31 March 2009

Street Scene

We are in Avenue des Beaux-Arts. The Louis Vuitton shop is on the left. At the end of the street is the Hôtel Hermitage. Behind us is Casino Square. If you want to spend a lot of money in Monaco, this street would be a good place to start.

30 March 2009

Monte Carlo Ladies - waiting for the bus

The bus services are really good in Monaco. It's not a question of whether or not you have a car- often it's quicker and easier to take a bus.

Why doesn't my bum look like this?

29 March 2009

Shaped on a Thigh

Old roof tiles on a small garden shack on Boulevard de Jardin Exotique - the Virginia creeper letting us know spring is really here. Original roof tiles, such as these, were made by shaping the clay around a curved surface, such as a log or often the maker's own thigh.

We'll be visiting Monaco's famous Jardin Exotique soon.

28 March 2009


The pond in the casino gardens.

A good place to lose yourself in a reflection...or perhaps, if you are lucky, to find yourself.

This is for Nathalie of Avignon in Photos who taught me to see shadows and reflections. I took this photograph when we were together in the gardens. Take a look at her posts for today and yesterday to see what I mean.

27 March 2009

The Open Air Casino!

That's not a very interesting photo, I hear you say! And you'd be right. Today tho, I'm your Roving Reporter for Monaco and have to tell you that the reason for all this mess is the 'loi anti-tabac' - the new law where you may not smoke indoors in public places.

The Director General of the SBM reports a drop of 13% in takings in the area of the slot-machines (separate to the casino and a big money maker in Monte Carlo). So what are these guys doing? They are renovating, at a cost of between 600,000 and 800,000 euros what used to be 'la rotonde' of the Café de Paris. The Café de Paris is to the left and the building to the right sells Monaco souvenirs. I've had some fabulous lunches in this area - pretty tables, palms in pots, beautiful people, delicious food - and now it will become an open air casino. Whilst it will be open to the air, it will have controlled heating in winter, so that gamblers may continue to play in comfort - and smoke.


26 March 2009

The Casino Doorman

The doorman at the Casino has the incredibly difficult job of helping pretty blonde ladies into snappy sports cars.

Update today on Mia and Mistral - Postcards from 'Pension Milou.'

25 March 2009

The Test - 2

Here we see the examiner, setting off to score the rowers. Let's hope they all passed.

24 March 2009

The Test - 1

We at the Port of Monaco. The small photograph shows two boats and not a soul. Suddenly the boats were overrun with kids who were about to set off and take some sort of test or exam. Tomorrow - the examiner.

23 March 2009

Brass Palm

The brass plate of the Conseil National on le rocher. This was taken during Nathalie's visit and I was intrigued watching her photograph reflections - so I copied. You may recall Nathalie's Bentley which was taken only a few minutes later.

22 March 2009


Large sacks used by the Principality's gardeners. This small public terrace, overlooking the port, is used as a temporary holding place. Each sack is filled with prunings of rosemary.

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember; and there is pansies, that's for thoughts. "

Hamlet - William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

21 March 2009

Victor Vasarély

Victor Vasarély (1906 - 1997) was a French Hungarian-born artist often acclaimed as the father of Op-art.

This is the roof of the Congress Centre on Avenue Princesse Grace and is part of what was once known as Loew's Hotel. (Some hotels have a habit of changing names - and presumably owners - in Monaco). The work is called Hexagrace - Le Ciel, la Mer, la Terre.' (Sky, Sea and Earth) The Fondation Vasarély in Aix-en-Provence was responsible for its execution.

20 March 2009

Monte Carlo Gentleman - Individuality

In contrast to yesterday's conventionally dressed gentleman, today we see another - perhaps of a similar age but rather differently dressed: long hair, long cuffs, short trousers, green boots, a leather shoulder bag. This Monte Carlo Gentleman has his own individual style.

19 March 2009

Monte Carlo Gentleman - a Certain Style

Copyright 2009 Monte Carlo Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

A Monte Carlo gentleman, deep in thought and smoking a cigarette in the Casino Gardens. Note the cashmere coat, smart tie, those fine socks, the hat. Conventional, yet stylish and expensive clothes, such as one would expect to see on an older gentleman in Monaco.

18 March 2009

The Chandelier

The Metropole Shopping Centre is a great place to shop or just to have a cup of coffee in total luxury. It's all marble and prestige shops and has three of these massive chandeliers. Climb the steps you see outside (or take the escalator which is out of view) and, at the top, you'll see the Casino Gardens.

To see the other chandeliers and to get more of an idea of this centre, please click on the link.

17 March 2009


Part of the wall of a house on le rocher (the oldest part of Monaco). Was this tiny door opened and gas fed into the building via a pipe?

Does anyone know?

16 March 2009

A Pizza by the Port

A meal in Monaco doesn't have to be expensive. How about a pizza by the port?

The nice guy in the main photo offered me a piece but as I'd already lunched, I had to say no. Looks good tho!

15 March 2009


The Principality of Monaco is tiny - only 1.95 square kilometres (0.75 square miles) - yet, amongst the hustle and bustle, there are pockets of tranquility in the many beautiful gardens and of course there is always the Mediterranean. This was taken from the Japanese Gardens on Avenue Princesse Grace.

14 March 2009

The White Glove

Meet Maurice. He's the Captain of Parking at the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo - he's the one to see when you drive up in your Rolls Royce Corniche.

I asked if I could take his photograph and he immediately went into an 'I'm being photographed' mode. I took one - the smaller photograph - and showed it to him, saying, 'It's good.' 'It's for me to say if it's good,' he said and took a look. 'Take another,' he said and put on one white glove. We both laughed. I took another - and then a third.

Great guy, Maurice.

In the reflection you can see the beautiful roof of the hotel's atrium and in the small photograph, one the chandeliers.

13 March 2009

Louis Chiron - the Monegasque Gentleman Driver

Born in Monaco in 1899 and dying here in 1979, aged 80, this is Louis Chiron. As you've probably surmised by the goggles around his neck and car, he was a racing driver - one of the great pre-war Formula One racing drivers and one of the main contributors to the Bugatti legend. You can read more by clicking on the link.

This sculpture stands by the port of Monaco, not far from the famous swimming pool and so facing the track he loved so much. He is the only Monegasque driver ever to win the Monaco Grand Prix and one of the curves is named in his honour. Bugatti also named one of their cars the Bugatti 18/3 Chiron.

In 1929, Louis Chiron created quite a commotion at the German Grand Prix in Nürburgring. Competing were several Mercedes SSK cars but the first Mercedes came in more than 14 minutes after Chiron won the race. People say that Adolf Hitler was on his way to the circuit in a sedan equipped with radio and was listening to the race broadcast. He was convinced that a German with a Mercedes would triumph and wanted to be there to congratulate the winner. Once he realised that Chiron would prevail with his Bugatti, he ordered his chauffeur to make a U-turn.

Apparently he was so popular in Czechoslovakia, where he won the Grand Prix three consecutive times, that there is still lives a popular saying 'He drives like Chiron.'

12 March 2009

Colour Coordinated

A snooze on a bench - but first choose your background. Clever girl!

11 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - the Sommelier

Meet Dominique, Chef Sommelier at the Hôtel Méridien, Monaco. Like all good sommeliers, Dominique's passion for wine is evident and at the moment he's offering lessons in wine at the Méridien Hotel - much more than a simple wine tasting and a great chance for anyone wanting to learn.

In the smaller photograph, meet our host, Nicolas, well-known in Monaco in the world of hotels and restaurants - and enjoying his retirement.

Thank you, Nicholas for the invitation to this truly fabulous experience.

10 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - the Displays

More displays from around the dining room. Above we see bottles of Tattinger champagne, designed by a famous artist. I really don't know who. Perhaps Picasso, as he sometimes designed wine labels. Perhaps Cocteau? If anyone knows, please let me know and I'll change the copy.

In the smaller photograph we see rare bottles of Pétrus and a Lafite in the top left-hand corner - apologies it's not in focus. As I said yesterday, one or two bottles are kept as a tribute to a famous wine of a particular year, never to be opened. I can't read these labels but looking at yesterday's post, I'm assuming they are perhaps from 1945.

Below you see part of the walls of the dining room, made up as you see from wooden crates of famous wines. Do click on this to enlarge the photograph - it's fascinating to see so many wonderful names.

Tomorrow is our last day so please come back and meet Nicolas who invited us and also one of Monaco's young and talented sommeliers.

09 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - the Private Dining Room

Deep within the cellar - amazingly - we find a private dining room where Prince Rainier would sometimes dine with Princess Grace. Used for private parties, the room is decorated with priceless old wines and cognacs.

In the main photo, you see two of our party admiring one of the displays.

You'll find here Château Bel Air Marquis d'Aligre 1850, Gruaud Larose 1865 and 1874, Yquem 1890, Léonville Poyferré 1895, Margaux 1920, Mission Haut Brion 1920 en jéroboams, Pontet Canet 1924, la Conseillante 1928, Lafite Rothschild 1937 and the last Pétrus 1945 - often, the last bottle or the last two bottes. The cognacs date from 1805, and the famous Roi de Rome of 1811, Churchill's favourite. Some bottles are of historic interest, like the Mouton 1945 marked with a V for Victory, or the 1976 with a design by Picasso. These bottles are to be kept, never to be opened.

More tomorrow.

08 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - Réserve Marie Blanc

Look up above the archways and we see wonderful old signs.

We are looking at the Réserve Marie Blanc which allows me to tell you a little more of the history of this great cellar - and of Monte Carlo. It was Marie Blanc who built these amazing cellars.

In 1863, the Plateau des Spélugues on which the Casino was built was used to cultivate traditional Mediterranean species : orange, lemon and olive trees.

It was Prince Charles III, successor to Prince Florestan l, who initiated the creation of a new kind of life for the Principality. The press of the day noted the Sovereign’s ambitions for the town : "The new Casino launched by the Société des Bains de Mer will soon rise from the ground in monumental proportions. Around the Casino, fine hotels will be built, having nothing to fear if compared to those that have been opened in Paris, London or New York". Five years after the first stone was laid, the Casino was inaugurated, in the spring of 1863. It was to be a brilliant success.

François Blanc then became a providential gift. Arriving from Homburg, a spa in Germany whose prosperity he had assured, he acquired the property owned by the Société des Bains de Mer and the Cercle des Etrangers de Monaco for a period of 50 years. In keeping with the Prince’s wishes, he continued to reinforce the principles on which the creation of Monte-Carlo was based : a place that would be quite exceptional for its luxury, comfort and location.

In addition to the Casino, the Hôtel de Paris and the Café de Paris, superb gardens and villas were soon to transform the Plateau des Spélugues into a real town which had to be given a name. On June 1st 1866, Prince Charles III then decreed that the land on the Commune of Monaco situated between the torrent of Sainte-Dévote and the pathway called "Francosi", and between the main road from Monaco to Menton and the seafront was henceforth to be named "Monte-Carlo".

On the death of François Blanc in 1877, his widow Marie took over the direction of the Société des Bains de Mer. She carried on her husband’s work, deciding to build new wine-cellars for the Hôtel de Paris and it is in those cellars we stand right now.

The Réserve Marie Blanc is now a museum, opened in 1990. You can see sections of wine boxes - precious wines of a particularly good year - and two or three of these were given to members of our party as a souvenir our fabulous visit.

Tomorrow: the private dining room.

07 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - the Great Wines

Margaux, Montrachet - as we walk through this amazing cellar, we see the wines of our dreams.

For example, there are 36 bottles of Château le Pin 1990, an exceptional vintage, purchased by the SBM as a 'primeur' wine, immediately after the harvest at 400 euros a bottle. The current market value is estimated at 4,000 euros a bottle.

"A great wine cellar is all about time, not money," commented Iorio Gennaro, the Chef Caviste.

The cellar is guarded around the clock by hi-tech security cameras - after all, the SBM's huge wine cellar is a veritable wine bank and probably a good deal safer than a normal bank these days!

While its book value is estimated at 10 million euros, the resale value of its bottles in the SBM's 30 or so top-class restaurants, hotels and casinos in the principality, is incalculable.

What comes across though as we explore this wondrous cellar, is not the monetary value, but the expertise and passion that goes into choosing and then caring for the best wines in the world.

06 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - The Chapel and Pétrus

Before us we see a locked wrought-iron gate guarding 'the Chapel' - where we find the oldest and finest wines. Here we'll find Pétrus and Chateau d'Yquem which are on the wine list of Alain Ducasse's Louis XV restaurant in the Hôtel de Paris. The 1982 Pétrus is priced at 12,000 euros - no wonder the gate is locked. By the way, it's called Pétrus and not Château Pétrus simply because there is no château at the vineyard.

Other "sacred" bottles which have played an important part in the history of wine are also stored close by. These include a bottle of 1811 "Roi de Rome" cognac from Sazerac-de-Forges et Fils, the last remaining bottle of a famous run of cognacs. The penultimate bottle was consumed in the Hôtel de Paris by Winston Churchill, who was a frequent visitor to the hotel.

Note: I've posted an additional photo on yesterday's champagne posting, plus a little more information.

05 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - Champagne

Each year 250,000 bottles of champagne are sold in the Hôtel de Paris and other SBM hotels and restaurants in Monaco. Here you'll find 150 different champagnes, including the prestigious Dom Pérignon, Cristal Roederer, Clos du Mesnil.

'Come quickly, I am tasting stars!'

- Dom Perignon, at the moment of his discovery of champagne.

04 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - the Gold Bottle

We've now walked through the passageway we saw yesterday - into the area where we find the great wines - the cheapest of which is 800 euros a bottle. You'll note in the smaller photograph how the shelving is smarter, newer than in the areas of the cellar we saw earlier.

Our young and very informative guide (he is one of the 9 cavistes who work in the cellar) holds a bottle of the Château Mouton Rothschild 2000. Mouton means sheep, of course, and for this important year - 2000 - the sheep and the writing is engraved in solid gold. He told us this bottle has a current value of 4,000 euros but that it will eventually reach 12,000 euros.

Note the way the caviste holds the bottle - his forefinger into the base of the bottle. All cavistes hold wine bottles in this way.

The key in his hand is to close this area when we leave - locked and protected.

03 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - Hidden Treasures

We've reached the Maison du Maitre du Chaix.

The archway is dimly lit and at the end you see a wrought-iron gate which guards the oldest and most valuable wines.

In World War II during the Occupation, 20,000 bottles of the most valuable wines were hidden here, along with much of the hotel silverware as well as artifacts belonging to a Russian prince. The entry was blocked with seven layers of old and empty bottles and fortunately the German soldiers never discovered the treasures that lay behind.

Today, this area holds the grands millésimes and the rarest wines. In twenty years time, the Louis XV restaurant, will list the Bordeaux 1982, which Chef Caviste, Iorio Gennaro, considers to be the future 1961.

Don't miss Bibi's post on A Yankee in Belgrade today. If you like dogs, you'll be amazed.

02 March 2009

The Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris - the Tasting Room

The Tasting Room was opened in 1994 and each week the SBM's wine buyer, Roger Bordes, the Chef Caviste, Iorio Gennaro and the sommeliers (wine waiters) of Monaco's SBM hotels and restaurants gather to sample a range of wines from one of the châteaux or domains to decide if any should be included in the restaurants' wine lists.

The talent of people such as Iorio and the experienced sommeliers is to judge just when the wine is ripe to drink.

The weekly tasting is also an opportunity for the wine waiters to taste the wines they suggest to customers -- and to gauge the best temperature for serving them. 90% of the wines sold in the restaurants are tasted in this way.

01 March 2009

Theme Day: Glass...in the Cellars of the Hôtel de Paris

Glass - dusty discoloured vintage champagne bottles displayed in the famous cellar of the Hôtel de Paris in Monte Carlo.

The main photo was taken without flash in these dimly lit cellars. I hope you like the graininess, giving the atmosphere of how it was to wander these famous cellars.

For those of you continuing this tour, today is Theme Day in the City Daily Photo community and today's theme is 'glass' - the reason why I'm referring to glass as opposed to what's in the bottle! These beautiful old bottles of champagne, as is obvious, are not for sale and are doubtless undrinkable too - but goodness, aren't they beautiful to look at... (Notice the grill at the side of the display cabinet allowing air to circulate)

And if you are new to this tour of these amazing cellars, do come back tomorrow.

You'll find over a hundred City Daily Photo bloggers from around the world presenting their take on 'glass' today, and you'll find originality and great photos, so do click here to view thumbnails for all participants
Related Posts with Thumbnails