I have one word to describe Monaco. Fancy. But it also reminded me of Disney with its picture perfect buildings, clean streets and manicured flowerbeds. Fancy Disney? Whatever you call it, the place is clean. This sovereign state is like the Vatican in Italy, its own city and state in one–otherwise it would be France. But instead of a pope in a cathedral, Monaco has royalty in a palace. So sets the tone for the most unique place I’ve ever seen. Carefully tended and lovely, it seemed to be a playground for the enormously wealthy but one that insists upon following the rules. We actually saw an impeccably dressed policeman cite someone for jaywalking, and escort him back to the curb where he started from. While I glanced around I kept thinking, I can see why Grace Kelly would have agreed to this.
We took a train tour around the city-state, followed by a stroll in the open-air market. Surrounded by Europeans of extraordinary wealth–yachts, Lamborghinis, bedazzled cameras and thongs (both kinds I don’t know, I mercifully only saw one)–we couldn’t help but laugh at our most visible accessory: the Baby Bjorn. But as we walked around, we started to notice something about Monaco. There are tons of babies there. I haven’t seen more Bugaboos since our last trip to Amsterdam (Bugaboo is a Dutch brand, and a fancy one.)
Visible from our hotel balcony (yes our hotel was very posh indeed) was the harbor, teaming with shiny luxury liners and ocean-view condos…and a little playhouse nestled in amongst it all.
At night there was music, techno music pulsing through the marina no doubt as a backdrop for several parties and nightclubs . We even saw fireworks. But things were much quieter in our neck of the woods. Sort of. Phoebe and Estelle actually had a hard time settling down in the hotels during the first couple of nights. We joked about the inverse proportion between the cost of the hotel room and the amount of actual sleep we got–but no matter, our days were so leisurely that there was plenty of time for naps later on. Plus our fancy hotels allowed for two things: an extra room and room service. Both luxuries when traveling with two babies.
In the morning Phoebe enjoyed a pot, and a I mean a pot, of hot chocolate at the fancy hotel breakfast. It was our first taste of the French way of doing things, and we liked it. Which is good because our next stop was Provence.