city is best known for F1 Formula races and has huge casinos that compete with Las Vegas. The beautiful promenades, sparkling blue waters and miles of white sandy beaches make the place a huge attraction during summer months and it is difficult to find a place to stay. The place is definitely well worth a visit.

14 comments:

  1. Nice post, it's different then usual F1 and casino posts.

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    1. Thanks for reading and welcome to my blog,Sapna! Am happy you found it different:)

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  2. I have only heard of Monte Carlo in the context of tennis. Don't know why, but I always thought it was a part of France. Watching the limestone formations was surprising. Even more surprising were the cacti. I hope to visit Monte Carlo some day.

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    1. Thanks KK and I do hope you visit the place some day.

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  3. Thanks for a virtual tour of Monaco. Can't claim it's been on my 'must visit' list. I guess, the rich and the famous is a big deterrent.

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    1. Good observation Purba, but the place is still worth a visit despite the deterrent:)

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  4. Monaco made it to my list the moment I watched Grace Kelly. The movie shows the struggle Monaco faced from France and Grace Kelly role in it. Her transition from hollywood actress to queen was not easy. My trip to France or French Riviera would have Monaco as my first stop. Thanks for sharing all these lovely details.

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    1. Saru, the place is really a beauty and yes the history starting from Grimaldi to Grace Kelly is very fascinating. The entire region of French Rivera is beyond comparison with any other place. Thanks for reading and hope you visit the place soon:)

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  5. That was a fab virtual tour of this amazing city. The harbour of Monaco truly gives that rich and elite feeling.

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    1. Thanks Shilpa for reading. Am happy you enjoyed the post.

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  6. Monte Carlo truly brings to my mind car racing but your post has shown that there is so much more. Lovely captures, Rahul.

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  7. A big thanks for reading and liking the post Rachna. The place is indeed beautiful

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