It was the first place I wanted to visit in the French Riviera - only 30 mins by train or bus from Nice. I barely checked into my hotel and dropped off my bags before heading off the bus station to catch the bus to Monaco. It was one of those perfect travel days - not too hot, not too cold - just a perfect balance. I got on the bus at the Le Port stop in Nice and sat on the edge of my seat as we rode through the winding roads, up the hill and the most spectacular views I have ever seen in my life (- or so I thought).
Thirty minutes later, we arrived Monaco. I was out of my seat before the bus came to a complete stop at the Monaco-Ville stop in Monaco. Getting off the bus, I had to take a moment to take it all in - I looked calm on the outside, but on the inside I was doing cartwheels and screaming - "I AM IN MONACO." Following my initial awe, I started the trek up to Monaco-ville, a small city on a steep hillstop. Hundreds of steps to get to the Palace of the Prince of Monaco. The trek was quite a work out and I made it there solely due to the adrenaline of finally being in Monao. The plan was to take a tour of the Palace. Reaching the top, I discovered the palace tours only happen in the summer months (#travelplanningfail). My dissapointment only lasted a few minutes until I was greeted by a spectacular view. I spent the next half hour shuffling between snapping away and staring in awe at this view.
A shortwhile later, I hopped on one of those city tour buses to explore the rest of the city with one goal in mind - get to Monte Carlo. The bus stopped in front of the Casino shortly after noon. Getting off the bus to see the casino building was a dream - I kept wanting someone to pinch me back to reality because I could not believe it - I was finally here. Two years of planning, several idea boards created and scrapped - I was finally in this place I had dreamt of for years. Right in front of me was the Monte Carlo casino, to my left was the famous cafe Paris and to my right was Hotel Paris. I took a really deep breath trying to take it all in. I walked up toward the Casino and down to towards the shops to the west of the Casino before settling at a table on the terrace of Cafe Paris. I ordered a mille-feuille and the most expensive, incredibly delicious hot chocolate I have ever had and people watched.
There is nowhere better to people watch than the terrace of Cafe Paris. Trust me on this one, I have done a lot of people watching (did not mean to sound like a creeper just then). Add to people watching - car watching (yep , just coined that term, just now). Seriously, if you are a car lover, here is something to add to your bucketlist - seat on the terrace of cafe paris and car watch.
Like I said, the weather was perfect so I just sat there for hours - completely lossing track of time. By the time I realized the afternoon had passed me by, I had spent about three hours here. I paid my bill and walked towards the east side of the Casino for about a mile, before circling back to my drop off point - there is a shopping area across from the casino which features some seriously luxurious shops - I did a spot of window shopping before hopping back on the bus back to city center to explore more of Monaco.