April 2008

Until our trip to Nice and Monte Carlo we had not been down to the southern part of France during our time in Paris. While still French, this part of France has a strong Italian influence due to its proximity to Italy.

Shortly after we landed in Nice and checked into our hotel we took a 30 minute bus ride to the city of Monte Carlo. The first stop was a trip to the palace where we took a picture of the statue of Francois Grimaldi who captured the palace in 1297 disguised as a monk.

Home to the Grimaldi's the Prince's Palace of Monaco has been the home of the royal family of Monaco since it was captured by Francois Grimaldi in 1297. The palace sits on top of a large rock outcropping in Monte Carlo.

Still inside the palace area we took this picture of the family crest of the Grimaldi's.

From the outcropping above Monte Carlo you can get great views of the entire city, in this case it is the harbor with all of the yachts in port.

We were in Monte Carlo a few weeks before the Grand Prix so it seemed appropriate for Tom to be in a statue of a race car. In this case it honors a famous driver from the 1950's Juan Manuel Fangio.

The city was getting ready for the race, with bleachers getting setup and here are the garages that would house the cars for the race weekend.

There are probably more expensive and exotic cars in Monte Carlo than anyplace we have been as the people enjoy parading throughout the streets. Here Susan is with a Porsche Carrera GT, of which only 1300 were built and they were priced at more than $400,000.

The yachts docked in the harbor were truly impressive. The largest yacht was the "Lady Moura", it is over 300 feet long and is one of the 20 largest privately owned yachts in the world.

One of the famous landmarks in Monte Carlo is the casino. We spent a few minutes inside, but Tom being as cheap as he is did not want to do any gambling.

Another view of the Prince's Palace, this time from the harbor area. You can see how it is well above most of the city and is like a fortress.

Nice is like many of the European cities in that there are portions of the city with narrow, pedestrian only streets that are lined with shops and places to eat.

The Place Massena is in the heart of the city. It is a spot for large public events and is surrounded by Italian style buildings first built in 1815.

On Sunday morning we went down to the market area. In addition to all of the flowere that are in the picture, also on sale were crafts and food.

From Chateau Hill you get a great view of Nice's Promenade des Anglais, the beach and the red stuccoed buildings. The hill was once the site of a medieval stronghold that was dismantled in 1706.

On the top of Chateau Hill there are some older interesting structures.

In the old portion of Nice there are a number of 17th and 18th century mansions. In this mansion there is an old style pharmacy, with containers holding all of the different remedies.

Susan fancies herself quite the musician as she pretends to play the harp in one of the mansions.

In these old mansions no expense was spared nor no spot left uncovered from decorations, in this case the ceilings and walls.

Another picture showing how narrow these pedestrian only streets can be, you can literally touch buildings on both sides at the same time on some of the streets.

There are a quite a few nice old churches in Nice, as you walk through the streets you are bound to stumble upon them.

In the place of the church above there were a few outdoor cafes where the customers were serenaded by the flutist, who was not half bad.

Nice was inhabited by both the Greeks and the Romans, and there are still ruins in the city from that time.

Shortly before we left we spent some time on the beach as the people took advantage of the nice warm weather to get some sun.