Cruise Diva Goes
Ashore in Europe:
to see & things to do
Looking not unlike the
set for an operatic fairy tale, Monte Carlo is famous for its
wealth, casino, and royal family—the Grimaldis. The most glamorous
of the tiny principality’s residents are Prince Rainer, the late
Princess Grace, and their children.
Only the smallest
ships can dock in Monte Carlo and most passengers tender ashore or
arrive either by train, bus, or car from Villefranche or Nice.
Driving isn’t generally recommended because traffic can be
horrendous and parking is scarce.
The old town is site
of The Rock, where you’ll find the Cathedral (behind the altar is
the burial place of Princess Grace), royal houses, lovely gardens,
and the Palace where a small changing of the guard ceremony is held
at 11:55am daily. Also located on The Rock is the Muse de l’Océanographie,
one of Europe’s best aquariums. Administered by the late Jacques
Cousteau, it offers a history of underwater exploration with
exhibits of early scuba gear and a mockup of a submarine from the
All streets in Monaco
seemingly lead to the Casino where a neatly tended garden promenade
is likely to be lined with luxury automobiles. The interiors are
lavishly decorated with 19th century style frescos, gilt, and bas
relief. Particularly interesting are the frescos on the ceiling of
the Rose Salon, where naked cigar-smoking nymphs float above the
room. Cameras are not allowed inside and admission is charged to
enter the gaming rooms.
Cross the street to
the Hotel de Paris and peek into the famous Louis XV restaurant. A
glass of wine in the Bar Americain is a peaceful break.
If you enjoy the hum of slot machines try the Café de Paris
across the square for more action.
Explore the narrow
streets of the old town to get a flavor of its history and to shop
Relax at Larvotto
Beach. Man-made with imported sand, trees, full facilities, and
eateries, admission is free.
Ports of Call