French Riviera - Part 3

The next day of my trip, we just wanted to relax and hang around the beach, at Menton and then drive to Monte Carlo and look at all the famous landmarks arond that place. After we woke up, we freshened up, packed up our luggage (since we are staying at Nice, France for the next 2 days), checked out of the hotel and set off to Menton. We didnt have our breakfast at the hotel, just because we thought we could check out some super markets in Menton (also for a shopping experience at French supermarkets), buy whatever we want and find some cosy and relaxing location, to just hang around and eat. This way, you have many options to buy different things and also check out what French supermarkets offer. After spending a while there, we got Peaches, Apricots, some soft drinks, cookies, sandwiches and a couple of spicy things (looked like some Indian stuff) that we found there (Dont worry - All these things weren't just for the breakfast)...haha. After that, we drove by the beach-side road and passed by some posh residential area and parked our car, at some location, in front of the beach. Here are some pics of Menton:











After that, we had our breakfast there, sitting in front of the beach, enjoying the breeze and the view of the ocean. The weather was very good and so, we walked around the beach and sat by a beach-side restaurant to have some dessert and drink something cold. Here are some pics from around that place:







After staying around that place for a while, we set off to Monte Carlo, Monaco - which is just a couple of kms (7 kms) from that place. Indeed, both cities are almost mixed up, that you can consider them as one city - only that they are under the jurisdiction of different country governments (France and Monaco). It was a pleasure to drive from Menton to Monte Carlo, as you drive on a hilly terrain, beside the beach and offers panoramic views of the city and the ocean. After we drove for a couple of minutes, we could have a first glimpse of Monte Carlo (specially, its port) and its clustered high-rise buildings. This view was somehow catchy and spectacular, with a huge ship (cruise-liner) docking into the port and other high-rise buildings very close to the ocean. Here's a pic:



After that, we reached Monte Carlo and drove around numerous streets, to find some parking place, but in vain. No parking place was available all over that small city, as it was the first day of the 'Monte Carlo Formula 1 Race' (You could hear the sounds made by the race cars, all over Monte Carlo). We thought of parking at some slots specially available at the parking lots of some hotels and other buildings, but they were expensive and not avialable anyways. So,we decided to go to the next village, called 'Eze' and park it there. Here are some pics of Monte Carlo, that I shot when we drove through it:

















After that, we reached 'Eze' village in a couple of minutes and were fortunate enough to find some free parking space. By the way, this village is one of the places, apart from the 'World Perfume Capital - Grasse' (which is also located nearby, in Provence) and Paris, in the production of perfumes. Also, Eze is a medieval village perched on the peak of a rock, overlooking the mediterranean and boasts of a fortified castle (which is now in ruins). Here are some pics that I shot on the way to Eze village:











After we parked our car, we went to the nearest bus stop and took the bus to Monte Carlo. By the way, public transport along the coast (French Riviera) is pretty comfortable and cheap. After a couple of minutes, we reached Monte Carlo and got down somewhere near to the Casino, which was made famous by many of the 'James Bond' movies. The casino complex at Monte Carlo includes a gambling facility, Grand Theate De Monaco, an opera and a ballet house. Unfortunately, we couldn't get in or close to the Casino, as the race track for 'Monte Carlo F1 Race' runs past this casino. Here's a pic of that casino:



One interesting thing that I read about the casinos in Monte Carlo (Monaco) is that the local citizens are not allowed to gamble (and is considered illegal) and is only for the tourists/visitors. I guess its because its such a small country (2 sq kms - 2nd smallest country) and they probably dont want people to get into these kind of things. Also, its economy relies heavily on tourism and other showy stuff. Also, its one of the places which is identified as a tax-haven (0% tax). I guess, this is the reason why some of the rich folks reside at this place..for ex: Mika Hakkinen, et al (dont remember many names).

After that, we walked through many streets, looking at some important landmarks and other common expensive/showy stuff. Also, you can see a lot of Ferrari's, Porsche's, BMW's, Merc's and other cars, in and around Monte Carlo. Later, I went to some F1 ticket counter, showed my ticket booking details and got the ticket for F1 race on Saturday (May 24).Here are some pics, that I shot when we walked around Monte Carlo:





























After that, we climbed up a hill (using the steps) to reach the "Monaco Royal Palace/Prince's palace", which is the official residency for the Prince Of Monaco. We looked around this place and later checked out some souvenir shops, where I got some souvenirs and a F1 T-shirt for the race. Also, from this point, you can see a bit of the F1 race (although from some distance). Here's a pic of the race track 'Circuit De Monaco', from that point:



And here are some pics, from around the Prince's palace:









After that, we headed towards the 'Monaco Cathedral', walking through a narrow street, which looked like the 'Old Town' part in any European city. Here are some pics from inside and around the Monaco Cathedral:















Also, from this point, you can have panoramic and glorious views of Monte Carlo and the mediterranean coast (with all the yachts). Here are some pics:















After staying around that place for a while, we headed back to Eze village, got back into the car and drove to Nice, France. On the way to Nice, we stopped by, to have our dinner at some restaurant located on top of a hill and in between Monte Carlo and Nice. Here are some pics from around that restaurant:





That was it, for that day. Later, we reached Nice, Frace and checked into a different hotel, which was near to the train station, as well as the beach.

If you wanna know more about the trip, please check my other blog posts. :-)

For more pics, check the slide-show below:



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