Oh, oh Monaco!

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!

Aerial view of Monaco (image from Wikipedia)

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.

Road-building in the rocky south coast of France must be a real headache!

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.

The road to Monaco

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.

Did she or didn't she? The press claims Ms. Wittenstock tried to bolt before her wedding, but so far the bride doesn't kiss and tell. (image from slinkingtowardretirement.com)

No royals were in sight; just us and a smattering of other day-trippers busily snapping photos in front of the Monte Carlo Casino.

We didn't go in the casino so we'll never know if the CE would have won a few euros there.

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.

The sumptuous lobby of Monte Carlo's Hotel de Paris.

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.

If you go to Monaco, this is where you want to have lunch!

Upon being seated, the champagne cart is swiftly presented. It would be rude to decline, no?

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!

A peek of blue sky through the retractable roof at Le Grill.

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!

A happy CE on the balcony of Le Grill

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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5 Responses to Oh, oh Monaco!

  1. Katherine says:

    Oh CE, I hardly know thee. Passing up the casino in Monaco? Sacre bleu! Having lunch at the gorgeous Le Grill is hardly a gamble. Although I suppose driving those winding, built into a cliff, roads counts.

  2. Karen says:

    It sounds like you had a very enjoyable lunch.

  3. polloamigo says:

    Is the CE eyeballing the chandelier for the coop?

  4. Ang says:

    did you bathe in Evian, a well? geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezsh.

  5. Chicken Emperor says:

    Of all the truly special days that we were fortunate enough to enjoy on this trip, the day in Monte Carlo stands out. The delightful lunch with the seaside view, served by the most pleasant and knowledgeable waiters, was among the best we have ever had. The drive there was spectacular, and the time just spent walking the few streets that make up the city was so enjoyable.

    In response to a question by polloamigo: No, I did not consider taking the chandelier as I was unwilling to compromise my chances at being named the next Emperor of Monte Carlo. Word on the street while we were there is that a suitably splendid robe and crown are already under construction for me; sizing having been taken from the swirl of papparazzi photos that followed us everywhere we went on this trip.

    But even if my well deserved coronation does not occur, we shall always have wonderful memories of our day there. Again, if you get a chance to go there; do it, and eat at Le Grill where you will be served exquisite food and be treated as royalty. Just a lovely experience!

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