You know you're on the Cote D'Azur long before you see the sea by the increase in traffic.
This is holiday central on steroids and here in May the season has only just beginning !
Sparkling water stretches as far as you can see and green hillsides tumble, sometimes steeply, to the sea below with houses of all shapes and sizes clinging where ever they can gain foothold.
The road winds along the coastline from one beautiful bay to the next and every vista is delightful as it unfolds before you. Slim stretches of sand provide the beaches where people can sunbathe and swim and these must become terribly crowded when the full Summer season is in full swing.
Traffic.... People....... Boats........
Busy, busy, busy !
Huge, expensive boats worth millions of euros each line the waterfront of Cannes and stretch as far as the eye can see. The money on display here is amazing. Crowded cafes line the quay and holiday makers stroll along wide boulevards in sandals and summer clothes soaking up the sun. The streets further back from the water front are busy and packed with shops and shoppers..... and it's all a bit tired and grubby. The building are very mixed and to my eye the tired, old and scruffy predominated.
Along the coast to the west of Cannes the coastline provided more of the same. Some quieter stretches then a larger town, all with pretty little beaches and lovely scenery but all busy.
We traveled towards Nice and on and always beautiful coastal vistas and busy, crowded, grubby towns until we entered Monaco... !
What a miraculous transformation !
Neat as a pin.
And oh so opulent !
More million dollar - I mean euro - boats lining the harbour.
Beautiful buildings, sparking in their clean perfect lines, folded one onto the other as they fit into any available space in this, the second smallest country in the world.
No ugliness to be seen here, everything beautifully manicured and clean, clean , clean.
From the harbour you walk uphill to the famous casino and here you come upon the cars.
Ferraris, Ducattis, Rolls Royce, Bentley...... Red ones and black ones mainly. There seems to be only parking space in front of the casino for them alone. It's certainly the place to come to be seen !
We came thinking we would like to see inside the casino. Tony was even prepared with a jacket and a tie in his bag ! But when we saw the fashion police stationed outside our desire to go inside evaporated !!! These colonials felt totally intimidated !
We lunched with the beautiful people in the Cafe de Paris opposite the casino then toured this extraordinary place on the Hop-On-Hop -Off bus where the commentary pointed out the sights while the bus did all the hard work going up and down, through tunnels under the buildings and finally after completing the circuit once we alighted at the pink palace on the hill on the second time around, explored there, then wound our way down the hill and back to the train station for the trip back to Cannes where we had parked the car.
I loved Monet Carlo. Wouldn't have missed it for the world!