It is a Sunday afternoon in early October and my plane has been delayed by over 3 hours. After checking my bag in, I am told I can head outside the airport if I like. So I go exploring.
There are a few options for getting into Nice. You can hire bikes along the promenade which are simple to establish but you will need a phone and a credit card to set it up.
You can of course catch a bus or taxi but I choose to walk.
The walk along the promenade on a Sunday afternoon is delightful and very French.
Littered along the boardwalk are many beach restaurants. I chose one that is a beach club as well and wish I had packed my swimmers. The Cote D’azure is truly azure and inviting. However today I have to settle on having some wine and admiring the sea.
After a few vinos and people watching, I walk further into town, paying respects to the people who lost their lives during the terrorism truck incident on Bastille Day in July. It is hard to believe that only a few month before this magnificent promenade was the scene of a terrible massacre.
I find a restaurant along the promenade to eat dinner. I much prefer to eat outside of the airport if it is an option. My favourite mediterranean dish is Moulles Marineres and this restaurant makes them well.
A meal fit for a king (in this case queen) is delicately savoured and washed down with delicious Sancere (French wine) and the most delicious chips I have had in ages.
The bus gives you a good lay out of the land, and takes you to key points.
The audio (in many different languages explains the history of the Monagese, the Monach, the grand prix and takes you to heaps of fun venues.
I have been to Monte Carlo a few times but this is the first time to the Musee l’ Oceanigraphy. You know thinking I had seen all the aquariums in the world!
This was amazing.
Incredible coral reef fish.
A turtle called Rani.
The jelly fish display is wonderful.
You can visit the Musee and Palace by foot by simply walking up the hill, or stopping off on the on and off bus.
I love the walk up to the palace, it weaves along the dramatic coast line and brings you closer to the wonderful area that it really is.
Today I am keen to do one thing – give Prince Albert one of my paintings, but visiting the musee and palace become a wonderful distraction and experience.
The Palace (home of the Grimaldis) is a world famous landmark. For over 500 years the family have lived in the castle which is also a palace. You can take a tour through the palace and see where Louis the King lived and how they experienced life. I was quite overwhelmed with the grandeuse of the palace, the gifts other countries had given to the family over the years and the fact it is still functional today.
Still used for entertaining and formal ocassions you walk along the marble tiles where many world dignaturies have walked, brushing along the curtains as they do. It brings home to me that we are all one species, one people.
I am informed to contact the soldiers, to pass my modest gift to Prince Albert. They take me to his body guards who sign me in and then graciously take me gift. The assure me that Princes Charlene and Prince Albert will receive my paintings and note.A note that read simply as a piece of gratitude. Monaco is one of the safest places in the world, with CCTV on every corner, the whole town is under surveillance. As a women, I appreciate the safety it offers.
After visiting the palace I wander to the Oceanicgeographic not really expecting much to be honest. I few weeks ago I had been to Seaworld on the Gold Coast, which is somewhere I have been going to for years with the kids. Seaworld has a wonderful aquarium and interactive pools with animals that I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be impressed. Well, I didn’t have any expectations.I was blown away!
Turn out the musee is very interactive – you can pat sharks, get close to large tanks and the jelly fish display is surreal.
I discovered many fish I had never seen before, was excited by the jelly fish display and got to talk with Rani the turtle (yes I talk with turtles)!.
It is a wonderful aquarium and museum and I think any visit to Monaco, especially if you have 2 days should include a visit.
And to my painting for Prince Albert – I am waiting an email from him, saying he has received it. I would dearly love to draw the royal family, or draw one of their favorite scenes and have it hung in Monte Carlo. Or maybe i will be their naturopath if not artist.
If you are heading to Lifou Island here are some great ideas to do that are kid friendly.
For the second time the children and I are ferried across from our floating hotel (the P & O Cruise Ship, the Pacific Dawn) to the one of the islands that belong to the Loyalty Islands, in New Caledonian, called Lifou.
Lifou is part of Micronesia and the islanders are knowns as Kanaks, with the main language spoken being French.
Most people understand English but there is something sexy, something adventourous and something special about speaking French in the South Pacific.
Seeking connection with nature and some underwater experiences we discovered the following and would recommend the following with your day ashore:
Five things to do on Lifou:
Snorkel at Jinek Bay
Jinek bay is a marine reserve a twenty minute walk from where the cruise ship anchors and comes a shore. We purchased our pass on board for $20 per operson or you can buy them there for $10. Apparently the numbers are capped each day but I didn’t really see evidence of that in the bay and the guy taking people’s money seemed happy to give coloured wrist bands to who ever came along.
2. Hire a stand up paddle board
Stand up paddling or SUP is a fun easy water activity. I SUP at home for exercise and at $10 an hour it was too good to pass up. Skimming over the beautiful azure waters was breath-taking and there were plenty of moments to reflect on an often manic life back “home.”
The only thing I would caution on SUP if you haven;t done it before is falling off over the coral. You can weave your way through the coral but if you are not great and confident on the board, try to paddle through the sandy, areas so if you do fall off you don’t velcro yourself to a coral shelf.
3. Drink a coconut
Coconuts grow in abundance on the Pacific Islands and offer incredible nutrients. The juice was once used as a blood volume expander and they can be really good for hang-overs. I just love the fact you can climb a tree and lop open a self made drink that is refreshing and nutritious. The locals use papaya stems as straws as they hollow and non toxic. A must!
4. Visit the church
Built in 1895 the church is a beautiful piece of achitecture from yesteryear and is a landmark you can see pulling in and out of the harbour. There are actually a couple of churches on the island, with one up on the right of Easo Bay (where the ferry docks) and is only a modest 30 minute walk past the turn off to Jinek Bay, or the other one on the way into town, also a 30 minute walk.
As with all churches around the world, you can walk through, marvel at the stained glass windows and climb to the nook where the church bell is rung. I like this little church, it is a bit run down but colourful and happy.
5. Grotto and villiage experience
You can do many tours (organised on board the boat) or simply by walking into town. Most activities will cost $20 and will include a mini van driving you to a spot. Last visit we did the blue grotto cave experience. It was great for the kids as they were shown how to huntfor food, make bows and arrows, and see how the locals exist. Most still hunt for their food and frown their own crops.
There are plenty of other touristy things to do such as braiding your hair, getting a massage, buying pearl necklaces etc. The locals will do a traditional dance as the cruise leaves wishing you well and hoping to see you again.
Snorkeling and swimming anywhere on the island is stunning but as with most parts of the world the colour from the coral has been bleached away. The fish are still incredible and you will usually see a turtle and the water is a stunning tourquise blue.
Negotiate away on the advertised price but be respectful.
I was embarrassed to hear so many people from the cruise not use basic manners such as please and thank-you, it’s really not that hard. Merci Lifou!
Funny, as with most things in life, experiencing these things are only ever a belief away.
So I have (for most of my life) asked the questions like “why not?”
Why not fly a helicopter into Monte Carlo? It is quick (only seven minutes), it is the same as a taxi (approx 130 pounds) and is way sexier.
I loved it.
From arriving in Nice (customs are really friendly in Nice which is a pleasant change) it is about thirty minutes until your door step in Monte Carlo.
Disembark, easy luggage collect, and taken to the helicopter. On you jump, and disembark in Monte Carlo.
Monaco is surreal.
Boasting some of the world’s most expensive and glamourous coast line it is nothing short of stunning and breathe taking.
I always pretend to be Grace Kelly’s when I arrive in Monaco. It’s like a European Hollywood but with style (sorry down town LA).
The province of Monaco wrapped by France on one side and Italy on the other. Stretching deep into the sky is a monolith known as The Rock of Monaco. It is spectacular and I am sure many lose themselves in the imagination, just like me when they visit there.
I imagine that anything and everything is possible.
I am sure I change the way I walk, the way I talk and the poise I bring to the day. I really step it up and love the slinky walks and smiles. I pretend to be a local Monegasque and I love it. I feel I am.
Often I reflect fondly on town and place because of the restaurant experience.
Atmosphere, food, service and views are all aspects that go into making the restaurants below some of my favs world wide.
These are a few of the restaurants that ignite my taste buds and sensations :
La Rose Des Vents, Monaco
The great appeal of this restaurant for me is the fact it is on a beach in Monaco. It is accommodating (I have turned up straight from the beach) and or as glitzy as you want.
The food is delicious and I only have seafood when I go there. Terrains, kebabs, fresh seafood. It is all devine and delish! Check it out here.
2. Frogmore’s Creek, Tasmania, Australia
Set outside of Hobart in Tasmania on a vineyard is a wonderful restaurant called Frogmore’s. I have had the pleasure of eating there twice and each time has been mind blowing. This is a more extensive blog about it and their website here. Fly down to Hobart just for lunch!
It’s a perfect for a long lunch with a great conversationalist or friend. You will be served scrumptious delights, not overly large which is good, and fantastic wines.
4. The African Queen, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France
The day we turned up here was a story in itself. Winding down the steep curved road cut into the French coast line, overlooking the vast ocean and cote’d azure we stumbled across The African Queen.
Chilled Champagne, delicate cerviche and the most amazing desserts, The African Queen could win alone on food. But it also has a magestic out look and relaxed atmosphere.
This definitely goes on one of my favorite restaurant’s list.
5. Chez Gado Gado, Bali, Indonesia
A simple, comfortable restaurant by the ocean in Seminyak. The food is great, abundant and refreshing breeze is worth traveling for. I have had a few meals at Chez Gado Gado and all have been worthy. If you go on a Friday or Saturday night you should book in advance.
Let me know your favourite restaurants in the comments and I will try to visit them 🙂
Eating along the Cote D’Azure is as much about the views, the air and the magnificent charm and its one of those places where I pretend I am some one famous. Why Not? I am fortunate to have been to Monaco a few times and it is everything people rave about and more.
It’s grandeur, friendliness and sheer beauty is spectacular. I am a huge fan and adore going there!
My average day in Monaco is relaxed at the start and glitzy at the end.
Slow waking ups… a swim in the cote D’azure (Larvotto Beach)… a late breakfast and coffee then home to change. I seem find myself eating at La Rose des Vents sur la plage du Larvotto (beach) regularly.
Usually I don’t make too much of an effort back home but in Monaco I rise to the occasion. I really frock up and really enjoy it.
Nice clothes, make up, taking time to groom – it’s actually quite fun. (And essential in Monaco).
Lunches are always fun and there are many fantastic places to indulge. French food, Italian nibbles, all with a Monagese influence. Seriously I don’t think I have had one bad meal in Monaco- it’s always good!
Monaco is a independent principality and it’s history has always fascinated me.
Stories about Grace Kelly and princes and casinos and glamour have held my fairy-tale intrigue for years and I love the fact that now I am a “grown-up” I can go and play out my own little fantasies. Even if they are to simply dine along the Cote D’Azure pretending to be royalty or someone special!
For two years I have been in Monaco for the boat show painting. It is the best eye opener in the world, full of insightful interesting people… and big toys!
These are some of my drawings that I have done while being there.