June 30, 2008

Cote d'Azur 2 - north to Monaco

Driving the coastal road north past Nice, to the quaint village of Villefranche-sur-Mer, known for its pastel coloured buildings along the harbour. (It was actually pouring rain so we stopped in one of the waterfront cafes for a warm drink.)

View of Villefranche-sur-Mer from the Middle Corniche.

The rich enclave of Cap Ferrat.

And onto Monaco.
Monaco is the world’s most densely populated country and the second smallest independent nation, with a population of just over 32,000 people. Monaco land area is only 1.96 kilometers. Monaco is also very famous for hosting one of the world’s most famous Grand Prix Formula 1 – The Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. We were there a week before the race and the fences were up along every sidewalk along the route.

The harbour... view from the Upper Corniche

and a close up of the yachts parked for a day of gambling.

the Casino...
Built in 1863 in the Principality of Monaco, overlooking the Mediterranean, this architectural masterpiece has been the scene of Monte-Carlo's finest hours, spawned prestigious resorts and provided gaming with its most elegant setting.
Designed by Charles Garnier, the legendary architect who also built the majestic Paris Opera, the Monte-Carlo Casino was dedicated from the outset to the art of gaming. With its frescoes in the style of Boucher, its bas-reliefs, sculptures and caryatids, and an astonishing gold and marble atrium, the architecture exerts an unforgettable emotional impact.

A view from Casino Square where you can see the stands set up for the upcoming race. I love the juxtaposition of the Smart cars next to the BMW... as we sat in a sidewalk cafe watching the people go by, we noticed just as many small economical cars in ratio to the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and other high-enders.

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