Monday Oct 23 we (by we I mean Susan) drove to Monaco to look at the palace, see the changing of the guards and visit the cathedral where among others Grace Kelly is buried.
It was a pretty drive though due to traffic google routed us to a road full of hairpin turns.
We parked in Beausoleil sur Mer, a bit far from Monaco but we had a chance to walk through the streets of Beausoleil and Monaco, full of elegant buildings, and had some views of the many yachts in the harbors. It seems as if everyone who lives in Monaco owns a boat of some sort. The weather was quite nice so the views were outstanding.
Monaco and Beausoleil are built on the side of hills and so there are a number of public elevators and even escalators to ferry people from the lower to the upper levels of the city.
Once we arrived in the vicinity of the castle it was a bit confusing as to how to enter it, but by asking we found it (signage here is quite subtle…subtle enough to miss it anyway). We walked up the entrance, quite a bit of uphill walking, with views of..you guessed it, the harbor and many boats…and one cruise ship off the coast.
The palace was unfortunately closed on Oct 15 (not what my guidebook or online information led me to believe..they said it was open the entire month), but the changing of the guards was a daily event. I wandered around taking some photos, then saw how crowded it was getting so placed myself front and center for the ceremony, which included about a dozen guards, some with drums, and a complicated rifle routine. The ceremony takes place daily at 11:55am and lasts about 15 minutes. The Palace Guards were created in December of 1817 and ensure the security of the Palace, His Serene Highness the Sovereign Prince and the Princely Family, as well as His properties and residences and their immediate surroundings. Their motto is “Honor, Loyalty and Devotion”. The Guard is currently composed of 124 soldiers.
After the ceremony, we went to the Monaco Cathedral, The Monaco Cathedral, but sometimes also called Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate or Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Monaco Cathedral, is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Monaco, where many of the Monaco royals were buried, including Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III. This Roman-Byzantine style building was constructed in 1875 using white stone from La Turbie.To visit the Cathedral (which is free): Visitors are asked to dress respectfully: shoulders should be covered and miniskirts and shorts are not permitted (“Bermuda” length shorts are accepted).
After departing Monaco we went to visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a villa surrounded by nine themed gardens. also called Villa Île-de-France, is a French seaside villa located at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera. Designed by the French architect Aaron Messiah, it was built between 1907 and 1912 by Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild (1864–1934). It overlooks the Mediterranean on two sides of the Villa and is well preserved and really beautiful. Beatrice added all modern conveniences available such as running water and telephones and electricity. Upon her death she donated the villa and gardens, which are now open to the public (16 euros for a visit for adults). The gardens are fantastic…there are many fountains and when music is playing, the fountains come on and go off along with the music. Mostly waltzes were playing, it was really nice.