France Monaco

auction sites and autograph hunters

Bon giurnu from Monte Carlo,

First stop on the cruise was Nice, in southern France, where our penchant for trying all local delicacies was never going to extend to the eponymous biscuit. M. decided to stay on the ship today, finding the French Riviera a bit of a yawn.

Cote D’Azure

All the wealthy locals were dipping in the Cote D’Azure and the wealthy Americans were ogling from a short distance. The beach was so crowded, it looked like standing room only in parts. The normal spacing which occurs on a beach had to be condensed in so the gaps were touching distance (!). Looking from a distance, Jocelyn from America was doing the same thing. Even though it was a good day for the beach she had decided not to venture down to the sand. “It looks as though they’ve brought the city down to the beach,” she said.

no riff raff

Before disembarking, I checked the website for the Monaco Royal Family. Its initial request is a bit disarming: “No riff raff wanting items to re-sale on auction sites and autograph hunters please”. This didn’t disqualify me at all. So, for a couple of hours I slipped up to Monte Carlo on the train.

Monte Carlo

The city is much larger than I expected and appears to be thriving. The billionaires who call it their ‘playground’ are stoking the economic fires pretty constantly here. Other than that, the biggest sources of income for the principality are tourism, banking and car racing. At the time of my fleeting visit (helping out on the first of these three), the Royal Family was apparently preparing for an imminent wedding among their number and was parading a car for the tourists who were spilling out from The Prince’s Palace. I’m afraid I wasn’t drawn to take a closer look at either.

Not far off the clifftops there was another cruise ship nudging in ready to disgorge another load of tourists. These ships provide much of the principality’s lifeblood. It’s clearly a symbiotic relationship here: the tourists have a stop on the cruise and the city gains some sustenance through their expenditure. The ship remained suckling at the cliffs for just enough time for the people to visit the palace and then the car. There didn’t appear to be any filtering of the riff raff.

Ciau from Monaco


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