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Monaco.

Christmas Day 2015.

The casino reflected in a Christmas bauble. - Monaco

The casino reflected in a Christmas bauble. - Monaco

Monaco.

When I realised Nice was very close to Monaco, I knew we had to go and take a look. We decided years ago to visit all the tiny countries in Europe, so far we have managed the Vatican, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and now Monaco. That leaves us with Andorra and San Marino to fit in some time. It is easy to get to Monaco from Nice. It is possible to get there by train or to get there by taking the number 100 bus from the Port of Nice. The bus journey only costs 1 Euro 50 cents. We went by bus. I planned out the trip with the intention of getting off at the first stop in Monaco and starting by exploring the old town, but as my husband suddenly decided we should stay on the bus all the way to Menton in France, we ended up doing Monaco the other way round. We started from the side nearest Menton and walked across the country looking at various sights on route.

My first impression of Monaco while travelling across it by bus was not good. There was a Christmas fun fair on at the sea front and there were barriers blocking this off from the road, so as a bus passenger you had tall mountains enclosing you on one side and metal barriers on the other. This made me feel very claustrophobic. I almost did not want to return from Menton. However, fortunately my first impression was wrong, Monaco did not feel claustrophobic when I was off the bus and wandering around. Instead what took some getting used to was how steep it was. Everything seemed to be either up above you or down below you and unless you knew the best way to access things, places were not that easy to get to. We began our visit by walking through a residential area. There were no sights as such, but it was interesting to observe how people lived. The slopes and tall buildings actually reminded me of Hong Kong. The first sight we visited was the Japanese Garden, then the famous casino. After that we enjoyed the views towards the old town. Finally, we walked to the old town and enjoyed more spectacular views and visited the prince's palace and the cathedral.

The Principality of Monaco is located on the French Riviera. France borders it on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea is on its fourth. Monaco has an area of just 2.02 km square and a population of around 37,800, making it the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Prince Albert II is Monaco's head of state. He belongs to The House of Grimaldi who have ruled Monaco since 1297. Monaco is well known for its casino, for being a tax haven and for being a playground for the rich and famous. It also hosts the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Hermitage Hotel, Monte Carlo: A posh address in a posh location.

We did not stay in this hotel; in fact we did not even venture inside it; we just happened to wander past it and I took a photo as I thought it looked lovely and Christmassy with the elegant carousel standing outside its front door.

The Hermitage Hotel, Monte Carlo - Monaco

The Hermitage Hotel, Monte Carlo - Monaco

Larvotto Beach.

We were walking through the residential area above Larvotto Beach while gazing down on it. As it was winter and a slightly overcast day, it was not busy. However, I am sure it would be in the summer time.

Larvotto Beach

Larvotto Beach

Larvotto Beach

Larvotto Beach

The Japanese Garden.

The Japanese Garden came as a pleasant surprise to us. We reached it just before we headed to the casino. It was free to enter and had public toilets. The gardens have ponds, bridges, fat golden carp fish, stone lanterns, zen gardens, tea houses and everything else you would expect in a Japanese garden. Very beautiful and a pleasant place to stop and sit for a while.

The Japanese Garden - Monaco

The Japanese Garden - Monaco

The Japanese Garden - Monaco

The Japanese Garden - Monaco

The Japanese Garden - Monaco

The Japanese Garden - Monaco

The Japanese Garden - Monaco

The Japanese Garden - Monaco

The Casino of Monte Carlo.

I am not even remotely into gambling, but you cannot go to Monaco without having a look at the Grand Casino of Monte Carlo. It's a sumptuous building. In front of it there is a constant stream of flash cars. To one side stands the Hotel de Paris, to the other the Cafe de Paris. Nearby it has attractive gardens and several interesting statues. There was a lavish Christmas display in front of it when we visited, complete with fake snow, Russian dolls and Christmas baubles. Monte Carlo Casino is not just a casino it also includes the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo, and the office of Les Ballets de Monte Carlo.

Outside the casino of Monte Carlo. - Monaco

Outside the casino of Monte Carlo. - Monaco

Adam and Eve statue outside the casino. - Monaco

Adam and Eve statue outside the casino. - Monaco

Gardens of The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Gardens of The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Statue outside The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Statue outside The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Peter outside The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Peter outside The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Gardens of The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Gardens of The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

When we walked away from the casino, we followed the waterfront for a while and were rewarded with great views over the port of Monaco and towards the old town of Monaco where the prince's palace is located.

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

Views Towards The Old Town From Monte Carlo.

View from behind The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

View from behind The Casino of Monte Carlo - Monaco

Grand Prix Statue.

As we were walking towards the port on our way to the old town, I noticed a statue of a racing car and driver. There was a plaque nearby telling me the driver was William Grover Williams who won the very first Monaco Grand Prix in 1929.

Grand Prix Statue - Monaco

Grand Prix Statue - Monaco

Grand Prix Statue. - Monaco

Grand Prix Statue. - Monaco

Grand Prix Statue - Monaco

Grand Prix Statue - Monaco

Views over the port from the old town.

As we climbed up to the prince's palace perched high on its rock in the old town, we got great views over the port of Monaco, the ferris wheel and the mountains. The view alone is well worth the climb.

Views over the port from the old town. - Monaco

Views over the port from the old town. - Monaco

Views over the port from the old town. - Monaco

Views over the port from the old town. - Monaco

Views over the port from the old town. - Monaco

Views over the port from the old town. - Monaco

Prince Rainier III statue.

As you climb up the hill to the prince's palace you will pass a statue of Prince Rainier III. He was born in Monaco in 1923 and died in 2005. He ruled the Principality of Monaco for almost 56 years. He was married to the American actress Grace Kelly. They had three children. He helped reform Monaco's constitution and expand the principality's economy beyond its traditional casino gambling base.

Prince Rainier III

Prince Rainier III

Statue Of Francesco Grimaldi.

Just outside the prince's palace, there is a statue Francesco Grimaldi known as the Cunning. Francesco Grimaldi was the Genoese leader of the Guelphs who captured the Rock of Monaco on the 8th of January 1297. He did this by disguising himself as a Franciscan monk. He was then greeted at the gates of Monaco's castle, only to seize the castle with his cousin Rainier I, Lord of Cagnes, and a group of men behind him.

Statue Of Francesco Grimaldi

Statue Of Francesco Grimaldi

The Prince's Palace.

Perched on top of its rock, the Prince's Palace is quite an attractive building, especially at night when it is lit up. The Prince's Palace is the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. It was built in 1191 as a Genoese fortress. Since the end of the thirteenth century, it has been the home of the Grimaldi family who captured it in 1297.

The Prince's Palace - Monaco

The Prince's Palace - Monaco

The Prince's Palace - Monaco

The Prince's Palace - Monaco

The Prince's Palace - Monaco

The Prince's Palace - Monaco

The Prince's Palace - Monaco

The Prince's Palace - Monaco

Fontvieille.

We ran out of time before we could explore the Fontvieille area of Monaco, but we did enjoy the fantastic views over it from just outside the prince's palace and from next to the cathedral. Absolutely beautiful.

Views Over Fontvieille From The Palace

Views Over Fontvieille From The Palace

Views Over Fontvieille From The Palace

Views Over Fontvieille From The Palace

Views Over Fontvieille From The Palace

Views Over Fontvieille From The Palace

Views Over Fontvieille From The Palace

Views Over Fontvieille From The Palace

Monaco Cathedral - The Cathedral of St. Nicholas.

Monaco's old town is also home to its lovely cathedral. Saint Nicholas Cathedral is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco. Many of the Grimaldis are buried here, including Grace Kelly and her husband, Prince Rainier III. The cathedral was built between 1875 and 1903.

Monaco Cathedral - Monaco

Monaco Cathedral - Monaco

Monaco Cathedral - Monaco

Monaco Cathedral - Monaco

Monaco Cathedral - Monaco

Monaco Cathedral - Monaco

Monaco's Old Town.

Monaco's old town is home to its palace, cathedral, the gardens of St Martin, the oceanographic museum, churches, statues, shops and great views. We arrived here just as it was getting dark. It is also beautiful at night when it is all lit up.

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

Monaco's Old Town

The Views From The Palace At Night.

The old town is worth visiting at night. The castle is at its prettiest lit up. The streets look pretty and the views over the port of Monaco are beautifully lit up. I was very glad we saw the old town in both the light and dark.

The Views From The Palace At Night.

The Views From The Palace At Night.

The Views From The Palace At Night.

The Views From The Palace At Night.

The Views From The Palace At Night.

The Views From The Palace At Night.

Nativity Scenes.

I love nativity scenes very much. Viewing them is one of the best things about travelling at Christmas. In a square in the centre of the old town there was a lovely display of various different nativity scenes.

Posted by irenevt 00:00 Archived in Monaco

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Comments

Adam and Eve in the garden looked like they ate very well in Monaco! I loved the night view of the city/country.

by Beausoleil

Hi Sally, My Monaco night shots turned out really clear and my night shots are normally awful not sure what happened.

by irenevt

I do like those night views... It's a fairy take came alive... Well done, Irene!

by Vic_IV

It was beautiful lit up. We could have done with a bit more time here.

by irenevt

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