River cruise France and Belgium travel blog

Saint Paul de Vence

Entry into walled town

Saint Paul de Vence

Up to the next street

Shared road - not veal

Day 5. Monte Carlo.

23/5/18. Wednesday Sunny 17 - 25 degrees. Saint-Paul de Vence; Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.

A beautiful sunny day with a picture perfect view from our room. There are luxury liners big and small, huge seagulls and pink sky and glistening blue water. The roads are being blocked off, making it difficult to go from A to B in a direct way. But an exciting time to be here, especially for Ian. The traffic is horrific, but fortunately going into Monaco and we were leaving. 45,000 people travel into Monaco each day to work, more than the population of Monaco. There are many tunnels. We drove through Nice (the 6th largest town in France) and along the Promenade de Anglais, where 60,000 cars per day travel; 100,000 in summer (it is the busiest road in France). Nice has the second largest airport in France, which surprised us, but there are 2 terminals. The runways were reclaimed from the sea. We then drove to Saint-Paul de Vence, a medieval walled town 455m above sea level. It was very beautiful with lots of old buildings with only a few connecting pebble roadways shared by cars and people - it would be hard to get lost. We had over an hour to wander on our own after our guide had pointed out places of interest, then we went to a restaurant for the local delicacy for lunch - a beef stew full of herbs and spices, served with mashed potato. The meat was the fattiest I’ve ever, ever seen, but the juices and sauce beautiful. We were given bread to soak up the juices, so I didn’t need to eat the fat anyhow! There was a very small amount of meat attached to the fat - even Ian and most others at the table left fat on their plates. Maybe that was what gave it the flavour! But a delicious meal with creme brûlée for dessert. Saint-Paul de Vence is the second most visited town in France, Mont St-Michel being the first. (We were going to Mont St-Michel, but changed our plans after Ian’s little oopsie).

We went to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild which was owned by an eccentric woman. The house was pink and the gardens beautiful, and you could see the sea from many aspects. In its heyday, it had over 20 gardeners.

A lovely day out, returning just after 5pm, very tired and full. Ian just had a couple of cups of soup and a museli bar for dinner, and me a museli bar. Then sleep!

A full day with lots of info. The following are some of the things our Guide’s told us. He’s a Bughetti fan - a non-Forumul 1 car can travel 450kmph and tyres are still being developed for it to travel at 500kmph (not on a race track). We have seen quite a few of these parked nearby. They have 2 keys - one for normal driving, the second for high speed. One sold in the 1990’s for 7-9 million Euro. It uses 1 litre every 600 metres. Is that all correct Tony, or have I been sucked in?? Monaco is not reality - not a place to live, but a place to party and have fun. F1 keeps the rich entertained - when it’s on, places like “Jimmy’s” charge 80 euro per drink. The locals are not interested in the race, only meeting rich people. I think he’s a bit anti-Monaco!! To Catch a Thief was filmed here and was Grace Kelly’s last movie. The motorway runs between Italy and Spain and there are 130 bridges and tunnels. Snow is exceptional at this time of the year. Onassis and Prince Ranier were womaniser mates, and business wasn’t good in Monaco. Onassis suggested Ranier marry either Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe. Business improved after Prince Ranier married Grace Kelly and improved even more after she was killed. Prince Albert’s salary is 1,000,000 euro per month, no tax, plus 32,000 euro expenses. It took 15 years to build 23km road from Monaco to Italian border; Monaco lost 93% of its territory, thereby loss of revenue (lemons), so the Casino was created. Ville France (Free City) was tax free, but no more. Elton John and Tina Turner are residents. Smokers - more do than don’t!!

Ian was taking a photo of the view from our balcony this morning, and dropped the keyboard from the iPad. Oh no.....we’re on the 6th floor. After talking to the Concierge we got it back, and it seems to work!

Ps...only half the photos downloaded, but after a beautiful Chef’s Table dinner tonight, too bad!! I’m ready for bed.

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