Today, we join a small group of people on a bus tour to Monaco and Cannes. There was 2 Japanese, 4 Turks, 4 Americans 1 Indian lady working for The United Nations in Switzerland and us 2.
Today is going to be a good day; the sky is blue and the air is clear. We started the tour with a view spot looking over the coastline towards Monaco. The guide informs us that we have very little traffic to contend with, at least for the morning, as French people don’t get going until after mid day on a Sunday.
Our first stop is at a perfumery where we are shown through the factory before the testing, followed by the sales pitch. No prize for guessing where they obtain the eucalyptus. We are told that a certain crème is anti-aging, and so a small portion on the back of my hand is becoming younger than the rest of me – now that’s going to look stupid!
Just near the perfumery is an interesting little medieval village called Eze. It is stuck on a hill – and I mean ‘stuck on a hill’, and looks out over the sea. There is no way you can drive the streets, as the ‘roads’ are only two persons wide. All the builds are used as shops and we find some very good handicrafts. Time only allows us 50 minutes here.
The main point of interest this morning is to be at the changing of the guard at the Monaco Palace. This only happens on days of ‘no rain’ and today is a sunny day. The streets are very narrow and wind through tunnels and buildings to get anywhere, as Monaco is built on, and against, cliffs. We are ‘blessed’ that there is not a lot of traffic. On a weekday, ‘poor people’ come to Monaco in their droves to see how the ‘rich people’ live. We are amongst the poor today.
There is a walk up to the palace where we find thousands of others wanting to witness the same performance of the changing of the guard. It is ironic that there is no crime in the country of Monaco but they still have guards at the Palace. The performance lasts around 5 minutes and is done to perfection of course, but it is hard to get any still photos due to the crowds of people that are willing to shuffle you out of a good position – worse than a certain nationality we are familiar with. At the conclusion, we venture into the streets to purchase souvenirs to take home.
After an hour, we meet up with the bus for a drive around the Grand Prix track at Monte Carlo. Our driver nearly manages to get around the full circuit but we miss out on the grid area and have to turn back. We stop for a photo shoot at the Casino and a walk around the exotic cars parked in the square in front of the casino. Crowds, seemingly like paparazzi, are waiting for celebrities to turn up to pose for them – ha-ha!
It is a 40-minute drive from Monte Carlo/Monaco to another ‘stuck on a hill’ village. This is Saint Paul de Vencee where there are many painters and actors who have chosen to live for its artist atmosphere. The streets here are also very narrow and there are crowds of people venturing into the little nooks and crannies to view very quaint shops in buildings that do not seem to follow a building plan that we are accustomed to.
Further on, is the town of Antibes. This port used to be known as Antipodes in the early days. There is a marina with many luxurious yachts lined up for us to view – such opulence. I’m sure that Greg Norman used to moor his yacht here before his marriage breakup.
Our last stop is Cannes. Cannes is known for the film festival and we are given the opportunity to view ‘the Red Carpet’. The streets are very busy now with many tourists straining to see a celebrity going about their ‘private’ business.
What a great tour to go on. If ever you come to Nice, make sure you try this tour as it gives you just enough information to want to stay longer. We believe we could stay the whole day in the Monte Carlo/Monaco region – there is just so much to see and feel about the place. However, to stay in the Hotel opposite the Casino is over 3000 Euros per night. That is more than the return airfare from Australia.