» » A Charles and Mieko Simon Web Site « «
Monte Carlo! A beautiful morning! Looking like a nice day to see the sights. Very quickly we were on our bus and heading toward the King's palace. Winding through narrow streets we noticed that everything is very, very clean. We parted our bus and found our was to the St. Nicholas Cathedral located in the heart of the city. It was built during the 13th-century. Princess Grace and Prince Rainier are interned at the cathedral.
From the cathedral, we walked to the palace. To manage the groups of people, tour times were assigned and we had probably a 45 minute wait. It was a nice time to relax and look at the beautiful scenery. I also asked our guide about how Princess Grace was killed in the fatal car accident as Monte Carlo is so very small. She pointed out the mountain where Princess Grace had been staying and commented on the road that where the accident occurred. We toured the Palace and grabbed a bite to eat while waiting for the changing of the guard. Unfortunately, there was such a crowd of people, we saw nothing of the guard change. It was also a crowded walk back to our bus.
We went back to the ship for boarding a second bus for our afternoon tour to the French Riviera. We made a scenic drive along the Middle Corniche traveling through the well-preserved medieval village of Eze and a visit to Menton — a resort and the last French town before the Italian border. Along the way, we stopped in Grasse to visit the perfume manufacturer, Fragonard. There were some unique sculptures of old equipment used to make perfume and some beautiful roses.
We went to Menton, a year-round resort near the Italian border. It claims to have beautiful beaches but we found it to be a lot of rocks rather than sand. It also claims to possess the warmest climate on the Riviera — it was very nice weather. It was here that Mieko, well me too, got to experience the automatic street-side toilets. On deposit of a reasonable sum of coins, the door opens and once inside, closes automatically. Controls for the entire operation is by a stepping on a portion of the floor which activates a switch. On departure, the door closes and the inside is washed down with a strong spray of water.