Monte Carlo at Dusk
Monte Carlo at Dusk
 
 


Monte Carlo. No trip to the Cote d'Azur would be complete without a visit to this Fantasyland. 

There is so much to say about Monte Carlo and let's start with Monaco, the city state that includes the principality of Monte Carlo. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world consisting of 0.76 square miles; the Vatican City is the smallest. It is often compared, sizewise, to London's Hyde Park.

Monaco's dense population is 33,000, and its per capita GDP is a whopping $151,630. It has the world's highest life expectancy -- 90 years. And its unemployment rate is 0%. That is probably because it has NO taxes. President Obama: Pay attention. 

Monte Carlo is one of 10 principalities in Monaco, but surely the best known. It has 2,000 millionaires and 50 billionaries.

The centerpiece of Monte Carlo is, not surprisingly, its world-renouned casino. It is a must visit even if you don't gamble.
The Grand Casino
The Grand Casino
 
The Roulette Table
The Roulette Table
 
Immediately adjacent to the Casino is the Hotel de Paris. Built in 1864, it has 106 luxury rooms and 74 suites. It too is a must drop by for people watching.

Fifteen years ago the Klotsche family had dinner at the hotel. Custom is that none of the guests is given a menu with prices, except the one given to party-host (John, in this case). Johnny ordered mushroom soup with truffles without a clue it cost US$80. After being told of the "damage" for his modest starter course, Johnny proceeded to scarf it down and lick the cup clean. When the waiter asked whether he wanted a second cup, Johnny was quick to blurt out "Nope."
Hotel de Paris at Night
Hotel de Paris at Night
 
Hotel Lobby
Hotel Lobby
 
An $80 cup of soup!
An $80 cup of soup!
 
Then there is the magnificant fortress known as the Palace of Monaco, built in 1191 and the official residence of the Prince of Monaco. It was here in 1956 the former actress Grace Kelly married Prince Ranier. More recently in July 2011, Prince Albert married the former South African swimmer, Charlene Wittstock. The latter betrothal turned controversal when the bride-to-be decided to become a "Runaway Bride" three days before the wedding but was captured at the Nice airport by the Monaco gendarme and forced to return to Monte Carlo for the nuptials. Time will tell whether the couple lives happily everafter!
The Palace of Monaco, built in 1191
The Palace of Monaco, built in 1191
 
Parts of the Palace Grounds are Open to the Public
Parts of the Palace Grounds are Open to the Public
 
A Serious Fortress
A Serious Fortress