31 January 2008

A walk and a chat

Two winter-clad ladies walking up from the port towards Casino square.

30 January 2008

Principatu de Munegu

On Sunday I was driving along the Basse Corniche, from Beaulieu to Menton - via Monaco. I'd forgotten it was the final day of the Monte Carlo Rally and so we were crawling, nose to tail, trying to get into the Principality. The world and his mother comes into Monte Carlo for this race.

This stone, which I snapped from my stationary car, marks the boundary between France and Monaco at Cap d'Ail. The lower set of words on the stone - and title of this post - are in Monégasque.

29 January 2008

Pug watch

This little pug seems more interested than his owner in watching the skaters. This is the swimming pool in front of the main port - the very one the Formula One cars whizz around during the Monaco Grand Prix in May. For Christmas and well into January it is transformed into an ice-rink.

If you'd like to meet Prickle, whose home is one of the most famous gardens in Menton - click on the link.

28 January 2008


You see a lot of these spiky plants as you walk around Monaco. These are in the gardens just below Casino square as you walk down towards the port. I'm not sure if they are Agaves or Aloes but they are tough as old boots, don't need water and produce these beautiful flowers. What more can one ask of a plant?

27 January 2008

Window shopping

It's not only the ladies who enjoying window shopping for jewellry...

This shop is just around the corner from the Café de Paris and the Casino. You can see more window shoppers at this same window by clicking on the link.

26 January 2008

Port Palace - 2

This little girl couldn't wait to enter this restaurant. I know the photo isn't sharp enough but I liked the movement in it. I believe she is English - if my ears didn't deceive me, that is. This restaurant overlooks the main port of Monaco. For a better look at this hotel/restaurant click HERE.

25 January 2008


For the dog who has everything? Spied in a shop in the Metropole Centre.

24 January 2008

Circus! - the photographer

Isn't this beautiful lady well dressed for a photographer? Look at the lot below - that's what I'd expect: jeans and a jacket. I watched her for a while - she always stood so elegantly - even when she bent down to take a photograph she didn't look awkward.

What do you wear when you go on a photo session?

23 January 2008

Circus! - the balloon man

I haven't a clue what this act is called but as you can see if you look at the individual photographs, he starts off with a balloon on his head and then pulls it down and gets in it! And then keeps popping up - well bits of him do. Rather peculiar...but clever.

If you would like to see the amazing 'Chinese Ballet Circus pas de deux Troupe de Guangdong' who performed in Monaco last year - please click on the link below. It starts off with Claude Bessy (head of the ballet de l'Opéra de Paris) introducing the act - then, just sit back and enjoy. They are incredible.


22 January 2008

Circus! - Bikers: Hard rock sur pneumatiques

You'd better believe the hard rock part. The decibels were incredible, the energy of the bikers just fabulous. They got into the list of winners at this, the 32rd international Festival of Circus in Monaco. Created in 1974 by Prince Rainier, this festival has become of the most important and prestigious in the world. The top award, the 'Clown d'Or' (not just for clowns) is considered by circus folk the supreme award in the world of circus. The bikers (I don't know their nationalities) won the Prix du cirque Kobsov de Kiev.

The President of the Festival is Princess Stephanie who adores circus and it plainly shows in everything she does for this event.

21 January 2008

Circus! - the sealions

Here are the sealions. Personally, I don't visit the circus because of the animals. We have surely grown beyond all that and their exploitation. I did take some photographs of the elephants but I won't be publishing them. I thought them in poor condition and remember last year, when I saw them in their tent, one was rocking back and forth - not a happy camper. As for the big cats in their cages - no way.

However, my friend, whose apartment overlooks the circus, tells me she hears the sealions having the best fun in their area of water and certainly they looked happy to perform at this outdoor event.

First and last of the animals. Tomorrow - the bikers!

As an aside, and a very important one, Prince Albert has sent two leopards from the Monaco Zoo to the Born Free reserve in South Africa. There have been endless complaints over the years about the poor conditions in the zoo. I believe Virginia McKenna, from the Born Free foundation, campaigned for years to get the place closed, but in Prince Rainier's years, nothing was done. An elephant died, as well as a white tiger last summer and finally, at last, the zoo, as it was will come to an end. There is still a hippopotamus and a dromedary but presumably these will find a new home too.

Prince Albert plans a farm for children where they can come and see and pat donkeys, goats, sheep, rabbits etc. A far better idea. Good for the Prince!

20 January 2008

Circus! - the ballet

The Troupe Freedom de Kiev - but introduced simply as The Ballet. They were fabulous - tons of energy, vibrant music and great fun.

19 January 2008

Circus! - the clowns

Every January we see the Monte Carlo International Circus Festival which takes place in the beautiful circus tent in Fontvieille. Today, following tradition, there was an Open Air Circus Show on the port on Monaco. I couldn't get through the crowd looking down on the show, so walked down to the level where it was being held, right in front of the yachts in the harbour. It was worse - people standing ten deep and I'm a titch so didn't have a hope of seeing what was going on, let alone getting a photograph. Suddenly I saw a few people sneaking through a barrier. Naturally I did the same. An official stopped me. 'Just one photograph?' I asked. He agreed and turned away - by then he had many more people to deal with so I carried on walking and ended up standing near to the dignitaries and official photographers. In fact, at one point, I tried taking a photograph of some cute children who were standing alongside me until the bodyguard stopped me and I realised they were Princess Stephanie's children.

You can see the decorative Casino building on the left hand side of the photograph. More fun at the circus tomorrow.

There were so many dogs waiting patiently whilst their owners watched the circus. If you want to see one - please click on the link.

18 January 2008

Sainte Dévote - 2

Here's a closer look at this lovely church. You can read about the legend of St. Dévote by clicking on the link.

Followers of the Monaco Grand Prix will know that the corner called St. Dévote is notoriously one of the most difficult and dangerous in the race.

17 January 2008

Sainte Dévote - 1

This is one of the most beautiful churches in Monaco. The port is behind us. The overpass - the Voie Rapide - shadows the church and made it very difficult to photograph.

St. Dévote is the patron saint of the Grimaldi family and every January 27th, the Principality celebrates St. Dévote's Day as a national holiday. According to legend, during the Roman era a young Corsican Christian named Dévote was executed and her body placed in a boat for Africa. The boat drifted off course and ran aground on the coast of modern-day Monaco, where a state was founded in her honor. The Chapel, originally built in the 11th century, is at the site where, in the 4th century, the boat with St. Dévote's body landed. At the end of the 19th century, the chapel was restored, enlarged and given a new, monumental façade. Every January 26th, a boat is burnt on its square at nightfall in the presence of the royal family.

Do come back tomorrow for a closer look.

16 January 2008

Girl on a Motorcycle

No, not the Alain Delon/Marianne Faithful movie - just a little girl on her father's motorbike. This was taken near to the church of St. Devote.

Talking of children and parents, Nice-Matin is reporting today on INSEE, which is the National Institute for Statistics. In their latest census they report that one child in two is born outside of wedlock in France. I've no idea of the statistics for Monaco. Do you know the statistics in your country?

15 January 2008


A massive great hippopotamus suddenly appeared in Casino Square just before Christmas. It's a bronze by the artist Mornar and is on the Café de Paris side of the square. In fact, as you come up out of the underground parking - boom - there it is and pretty impressive too.

14 January 2008

Pretty money

Isn't this a pretty bank? I posted the front of this building once before - here is a detail from the side. It stands opposite Casino Square and looks down on the casino, which I suppose is as good a place as any for a bank.

13 January 2008

Japanese Garden - 13

The beautiful Tea House in the peaceful Japanese Garden on avenue Princesse Grace.

12 January 2008

La Vigie -2

This photograph shows the beautiful white house in the foreground - La Vigie - which you saw yesterday. It stands on the promontory called Pointe de la Vieille. This is the boundary between Monaco and Roquebrune-cap-Martin. You can read more in yesterday's post.

11 January 2008

La Vigie

This beautiful house stands, as you can see below, just above the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel on a promontory of land called Pointe de la Vieille. The land was originally leased by the SBM of Monaco, and later in 1926 they bought it. The Pointe de la Vieille marks the eastern boundary of Monaco and France. In 1902, Sir William Ingram, a rich English baronet - who incidentally owned the Château of Roquebrune at one time - built this beautiful white house, La Vigie, when it was considered one of the finest houses on the Riviera. Following his death, and years later, after many disputes over the land, the house became the property of the SBM. It remained vacant for years until 1986 when, following restoration, it was lived in by the designer, Karl Lagerfeld until 1997. (this is a very condensed history - you can read the full story HERE).

10 January 2008

Monte Carlo Beach Hotel - 2

You've seen this hotel before but only from a far greater distance. On the promontory in the background is the Restaurant La Vigie - a divine place to sip a glass of champagne before dining with the lights of Monte Carlo before you. This hotel on the eastern edge of Monaco, on land, so far as I know, leased from France. On the hillside above La Vigie - and hidden in the trees - are summer huts that can be rented for the season. I have friends who years ago used to rent one of these and spent lazy days meeting up with friends and their children and lunching on the beach. What a life!

The empty pool you saw yesterday is just out of shot to the left.

09 January 2008

No swimming

The pool of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel in winter.

08 January 2008


This sculpture 'Pensive' is by Emma de Sigaldi and is placed very near to the Carrefour shopping centre in Fontvieille, the area of Monaco reclaimed from the sea. The new port of Fontvieille is just across the roundabout you see in the background.

07 January 2008

Let there be light

As you walk around Monaco, you'll sometimes see apartments with their balaconies covered in foliage - not for privacy, I'd venture to say, but to keep out traffic noise. This apartment is on Avenue de la Madone which rises up from the Casino area.

06 January 2008

Japanese Garden - 12

An interesting bridge in these beautiful peaceful gardens. I did consider using it for our Bridge Theme day - anyway here it is today.

05 January 2008


Stretch that leg! This young man is ready to run. You'll see many people jogging in Monte Carlo. In the background you see a part of the Church of St. Devote, a beautiful church and one you'll read more about soon.

04 January 2008


The pedestrian street of Monaco, rue Princesse Caroline, dressed for the holiday period. The main port is behind us.

03 January 2008

Hôtel de Paris - detail

A detail from the exterior of the beautiful Hôtel de Paris. The hotel, one of the grandest in the world, was built in 1864 by Dutrou. Opulent in decor and gracious in manner, this nineteenth century 'palace' has been home to royalty and the world's brightest luminaries. You can see more of the Hôtel de Paris by clicking on the link.

02 January 2008

Green space

Monaco seems so built up when you see it from a distance. And it is. But there are many beautiful gardens throughout the Principality, some quite large - others are simply a small area of green with pathways allowing you to get from one place to another. This pretty little area is below the casino with the main port off to the right.
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