I blogged about my Italian Riviera cruise last year (I’m going on another one soon- yay!), but I didn’t do justice to Monaco. It’s a place of so much intrigue, so I thought that today I’d do a little throwback to our 24 hours in the little empire.
It’s the second smallest and most densely populated country in the world, and you can literally whizz around the entire country in a day. I guess it’s most famous to South Africans because of Princess Charlene- we went to the “palace” and I have to say it was way less glam than I envisioned!
The only thing Monaco really has to offer is tourism. I mean, there’s no agriculture, the country doesn’t produce anything… it’s just a place to see and be seen. The Grand Prix (which has been happening since 1929) is arguably the most prestigious automobile event in the world, and everyone who is anyone in celebville goes to that. Then, gambling is also huge. There’s only really one casino (which citizens are banned from!), Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo, which opened in 1858! The interior of the casino is BEAUTIFUL. No cameras are allowed, but picture a palace, converted to a casino. We tried our hand at gambling and went away empty handed (granted, I was only prepared to part with 30 euros!)
Other than that, there are flashy cars and car dealerships on every corner- Porsche, Lambhorgini, Jaguar. No BMW/ Mercedes dealerships anywhere J I’ve never seen such an abundance of wealth, so openly displayed, ever before.
Then, there’s shopping. You’ll only find boutique stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada lining the main shopping street bordering the harbour. We went into a few stores to browse and people were dropping cash like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not sure if they were tourists or locals (locals actually don’t get taxed on their income), wonder what the tax situation is on all the gambling winnings? I know in SA you do get taxed, but there is no levy on gambling winnings in Kenya, for eg.
We did one of those hop on hop off city sightseeing tours (which was pretty shortJ), and the hilly landscape of Monaco meant that we got treated to some stunning views, which will remain in my heart for a long time to come.
The whole experience was surreal and very glam- you just need to don a sunhat and sunglasses and walking around the little country makes you feel like you’re a celebrity!