The next stop of our Easy cruise, Monaco, is one of our favorites. We visited the city year 2002, on our honeymoon which was special because my mother-in-law offered her 46 year old Princess Grace Kelly-inspired wedding gown for me to wear when I married her son. She got married 1956, the same year Princess Grace Kelly got married to Prince Rainier so most of the wedding gowns that year were inspired by the Princess’ wedding gown and unbeknownst to her, Princess Grace Kelly is one of my idols.
So when my husband told me that part of the cruise we are going to is the Principality of Monaco again, I cannot contain my excitement!
The Principality of Monaco is a sovereign city-state located on the French Riviera bordered by France by three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on one side. Monaco’s name comes from Monoikos which means “single house” by Ligularians referring to the only temple or what they call the "House of Hercules" which according to a myth was constructed when Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods.
Francesco Grimaldi, a member of the House of Grimaldi, first ruled Monaco in 1297 when he and his men captured the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco, only to be evicted by the Genovese forces a few years after. Monaco have been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297 with brief interruptions, and in 1491, the Grimaldis purchased Monaco from the crown of Aragon and became rulers of the Rock. Even though Monaco is independent, they rely on France for their defense.
Monaco is also a place to be seen! Known for fashion, celebrities, it's royal family and the Grand Prix, it is indeed unique! Monaco is the playground for the rich and famous. The opening of its first casino, Monte Carlo, and a railway that connects the city-state to Paris stabilized Monaco economically. Because of the principality’s mild climate, beautiful sceneries and the gambling, Monaco is famous to both the tourist and the rich and famous!
Well, we are not rich nor famous, but we were rearing to go ashore! After the tender boat ride, we soon found ourselves retracing our footsteps from when we were there on our honeymoon. It was a bit of a “walking down memory lane” thingy for us. The weather that day was sunny and beautiful!
We went and visited Saint Nicholas Cathedral first and we lit a candle which became our customary thing in every church and cathedral we visited. This cathedral is the final resting place of Princess Grace after she suffered a stroke and her car plunged a 45-foot embankment. This time around, next to her tomb was Prince Rainier’s who died at age 81.
After that solemn pay of respect, we proceeded to enjoy the gardens and the sceneries around Monaco. We watched the guards at the Royal Palace and the people, then ate lunch alfresco at a local restaurant and enjoyed wandering around shopping at the little shops that were far too many near the palace which, of course, was to my delight because I love to shop!
When it was time for us to leave, we made a promise to go back God-willing because like Paris, Monaco has a special spot in our hearts!