Monaco is a destination that has always been near the top of my “Must Visit” list. It’s a place, that in my mind, was a mixture of luxury, glamour, history and fairy tale. So we decided to catch the train to see if it was all I hoped it would be.
We caught the train from Saint Raphael and got half price tickets once we bought a Zou! Card. This card is an annual pass that means you get discounted tickets however it only costs 30 euros (or 15 if you’re under 26). We bought two cards and were able to get 6 half price train tickets to Monaco, saving us around 100euros!
The train journey took abut 1.5 hours as we had to change at Nice, but the journey itself was very picturesque. The train shoots along the coast so you get some fantastic views of the Mediterranean and the pretty costal towns embedded on the cliffs. Upon arriving in Monaco we headed down to the dock.
We grabbed a few baguettes and bottles of water and enjoyed a picnic on the side of the dock while watching the many boats and super yachts coming and going. Again we saw many yachts which we’d previously spied in St Tropez and Cannes, but it’s amazing to see how the other half live! And a girl can but dream that one day she’ll be enjoying her holidays on a yacht! After exploring the dock we thought we’d be kind to the boys and let them walk part of the Grande Prix route. So we headed up the hill and towards the famous tunnel. Walking through the tunnel brought us to the beach and a fantastic view – I loved the seafront bar which peeked out from the rocks below!
Like Cannes and St Tropez, Monte Carlo is a playground for the superrich so there was no shortage of supercars flying around! We spied (what felt like) hundreds of Rolls-Royce, Bentleys, Feraris, Lamborghinis and Porches flying around the city, following the Grande Prix track. Next stop was my “must see” the Casino de Monte-Carlo.
We continued to climb up until we reached the Place du Casino. As soon as I reached the square I was in awe – this is the image I imagined whenever I thought of Monte Carlo. The bustling square surrounded by the refined and historic buildings of the Casino and the Hotel de Paris, the fountain located in the middle, with supercars being chauffer parked around the square. Monaco’s Casino has a long history and was designed to save the Grimaldi family from bankruptcy back in 1856. The building that exist today opened in 1875 – I just love to think of the many parties and events that the Casino has seen over the years!
The square was incredibly busy – filled with tourists like myself taking in the sights, enjoying the atmosphere and doing some celebrity spotting. Outside the Casino itself was very busy – there was a mixture of those wanting photos by the door, and those admiring the cars. So I headed across the square to take a step back from the hustle and bustle and view the entire square from afar. It was amazing to see the supercars being dropped off by their owners who then headed into the Casino or out to explore. I did humour me that the young couple who pulled up in the bright yellow Lamborghini above later sat next to Matt and I and took selfies and asked us to take their photo for them – showing that even the superrich love a good selfie!
After enjoying the square and seeing my Monaco shaped dreams in real life we slowly headed back to the dock. While down there we saw the biggest yacht we’ve seen throughout our holiday – Ace – a 285ft super yacht. This yacht was then refuelled by four 21000 litre tankers, which means that it costs about £125,000 to fill up its petrol tank! Imagine having to do that at every dock you pull into – that’s one pricey holiday!
To be honest this holiday really opened my eyes up to the superrich. I’m not talking rich, I’m talking the billionaires of the world, the top 1%. I knew they existed, I knew what luxuries they enjoy, and understood the different world they live in. However one thing I never realised, was how many of them there are! Each place we visited had at least 20 super yachts moored up which can cost anywhere between £10 million and £500 million. And once you’ve bought the yacht the expense doesn’t stop there, you’ve got to pay for the crew, the fuel, the mooring, the upkeep and the sailing equipment – which is estimated to be about 10% annually of what you pay for the yacht – so if your yacht cost £100 million, you will have to pay around £1million a year to keep it running!
Overall The South of France was an amazing experience. It was scenic, relaxing, glamorous, historic and so very chic! I enjoyed the perfect mix of sightseeing-being-a-tourist and relaxing by the pool with Kindle in hand. If I were to return I would headed straight to Saint Tropez – I’d love to explore it more.