What traveler of the French Cote d’Azur (the French Riviera) can possibly resist the temptation to take a side trip to Monaco and its capital Monte Carlo? To look at the cathedral where Grace Kelly became a princess, and sadly also buried, to marvel at the architecture of the Casino and the Hotel de Paris, to stroll along the waterfront and admire the countless gleaming yachts moored there or to enter the fabulous underwater world of the Musee Oceanographique whose director was Jacques Cousteau for over 20 years, all create memorable adventures. In short, Monaco offers all the stuff that endless tabloid features, movies and novels have been made.
However, the pleasure of discovering Monte Carlo and its attractions can be marred if you do not know your way around. The town has been built into a steep rock and consists of level upon level of winding streets, interconnected by hundreds of steps, short cuts and alleys, which require visitors to have the stamina and dexterity of a mountain goat. You may be seriously out of breath and tired before you even arrive at your destination.
I suggest the first thing visitors should do upon arriving in Monte Carlo is to get a map at the Central Tourist Information Center on Boulevard des Moulins which is an easy to find stop along the bus route from Cannes or Nice. The map clearly indicates where the public elevators in Monte Carlo are located, “ascenseur public” in French. The lifts, which are free to use and from level to level and you can still walk along tiny roads or through the numerous parks without unnecessary efforts. I recommend organizing Monte Carlo sightseeing around the elevators and you will really be able to enjoy the town.
Inka is German and used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Spain. Retired two years ago because I wanted to be a traveler and writer and now live between Didim, Turkey, and Miami with plenty of travel in between. Next destinations: Istanbul, New York and Petra, Jordan.