Thursday, May 26, 2011


After the perfume stop in Eze, we're on to Monaco (still Friday, 5/20), a fairly short drive on toward Italy. 

Lots of history from Liz, on some scrap of paper I can't find (here in the hotel in Tours).  I recall that Monaco is a principality, hereditary, but that the deal is if there is no heir, the territory reverts to France, and so the still officially heirless Prince Albert is strongly being urged to marry (the earlier kids seem not to count).  Albert is the son of Prince Ranier and Grace Kelly.  I didn't get to see their tomb, but it's there, open to the public in the church at the top of the hill, overlooking Monte Carlo.  That's where the casino is, the source of wealth of this tiny land (the second smallest country in the world, after the Vatican).  Plenty of gambling, and no income tax in Monaco.
We caught the tail end of the changing of the guard at the palace, then saw the statue dedicated to Francois Grimaldi, the legendary founder of this longest ruling family in Europe (I think longest).  The story goes he and a buddy dressed as monks, get into the city walls, pulled out swords from those not-so-innocent robes, slaughtered the gatekeepers, and brought the army in.  I want to say, um, in 1297.

Then the long way down the hill to Monte Carlo itself.  A nice walk down.  A long walk up.  Leaving by yacht would be the prefered way to go.
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