Soon we were on the train heading for Monaco. We were surprised at the amount of graffiti on the trains both inside and out, also on stations or anything possible along the train route. No one seems to be bothered by this but I don't think it's a good look and detracts from an otherwise good service. We had to change seats as the window was completely opaque because of graffiti.
No sooner had we got going and a huge number of ticket inspectors converged on our carriage. Our ticket was inspected twice, stamped twice all within minutes!
After a very scenic trip along the coastline through Nice we arrived in Monte Carlo. Our expectations of Monaco were high as we had read and seen pictures of this country and of course all know of the Princess Grace story. We hoped we wouldn't be disappointed !
We emerged from the tunnelled and immaculate railway exit right onto the corner of the harbour.
The first thing to be noticed was the work with barriers and grandstands being erected as the F1 Grand Prix was being held here in two weeks time. An interesting time to be here.
We were now taking in our surroundings of beautiful buildings surrounding a smallish harbour full of luxury boats. Clouds hung over the top of the steep rocky hills that enclose the harbour. First impression - we are not going to be disappointed here!
After getting our bearings we followed the Grand Prix track up the hill to Casino Square. All the time we were looking down and across the harbour to the Palace.
We passed a beautiful restaurant overlooking the harbour with a three course meal for only Euro 45. Could this be the best place in the world to eat ?
The first thing I noticed was the cars parked out the front. Ferraris (must be red) , Lamborghini , Rolls Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin .......
The car parking was patrolled by uniformed, white gloved personnel who could always find a space out the front of the Casino for the right person.
The Cafe de Paris is a huge outdoor cafe that occupies a big piece of the Casino Square and faces the Casino.
Apparently the place to be seen !
We decided lunch here was a must so we settled down to watch the passing parade of cars and people to a lunch of pasta and Caesar salad.
The service was exceptional. The head waiter took the order and placed it on the table, the waiter would come and collect it and take it to the kitchen. A girl prowled the tables offering a choice of bread rolls and the drink waiter bought the drinks. We had four people serving our table, maybe a little overkill, but all in all we had a nice meal at a reasonable cost considering the ambiance.
Lunch over, we decided to jump on the tourist bus which was open roofed, provided an excellent commentary and stopped at twelve places of interest that you could exit and alight from all day on the same ticket.
We elected to stay on for the whole circuit so we got get a feel for this wonderful place. The bus circuit also drove on part of the race track which was also of interest.
Arriving at the Palace for the second time we exited the bus and took in the magnificent views of Monaco from this vantage point.
The Palace is guarded with armed uniform palace guards wandering around the palace square.
Most of the shops here were very touristy amongst narrow lane ways as this is the old part of Monaco - Monaco-ville not Monte Carlo. ( The whole of Monaco is only 2square hectares. The second smallest country in the world after the Vatican )
We decided to walk down the road from the palace back to the station as the views overlooking Monaco were fantastic and the cameras were working overtime.