Sunday, July 29, 2012

Excursion to Montecarlo Monaco and Nice France

Monaco Prince Palace

The excursion started at 6AM from Turin or Torino. Approximately 30  people participated, including both Francophone and Anglophone. Language barrier naturally drew the line between two groups.

The first place to visit was a perfume factory in Nice, called Fragonard. I am not using fragrance so I am not familiar with it but I know that France is known for producing good fragrances, such as Chanel. For the first time, I bought a small perfume for Kristin. The name is "Beauty of the Night." I hope she will like it.

Monaco Bay
The second place to visit was Monaco. It is an independent state ruled by a prince although it is included in France and French is the official language. Monaco is well known for Grace Kelly who married the Prince Ranier III in 1956 and is now the Princess. I had a chance to visit the cathedral where their wedding took place. Also I was able to watch the changing of the guards at the Prince Palace.

Prince and Princess Pledged Here
The Cathedral
Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III
35,000 inhabitants live in Monaco but only 7,000 people are indigenous. All others are celebrities, particularly sports stars, and rich people who have established their residences in Monaco as a tax haven. The guide said that income tax is very low in Monaco. Monaco is the state of the highest population density in Europe and the second smallest state in Europe, after The Vatican, geographically located in the City of Rome, Italy.

Monaco Bay View
Montecarlo Casino
Montecarlo is part of Monaco, but it claims its own fame because of two reasons. One is the famous Gran Prix auto race. It draws many people from around the world. The other are the casinos and hotels that draw rich people as their leisure place. It was not so big geographically but only a large city block. Nonetheless, this little place seems to be the center place for the richest people in Europe. The guide said it could be called the Beverley Hills of Europe. There were a lot of people in front of the Montecarlo Casino because tourists were taking photos with the most expensive cars in the world, which were parked in front of the casino. The cars I could identify were Bentley, Maserati, Ferrari, Porsche plus Mercedes-Benz and BMW. Even taxis were high class Mercedes-Benz.

Montecarlo Beach View
The last destination was Nice. The guide said that it was a lot more influenced by the Italians by the Savoian family but was annexed by the Napoleon and has become part of France. Situated inside the Angel Bay, Nice is drawing tourists year-round. The weather is temperate because of the Mediterranean Sea it faces. The long boardwalk, called Promenades, alongside the beach is known for the Nice Carnival that takes place in February every year. The beach seems to be basically a pebble beach but has certain areas covered with sand. The beach width was narrow but people were sunbathing regardless of the sights of the  passersby like me. I suppose they do not care or they possibly want to show off themselves. Our stay was less than two hours, but fortunately I was able to get on the city sightseeing bus to look around the city.  
Le Gran Tour Nice
Sunbathers at Nice Beach

The tour ended back in Turin at 9:30PM. It was still not so dark. Coming back to the room, I felt that the day was very long but productive. I was grateful for the opportunity to see Monaco and Nice. - Jeffrey

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