Back in the days, only rich aristocrats from England or Russia could afford a vacation on the beautiful Cote d’Azur. They would come in Nice in winter, due to its warm climate and stay for several months! Nowadays, most people can afford to go on a vacation and visiting French Riviera. However, we only get several days off from work, and there are so many beautiful cities to visit on the French Riviera, other than its greatest gem – Nice.
Some of them are more beautiful than the others, like Monaco for example. It is actually a Principality and technically does not even belong to France. But they are a part of Schengen zone so there are no obstacles for visiting this unique city-state. Without a doubt, one of the best ways do so is by taking a trip from Nice to Monaco.
You probably already know something about Monaco Grand Prix – a formula 1 race that goes through the streets of Monaco. It is one of the most demanding Formula 1 races in the world. With 24 hour Le Mans and Indianapolis 500, it forms a triple crown in motorsports. Only one person in history managed to win all three races! Also, for sports fans; there is a strong tennis tournament in the Masters 1000 series.
Monaco is the second smallest and most densely populated (micro) state in the world. It has around 40 000 inhabitants, and third of the population are millionaires! And that will be very clear to you very soon once you see the city. Port of Monaco is full of expensive yachts, and Ferraris and Lamborghinis are as common as Renault here.
What you probably didn’t know is connected to Monaco’s fascinated history. The ruling family, Grimaldi, has been ruling Monaco for more than 7 centuries. Isn’t that fascinating! They are the oldest ruling family in Europe.
It all started in 1297 when Francois Grimaldi conquers the Rock of Monaco for the first time. He was the “head” of one of the 5 Geneve’s noble family – the Grimaldis – and a leader of Gvelphs. Today he is known as ‘Il Malizia’ or ‘The Wise One’. And that was because of the strategy he used to conquer the Rock of Monaco. He did that with the help of his cousin, Rainer I – Lord of Cagnes, and several other men. They dressed as Franciscan monks and when they got invited and greeted into the Castle, they draw out their swords and took over the Castle. That is something like a new age “Troyan horse” deception. It was in his favour that monks (and church in general) were desirable and welcome guests 🙂
But how did they manage to stay sovereign principality for more than 700 years? Is it really a tax haven? What does it take to become a Monegasque? Do I need so sell my kidney if I want to go to Monaco Grand Prix? Will I go bankrupt if I accidentally eat too much in a restaurant? What is so special about Casino d’Or – Monte Carlo Casino?
All of that, and many other questions, facts and stories you can get by coming on a guided walking tour in Monaco, organized by Riviera Bar Crawl & Tours.
We start the tour just outside the train station, where you have a nice view of the port ofMonaco. To get you in the mood, our guides are telling the main facts and figures about Monaco. Sometimes it is a well-thought-out oral presentation, sometimes it’s more like a quiz. And you can expect some pictures, so your eyes don’t get lazy.
Next stop is the famous Monte Carlo Casino. This is one of the most luxurious casinos in the world, where some famous movies were made. For example, Ocean’s 12 and several James Bond movies. Depending on the season and number of people in the casino, we can come inside to check out the lobby. Another stop is the La Condamine Market, where we have a short break. Usually, we take a snack, try some local Monegasque food and rest our legs for a bit.
We continue the tour and start a short hike to the top of the hill. On the way to Prince’s palace, we enjoy a variety of parks and sculptures, and in stunning views on the sea. There, our tour guides prepared a short but sweet history lesson. There we finish the tour, and our guides stay as long as all your questions are answered, and all doubts cleared.
For additional content in Monaco, check this out. It is not included in the tour but you are welcome to visit it on your own. See you in Monaco!