The first place we ventured out of Cannes for was a very well known country called, Monaco! Known to most as the home for many years of Hollywood Icon turned Princess, Grace Kelly – Monaco is visited by thousands of tourists every year and home to some of the most rich and glamourous. As soon as I discovered Grace, through my love of Classic Hollywood, I’ve always dreamt of visiting this magical place and this year in July, I finally got the chance to do this!
Monaco is around an hour away in the car from Cannes, so thankfully not too far and he majority of it can be seen in a day, although I’d definitely like to spend more time there. As soon as you arrive in Monaco, it’s almost as if you can feel the change in the air, it’s so aesthetically beautiful and without doubt the perfect home for a Royal Family. Once you enter Monaco and leave the car park, you definitely should prepare for a lot of uphill walking, as the country is situated on a huge hill. Although all the walking isn’t always pleasant in the hot weather, it’s definitely worth it, plus, there’s so many beautiful sculptures and flowers to witness during the journey. Furthermore, there’s lots of places to rest if you need a mini rest, just definitely make sure you bring sunglasses and lots of water.
Once you walk up the hill you venture through the wonderful streets of Monaco and see the beautiful architecture of the buildings, many restaurants and a lots of gift shops featuring the beautiful Grimaldi Family. I could definitely spend hours looking in and out of each shop and building, but alas, one day is not enough! However, the most important place to visit in Monaco is of course, the incredible Prince’s Palace of Monaco, which for just €8, (!) you can go inside! I can honestly say, this was a huge dream come true for me personally, as not only is the Prince’s Palace beyond beautiful, it’s a huge part of Grace’s life and Monaco History. Of course, privacy has to be respected and no photos are allowed inside, so sadly there won’t be any here in my post. However, the fact that everyone is welcome to visit the insides of this incredible building is so kind and thoughtful as ultimately, it is Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s home!
After wondering through the beautiful Palace, we ventured into the official Monaco Gift Shop – my dream store! It was so wonderful to see a whole stand of photos dedicated to stunning photo prints of Princess Grace, I’m sure she would truly be so touched by all the love she receives over thirty years after she tragically left us.
Throughout Monaco and Monte Carlo, there is a special Grace photo trail, documenting twenty five significant moments during her lifetime! I wish I could have taken the time to find every one of these photo stops, but sadly I only had the chance to witness three. However, hopefully one day I can complete this wonderful tribute to Grace’s legacy! It’s such a unique idea, not only enjoyable for tourists and fans but also a huge aid in educating people on Monaco’s History.
The other important place to visit is of course, the Monaco Cathedral, which is both joyous for uniting Grace and Rainier in marriage and poignant for being their final resting places. The building itself is simply breathtaking, not only in size but in architecture too. We were slightly delayed in visiting the Cathedral as a Wedding was taking place the first time we tried to enter. It sounds silly, but it’s easy to forget that Monaco isn’t just the home of the Prince and Princess, it has many citizens too! Thankfully, when we checked back, the Cathedral was back open to the public and I could visit Grace and pay my respects to her.
It was so surreal to walk around this beautiful Cathedral and think that over sixty years ago Grace married Prince Rainier and became a Princess. I tried to focus on this historical moment and picture the beautiful Bride but in reality I was preparing to spend a few moments with Grace. I’d seen her resting place in photos before and it was easily recognizable by the multiple bouquets of flowers all placed on this one spot. Placed above her grave is the most beautiful painting of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier on their Wedding Day, which is poetically fitting as their lives together both started and ended here. As you can imagine, the Princess’s grave is the most popular and it can get quite crowded, plus, the area is fairly small so sadly you can’t stay for a long period of time. However, I definitely made the most of the minutes I had with Grace and of course paid my respects to Rainier then headed for the exit.
Before you leave the Cathedral there’s actually a small sign stating that tourists cannot visit the Princess during Wedding Ceremonies, which almost brought a tear to my eye as this shows how loved and respected she is by so many people. The fact that a sign was needed to inform the thousands of visitors about this without doubt confirms this and it warmed my little heart. I hope wherever you are, beautiful Grace, you know how thankful the people of Monaco are for your incredible contribution to the Grimaldi Family Legacy and that you’re still so adored by millions of people worldwide who visit you each year.
Before leaving Monaco, it was incredibly important for me to visits the Princess Grace Rose Garden, which was created in honour of the Princess after her untimely death. I absolutely love flowers and roses also happen to be my favourite, so this was something I really wanted to see whilst visiting Monaco. The garden is filled with over 8000 rose bushes and features a variety of over 300. A beautiful sculpture of Grace is placed at the top of the garden, with a fountain running throughout, creating a peaceful and calm atmosphere. Also, Grace’s Royal Emblem is adorned on the gates of the garden, with another sculpture featuring a quote by the Princess on her love of roses. This is such a wonderful tribute to Grace and I’m sure she would visit often if she was still with us.
After leaving Monaco we took the short drive into Monte Carlo, the place that truly lives life in the fast lane. Famous for hosting the Grand Prix, Monte Carlo is hugely popular with car lovers and gambling, owning arguably the most famous Casino of all time; the Casino de Monte Carlo. This building has been featured in many films and is visited by thousands of tourists each year, even if you’re not into gambling the architecture alone is worth viewing it for. In all honesty, there’s not much to do in Monte Carlo if you’re not extremely wealthy – a bottle of still water cost us a staggering €4, (!) but if you’re in Monaco – it’s definitely worth visiting.
During my stay in France, Monaco is definitely my favourite place we visited and I really hope I will be able to go back one day and spend more time there! Stay tuned for the next post in my Cannes series, which will be all about the incredible, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild!
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