When I was planning my trip to Europe, I added Nice in the French Riveria for two reasons. The first I knew it would have a beautiful coastline to explore. However, the second is the proximity to Monaco and the city of Monte Carlo. In fact, Monaco is just 20km east of Nice, and relatively easy to get to from the city.
A Tour From Nice To Monaco
I decided to take a day tour from Nice to visit Monaco so that I did not end up wasting to much time. With a tour, they want to make sure you see what you have come to see, without having to figure it out for yourself.
The first stop on the way to Monaco is a lookout with one of the best views of Nice. I got a similar photo to this yesterday, but the location I captured that photo is the green hill in the middle of this image.
From this vantage point, it is also able to get a photograph of the view to the east. The area around this bay is known as Ville Franche. The peninsula here is known as one of the most expensive areas in France. They talk of nothing costing under 2-3 million Euros.
Before reaching Monaco though there was another stop to explore the small hilltop town of Eze. The town was founded between the 11th and 13th century. However, this are has been inhabited much earlier going back hundreds of years.
Eze is a beautiful little town with winding streets and unique architecture. Exploring the majority of the town did not take long at all, and I think I spent more time looking at the church. The church stands out from below to the right of this image.
The next stop was the focus of the tour, Monaco. There are signs as you are approaching Monaco stating the distance. However, as you pass where the border is it’s hard to tell where France ends and Monaco begins. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, well technically a principality, but recognised as an independent state. The land area is just over 2 square kilometres.
Old Town Monaco
The first are we visited was Old Town of Monaco. I found this area to have some of the most interesting points. There is a rather beautiful cathedral, from the outside it has a very nice finish. Once you go inside, there are some rather nice features as well, specifically the organ but at the same time, it is not over done.
Also within the area of the Old Town is the Palace. The tour arrives just in time to see the changing of the guard. The changing of the guard starts promptly at 11.55am and concludes on the hour at midday. I was not expecting to see this, but happy for little extras like that.
The building is all a shade of apricot, except for one section constructed of stone. It’s hard to tell though if this is an earlier part of the building or a recent addition.
There was also some time while in Old Town to enjoy some lunch and have a little look around the area. There is one thing that you don’t notice but is very prominent when brought to your attention. Which is the cleanliness, not just of the area but also the buildings. All of this is the result of the laws, which require the cleanliness.
Additionally, even though there is a courthouse and jail in Monaco, there is no crime. So it could be almost the perfect place to live except for two problems. First, it is a rather expensive city to live in, with properties starting int he millions. Secondly the number of tourists.
Driving Monte Carlo
After leaving the Old Town are, there was a short drive around some of the streets of Monte Carlo. One particular route we took followed that of the F1 Grand Prix Circuit. They are currently working on setting up for this event which takes place later this month.
The final stop of the tour today was in Casino Square. It is one of the hubs of activity in Monte Carlo. It is the location where money and wealth is either thrown around or flaunted. The square is bordered by two casinos and the best hotel in town. While multi-million dollar supercars sit parked on the street. The Lamborghini caught my eye, parked next to the Bently.
Monaco is another example for me of what you can find in Europe that is not quite what you might expect. In many ways, the movies paint a picture of an area that in real life may or may not be true. Monaco in some respects does fit just what the movies show, but in many other ways is much more than that image as well. If I am in the area in the future, there is no doubt I will return, but purely as a tourist.
Ilona bohmMay 5, 2012 at 8:38 am
What tour did you take can you share the info. Love the pictures too.any recommendations for hotel stays there? Thanks
JoelMay 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm
The tour which I took in Monaco, was a Day tour from Nice, France (Just 20KM away). It was with a company named Tour Azur, and is a small group tour (max 8 people, we had just 3 this day).
Unfortunatly as I stayed in Nice, I cannot recommend any Hotels in Monaco, however I think Nice might be a better option for staying a few days anyway. The hotel I stayed in was Mercure Notre Dame, Nice City Centre, it was suitable, however the room did look a little tired, and could have done with new carpet.
Thanks for the questions