We’re visiting Monaco. We will take you
on some city bus rides, we will walk around show you the palace, the Casino, the Marina
and the beautiful sights of this amazing little country, starting out from our home base in
the city of Nice in the south of France. It’s a very convenient city to explore the nearby
areas of Provence as well as Monaco. We’re staying in Nice for 3 days and having all
sorts of fun excursions. So from our hotel in the old town we simply walk about 15 minutes
through the old town. That’s a terrific place, the old town of Nice, with shops and
cafés everywhere, and that brings is right over to the bus stop. And this bus is an amazing
bargain, it’s only 2 euro and it will bring you from one country to the next. The bus
is heading for Menton, which is the end of the line. We’re only going part of the way,
about a half-hour bus ride to Monaco. Stopping for a view of the old port of Nice
and passing several other little harbors along the way.
and it will bring you from one country to the next. The bus is heading for Menton, which
is the end of the line. We’re only going part of the way, about a half-hour bus ride
to Monaco. Today’s adventure winds along the eastern
shores of the Côte d’Azur where you’ll discover several small seaside towns and a tiny country
with the world’s richest inhabitants. We are riding on the city bus. It’s a handy
way to get around, and to drive along the coastline. You can take the train if you wish,
or you can take the bus. We are riding on the city bus. It’s a handy
way to get around, and to drive along the coastline. You can take the train if you wish,
or you can take the bus. So the brief bus rides linking each place
are easy to handle and will give you excellent access to some of the sites.
This little green traffic circle marks the boundary of Monaco. We’ve entered the country
now — there’s no passport control of course, there’s no sign of a border. We’re just
driving along on the road in now we’re in Monaco, through the tunnel and driving alongside
the marina, it’s a beautiful site. Very easy to get from central Nice to central Monaco
by bus — easier than by train actually. This program will focus on the two main areas
for the visitor: The old town and Monte Carlo with the casino and elegant shopping area.
They even have ducks swimming around in their pond with little ducklings.
Some beautiful gardens out in front of the casino
You will inevitably be drawn straight to the Casino, so when we get there let me tell you
a little about it. The Casino played a very integral part in
the recent history of Monaco. That was put up in about 1850, 1860. The country was really
bankrupt at that time. That’s when they came up with the bright idea of building a casino,
and by 1860 it was in operation, and the train came by 1860, that’s when it opened.
So that all worked in its favor. So now the rich folks started flocking to Monaco by the
1890s. Of course Nice was a big magnet with the hotels and everything, and they would
come over here to gamble, and they’ve done very well ever since.
So now Monaco is the most densely populated country in the world. It’s not the most densely
populated city in the world. There’s many, there’s 20 other cities in India, China that
are more densely populated, but it’s got 28,000 people packed into 500 acres, half the size
of Central Park. It’s pretty small, just over a mile from one
end to the other, and yet packed in. You can see all these condominiums. So 28,000 residents,
but only 7000 of them are citizens. The others are just living here.
It’s the richest country in the world per capita. The highest per-capita wealth and
highest per-capita income in the world. They’ve got a number of hotels. Some of them
are two-star. They even have a one-star hotel. They do, they have a one star hotel. Five
stars of course. The Hotel de Paris is very exclusive. They
don’t even like you going inside unless you are a guest. Three Michelin stars. Of course
that’s the top rating. And so dinner for two with a nice bottle of wine is $1000 easily
in there. From the casino we are walking over to the
bus stop a couple of blocks on this beautiful Avenue des Beaux-Arts, a wonderful shopping
street. And there we will catch the city bus that will bring us up the hill to the Old
Town. Driving through the modern town. Notice how
beautiful it is. The buildings are in great shape, the stores are elegant, you don’t find
any vacant shops here or potholes in the road. We are riding the city bus right through the
town up to the hill instead of walking up – you could walk it if you want, but it’s
pretty steep, so you might as well get on a city bus – it costs two euro for a ride,
and it’s good for 30 minutes, you could actually ride up to have a quick peek and ride back
down, enjoying this view. Of course you will want to stay up on top as we’re going to do
and walk around the Old Town. Practically everybody rides the bus. There are 146 bus
stops, so it’s very convenient. A couple of euro for a ride like this is no
big deal when you’re visiting Monaco, after all this is an expensive place so you should
be expecting to spend some money here. But if you don’t want to pay the bus fare and
you don’t want to walk up the hill there is another possible route for you to get up there,
and that’s an elevator but it’s inside the public parking garage, so you’d have to find
your way into the garage and find your way to the elevator and then just ride it up a
level and right up to the old town. But that’s kind of a hassle so just go ahead and pay
the fee and ride the bus and enjoy the ride up to the Old Town. You can always walk down
the hill later coming back if you want to economize.
And in a few minutes you arrive at the Old Town, hop off the bus, and there are some
local kids being escorted from the pre-school. The sights are happening already.
Get to walk through these cobbled lanes of the Old Town. This is where Monaco first began,
that was way back in the 1300s and 1400s up on this little hilltop. And it brings you
to this lookout point – wow, what a view. This has to be one of the great views of the
world. Perfect place for a group photograph. This
lookout is right next to the Prince’s Palace which is the official royal residence of Monaco.
Albert the 2nd is the reigning monarch of Monaco having succeeded his father Prince
Renier in 2005. Albert is one of the richest monarchs in Europe, estimated worth at about
$1 billion, and he’s married to Charlene, the Princess of Monaco. She was a South African
commoner but an Olympic swimmer, and married since 2011 to Prince Albert.
You’ll find that this terrace, the Place du Palais, is a fun place to hang out.
And so is the best view from right in front of the palace, sweeping, amazing collection
of beautiful condominiums. You’ll notice how densely packed this city
is. There are three main pedestrian streets that
run in parallel out from the Place du Palais, and they are crisscrossed by some narrow alleys
that tie it all together, all around the Cathedral. The old town is just as attractive in its
walls and buildings as any of the other rock villages of the Riviera. This is a residential
neighborhood as well, not just for the tourists, but very much for the locals.
Notice the winding streets, and the odd moped and scooter that comes down here, so you can
keep your ears open. Place de la Marie is where the three pedestrian
lanes of the Old Town come together. And just a few blocks away is the Cathedral of Monaco.
The Cathedral of St. Nicholas is a grand Romanesque and Byzantine style edifice that was designed
and completed in 1897. The burial chapel of the royalty here includes the tomb of Princess
Grace. Grace Kelly, the beautiful American actress,
married Prince Renier in 1956, then retired from acting and became Princess of Monaco
until her death in 1982. She suffered a stroke while she was driving her car and lost control
and crashed. It was a great tragedy, great loss of Grace Kelly, who was named as one
of the top female stars of the American cinema by the American Film Institute, and certainly
was one of the most glamorous ladies in our history.
After appreciating that neo-Romanesque façade of the cathedral be sure to walk a few paces
in front of it for the view looking down on the newest part of Monaco. This was all built
on landfill – about 20% of Monaco is built on landfill like this. Here we have a mix
of residential, sports complex and marina, it makes a beautiful view.
The view terrace is slightly hidden but it’s easy to find when you’re looking for it and
it’s only a few steps down. Return past the Cathedral and the Palace of
Justice and that lane in-between and it’ll bring you back into the pedestrian network
for some more final views of town. Not very crowded in November. In the summer,
these lanes get very packed with the tourist. There’s no income tax on the citizens. There’s
also no income tax on foreigners who live here at least six months a year. It’s an autonomous
nation, it’s a sovereign nation. They have a seat in the United Nations. But their military
defense is taken care of by France. And they really have diversified from tourism
and gambling. They have a lot of conventions going on here. There’s actually some scientific
research, there is an excellent hospital. The economy will surprise you. You might think
that all of the revenues are gained from the gambling casino and related gambling ventures,
but actually gambling represents only 3% of the nation’s revenue for GDP.
They have a very diverse economy based on trade and banking, finance, property, and
tourism of course. You’ll probably find you’re ready to pay
for the bus ride back downhill as well because after walking around in the Old Town you’re
little worn out. It’s not a very big Old Town but there are a half-dozen streets, there
is the palace, there’s a cathedral, there are things to see and you want to explore
the whole area while you’re there. Even the young rich schoolgirls ride the city
bus here. And you get some lovely views from the bus. Here is the marina at twilight as
we whiz by these wonderful yachts. We will be taking the 30 minute intercity
bus ride back to Nice in a little while but first we’re going to have our final look
around the town in the evening — a beautiful view of the casino at night.
It’s easy to walk from the casino across the park over to this lovely shopping mall. It’s
part of the Metropole complex, one of several deluxe, very-modern shopping centers in the
middle of Monaco. By the time we came out of the mall and went
across the street to have another look at the casino it was dark already – lovely
lighting at twilight and early sunset, a great time to be here.