The fabled principality of Monaco lies just twenty miles or so east of St. Jean Cap Ferrat. Carved into the rocky Mediterranean cliffs, it is a country just about the size of Central Park. Sounded like a must-see to me!
Yves, our favorite concierge at the Grand Hotel du Cap, seemed determined that we Americaines should have an unforgettably wonderful experience on his watch, and when the CE approached him to discuss a day-trip to Monaco, Yves fairly shimmered with excitement. “Oui, yes, I have just the place for you to have lunch!” said Yves, with a verifiable twinkle in his eye. Well, we’d heard THAT one before, hadn’t we? Memories of our troll-like waiter in St. Tropez remained fresh in our minds, but Yves assured us that all would be well, so off we went to Monte Carlo.
The Grimaldis captured the “Rock of Monaco” in 1297 and, tough and tenacious as the crag that forms the Monegasque cliffs, hung on, weathered its loss during the French Revolution and regained their kingdom once and for all in 1861. Gambling, tourism and plenty of sub-rosa bank accounts generate sufficient cash to make income tax unnecessary for the nearly 36,000 residents of the Rock.
Since it was Sunday, things were sleepy in Monte Carlo. The stores were closed, so we window-shopped, and noticed that nearly every business loyally displays a framed photo of Prince Albert and his new (runaway?) bride Charlene Wittenstock.
No royals were in sight; just us and a smattering of other day-trippers busily snapping photos in front of the Monte Carlo Casino.
Besides the casino, the centerpiece of Monte Carlo is the Hotel de Paris. The hotel features two very special restaurants, Alain DuCasse’s Le Louis XV on the first floor, and Le Grill, perched on the top floor of the building.
Yves had reserved us a window table at Le Grill, and it was as special as he promised. The waiters were professional and friendly, the menu prices surprisingly reasonable, and the view was spectacular.
The food, of course, was wonderful.
And a fun feature of the restaurant is the retractable roof – I’d like to go back for dinner some starry summer night!
The weather was lovely, the food was excellent (the dessert souffles are divine!) and the view of Monaco’s harbor below was mesmerizing. Yes, I know it’s getting annoying, but I have to say it again: it was another perfect day!