In Pursuit of Shiny Things

Monaco – July 2017

The French Riviera. In the height of summer. What on earth was I thinking? I spot a ridiculously cheap airline ticket and all reason flies out the window. I remind myself that traveling is all about getting out of one’s comfort zone. The only places further out of my comfort zone are Ibiza and Disneyworld.

The train from Nice is packed. A large man stands further down the aisle, one arm raised to steady himself. His stench permeates the torpor. It’s incredible how one person can stink up an entire train carriage.

The woman facing me fans her hat through the air. “C’est étouffant.” It’s stifling.

The train picks up speed. A slight shift in the air. The woman sets her hat down and holds her hand over the air vent. “Ah, peut-être…”

I snicker. “Avec un peu de vitesse.” With a little bit of speed.

Heads turn to smile. It’s a strange sensation, the ability to communicate at an adult level. To make jokes that are understood. To recognize innate cultural quirks. The little things so often lost in translation. I chat with these strangers about the weather, about Monaco. It’s the next stop, they inform me. The place where everyone will get off.

I roll my eyes and groan. I was hoping everyone was going to Menton. Mais, non.

My strategy is to hit the Oceanographic Museum first. Maybe most will head for the casino and then the museums. But a line has already formed at the ticket office. I am the sole solo traveler among families. Looks are cast my way. Some smug, others suspicious. Yes, yes. I know. I’m creepy. My kind does not belong here. Not even if I smile at the shrieking offspring. Which I don’t.

Thankfully, they don’t venture away from the aquarium in the basement. The upper levels of the museum are filled with vintage curiosities. Scuba suits, a stuffed polar bear, a replica of the first submarine. Massive whale skeletons hang from the ceiling. Creepy specimens from the deep float in glass jars. A humanoid head on an amphibian skeleton. All of it is arranged with the passionate precision of the eccentric.

Maybe there is depth under the glitz of Monaco. I’ve read that it leads the world in charity fundraisers. Normally, I’d regard this with cynicism. So many charity organizations, especially those of the rich and famous, are fronts to avoid paying taxes. But there’s really no point in such a charade if you already don’t pay any income tax, as is the case with the citizens of Monaco.

A shady path winds around the cliffs of Le Rocher. The Rock. Fontvieille, Monaco’s newest district appears to the left. It is entirely built on “reclaimed land”. I can’t help but smile at this clever use of language. How can you reclaim something that was never there to begin with?

I follow the path to the Prince’s Palace. Tourists jostle to get photos of the single guard marching back and forth. The opposite side of the courtyard beckons. It’s the other cliff of Le Rocher. Already. I sweep my eyes across the panorama. High rise apartment complexes are crammed into every centimeter of available space. It’s not difficult to discern where Monaco ends and France begins. New residences are being constructed in the gaps of the demolished. Higher and higher. So many potential citizens are clamoring at the gates. Frantic for shelter in this ghetto of fortune. The poverty here is of a different variety.

Up and down the narrow streets of the old city. Souvenir shops and restaurants. No dog poop or spit to watch out for on the sidewalks. No leers or invasive words to ignore. So much more pleasant to wander than Nice. The Cathedral looms ahead. I step inside the cool darkness. Except for a couple of couples and a guard, I am alone. The departed royalty are buried here. The Royal Family is said to be very down-to-earth. It is only recently that they seem concerned with keeping up the minimum of appearances.

It is time to go to the casino. The cathedral to the material. I slip into a shopping center for a quick espresso. A shoe shop glitters to my left. I screech to a halt. My face contorts in horror. Pastel rainbow platform flip-flops. And other blingy monstrosities. I snap a photo.* Because it takes a lot to shock me nowadays. The shop assistant marches towards me and barks, “No photos!” Jet black hair. Sharp cheekbones. Icy glint in the eyes. Eastern European. Romanian, possibly. A flicker of recognition passes between us. I’m often mistaken for Russian. Her voice softens. “You can’t take any photos here.”

“Okay, I didn’t know.” I clamp my lips against: they are just so fugly. It’s probably against the law to insult shop merchandise, especially fashion. Last thing I need is a police escort out of Monaco. I slink away. Back outside, I take a deep breath. I worked for years as a waitress in luxury hotels. Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons. Oh, the sneering that used to go on in the wait stations. They didn’t order appetizers or dessert! So cheap! Did you see those facelift scars? So tacky! The only people who are worse snobs than the help are the wannabes. You can always tell someone is on the way up by the way they treat the people who serve them. Those who have nothing to prove feel no need to belittle.

A few tourists mill about the casino parking lot. Looks of disappointment. Where are the Ferraris and Rolls Royces? It’s not as impressive to take a selfie next to a lowly Mercedes. I take a photo of the casino’s reflection. Objects in the mirror are more within reach than they appear. If you really want it.

A few days ago, I watched a documentary on Monaco. A well-known journalist interviewed residents and luxury dealers. Are the residents truly content? It seems that it is only the top ten of the billionaires who remain in a constant state of competition. The others just want to enjoy their toys in peace. One man stated that it was a relief to be able to drive his car down the street without looks of contempt. He folded his perfectly manicured hands together and attempted a smile on his waxy, unlined face. His shirt was unbuttoned to reveal an impeccable tan on his gleaming, hairless chest. Fast car, big yacht, glittery watch. Yawn.

I know people who are wealthy. Generous, kind people who worked their whole lives to get where they are. However, they tend to flit from one topic of conversation to the next, as if they have an innate aversion to the profound. Smile, smile. No melancholy allowed. It’s so much easier to throw money at the shadows. Here’s a thousand. Shut up and buy yourself a new dress. That’ll make it all better.

My queasiness does not come from a sense of moral superiority. It’s easy to pick on those who grasp at the material. But there are many things to parade in front of others: travel, causes, spirituality. It’s not so much the wealth itself, but the admiration and envy it inspires in others. It’s all about filling empty spaces. My yacht is bigger than your yacht. I’ve done more to change the world than you have. I vibrate higher than you do. I’ve been to Timbuktu, haven’t you? Such astonishment I used to feel when people weren’t interested in hearing about my adventures. Nowadays, my blog is my treasure chest. The stories are for me and for those who may be interested. It is okay if no one is.

In the late afternoon, I head for the Jardin Exotique. The last tour bus leaves as I enter. I am alone with the cacti. The biggest, most diverse collection of specimens I have ever seen. The garden is built into terraces on a cliff. Like the Oceanographic Museum, the love put into this place is palpable. I sit at a lookout point and gaze down at Le Rocher.

There is a point at which accumulation becomes monotonous. The shiny things in the distance lose their luster. You just want to sit back and enjoy what you have achieved.

I’m ready to go home. To that cozy apartment in that lovely little city in Anjou. My tiny castle. I’m ready to touch my feet to the Earth and let them sink in. Luxuriate in the stillness and silence. No whispers of “where to next” disturbing my hard-earned placidity.


*I didn’t post the photo, because I heard that they are not allowed because of copyright issues.

84 thoughts on “In Pursuit of Shiny Things

  1. I have never spent time in Monaco. Have only driven through it on the way to other smaller, more modest places on a different scale entirely. But still I am amazed at how much MORE it is built up today than ten years back. Surely making it even less appealing to me than it was before! What I recall about Nice was an amazing market with all sorts of characters, wonderful fruits and veggies and some gorgeous old posters of Nice back in the day.

    The cacti garden sounds fascinating. Interesting how we all define treasure differently!

    Your post, as well written and eloquent as always J.D.

    Peta

    • Thank you, Peta. I liked Monaco better than Nice, actually. I was underwhelmed by Nice’s market, but maybe I went on an off day. I’d probably enjoy the city much more if I went during lower season. Summer is for families. Monaco is lovely, but sanitized in comparison. Looking at all those buildings crammed together is claustrophobic. The garden was truly a paradise and the Oceanographic Museum was an hour very well spent. I made the most out of the day.

  2. My neighbor is from France, but lived in Monaco during WWII as her father had a printing shop there. What she has told me is all I’ve known about the country before this article. Thanks.

  3. The South of Teneriffe gave me exactly this claustrophobic feeling among all the apartment buildings you had in Monaco! So, I certainly don’t have to go there, because I very much have the impression that I am out of place in these overirch surroundings. I, however, very much enjoyed reading your post about all your experiences, Julie.:) All the best Martina

    • Thank you, Martina. I can enjoy a jet set environment for a short time, but then I get bored. I’m not judging those people. That lifestyle just doesn’t interest me.

  4. Love that seagull atop the statue in the first photo!
    “Yes, yes, I know. I’m creepy.” LOL.
    “Nowadays, my blog is my treasure chest.” And, what a treasure; it sparkles with the precious stones of your prose.

    • Thank you. My memories are worth more to me than all the wealth in Monaco.

      Re: the creepy comment…there is a very clear prejudice against solo travelers, especially men, when we make the mistake of going to family friendly tourist haunts. I am able to see the humor in it, but it does kind of ruin the experience.

  5. I love your blog. So well written and insightful. So beautifully ‘quiet’. Thank you for taking us on your travels with you. And, you aren’t traveling alone! You have us, tucked away on the corners of the Internet, traveling with you 🙂

  6. I’ve only ever seen it as a backdrop to the Grand Prix, Julie. I could be very happy in that cactus garden. The views are superb. I love the idea of your blog as your treasure chest.
    I lost a lovely friend today and I’ve wandered in here seeking solace.

    • Sorry to hear about your friend, Jo. Luckily this post is more lighthearted than the last one. The cactus garden is my favorite of all the gardens I’ve visited so far. So unique and impeccable.

  7. The fourth image looks like Hong Kong and not as I imagine Monaco. I was last there when I was about fourteen and all I wanted to do was walk the Grand Prix circuit – quelle surprise. I think you got more out of your trip than I did and of course what I really want to see is the pastel rainbow platform flip-flops 🙂
    Thanks for an interesting wander Julie.

    • Hi Robin- I had to restrain myself from posting that photo of the shoes. But I didn’t want to have copyright problems. They seemed so paranoid.

      It seems that they’ve begun to tear down the older homes to make space for huge complexes. I hope they leave Le Rocher alone. It’s the last area with any historic ambiance.

  8. So there you are! Settled in France? Is settled the right word? Wonderful to hear your voice and as usual, great insights. I read you with recognition of a kin spirit.
    Out of practice with the travel thing though. I went to Canada for a few days – to see friends in the French part in and close to Montreal. It’d been years since I’d been where I don’t speak the language and it made me nervous – I wasn’t there long enough to adjust. Like not driving standard, I feel a bit of a failure not being good with languages.
    So I look forward to vicarious pleasure of reading your posts.

    • Hi Tricia – Settled for a while, anyway. I’m not thinking about anything beyond now. After a decade of living in places where my language level was pretty basic, it’s so nice to be in a place where I feel the language and culture almost as if it’s native to me. I’ve lost a bit since the New Caledonia years, but it’s coming back. It is stressful to not be able to express yourself clearly, but I got used to it and am no longer intimidated by it. It’s difficult to learn a foreign language in America. It’s not like it’s encouraged…or maybe things are different today.

  9. Wow, a beautiful and descriptive essay that shows the façade of life that seems to trap so many. Strange to read how the “fortunate” are actually more closely aligned with the unfortunate… While I’d love to visit Monaco, embrace the Grace Kelly mystic, I think it would end up feeling like Vegas. Good for a day or two and no more 🙂

    • Thank you, Dalo. I’m sad to report that, aside from the elegant tombstone in the cathedral, I felt no Grace Kelly mystique at all. I think that vanished years ago. I read that celebrities no longer come, because the paparazzi is strictly illegal in Monaco. And, even though they deny it, celebrities are nothing without the paparazzi. The new glitterati are mainly from the Arab nations and Russia. Hence the eye-watering bling. It is more like Dubai than Vegas. And just as energy-depleting as both. One day was enough for me. Nice to hear from you. I was beginning to wonder if you were swallowed up by the Bohemian forest. 😉

      • Great description, and yes, I could see Dubai as being a more accurate description. Sad to think the mystic of Grace Kelly has vanished but not totally unexpected I suppose. As for the Bohemian forest, it spit me out for a brief time, but I am brave/stupid enough to have another go at it in the fall 😉 Wishing you great travels ~

  10. When I think of Monaco, I think of Princess Grace, Casinos and the Grand Prix. There’s really no desire on my behalf to visit for more than a few hours. Rural France is so much more inviting.

    I didn’t realise how densely populated Monaco is. Expensive shoeboxes to live in is not my idea of luxury. your wealth experiences sets you apart from the shallow rich.

    • Monaco is the most densely populated country on Earth. A small (65sq.m) one-bedroom apartment in Fontvieille starts at 3.5 million. I doubt they are really lived in year-round. It’s probably just to have the citizenship. It’s a funny little place with a character all its own. I’m happy that I visited, but no desire to go back. If I ever make it down to that part of France again, I’ll be exploring the villages. But my part of France (Anjou) is so tranquil and charming that I’ll be occupied here for a while.

  11. My first thought was that Fabrizio was going to go nuts for that oceanographic museum, but I see he has not checked in here yet! Your top 3 places for travel discomfort are exactly mine (plus a bunch more), and I wonder if I’d take an opportunity to see this one. I probably would, just for a brief eyeful, but I’d move on quickly, as you did. I am dealing right now with a person who thinks that all of life’s problems can be solved by writing a check, and I can’t imagine being on a more different wavelength. I used to push back, but now I watch all the spending and chuckle at how little it is actually accomplishing.

    • Haha. Nope no word from Fabrizio, and now I’m curious about his reaction. I loved the museum. So eccentric. There are lots of places I’d have to be paid to visit. Not sure you could pay me enough to visit Disneyworld or Ibiza or the Burning Man festival. The good thing about Monaco is that it’s so tiny you can see it all in a day or even less. I think I spent 6 hours there and I took my time. Yeah, it’s a strange world. It’s as if the heart becomes a money purse when someone becomes wealthy. I have to admit that sometimes a new dress does make me feel better, but it’s only a temporary fix if the problem is deep-seated.

  12. I can’t say Monaco has ever been high on my “been there, done that” list. Probably the closest I’ve come to a jet set destination is Saint-Tropez, as an excursion on a tour. Fun to look at the nice boats I suppose. The Oceanographic Museum looked interesting. I’d forgotten about discrimination against singles, it’s been a while since I’ve traveled or lived alone. Nice, moody piece, as usual.

    • Thanks, Dave. I visited St. Tropez nearly 30 years ago and I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. And I was a silly 19 year old American who had never been overseas. But, then again, I was focused on the quality of the beach and not the boats. 🙂 So much of the tourism industry caters to families. It’s getting easier to find destinations and attractions that are for the rest of us, but there is a lot of pressure to be family friendly. I’ve read TripAdvisor reviews complaining that this place or that didn’t bend over backwards to accommodate them or (gasp) turned them away. It’s not as if there aren’t enough places that are more than happy to welcome them. That’s not the case for solo travelers.

  13. Monaco something once in a while you catch a look on the movies, hear about the casinos, or the Oceanographic museum, casually read a novel last year by Spanish writer Vicente Blasco Ibáñez. who wrote the novel ‘Enemies of Women’ in 1919, or 1920 when living in Monaco trying to regain his health, and got a better idea about the place thanks to the novel, and now your always entertaining, and informative posts. 🙂

  14. Ugh, Monaco. In the earlier years of high school, if we’d behaved ourselves well enough they’d bring us for the day to some French riviera city for a day trip – Cannes, Juan-les-Pins and, inevitably, Monaco. The sight of the HLM tenements from the motorway, the glitzy boutiques on the Croisette, the rich kids zooming on their Monaco-plated scooters, women in their 60s bathing topless… it was so sad that I’ve never been able to think at those places without a shiver of fear at how sad and pathetic it all felt. You couldn’t even get some half-decent hashish (yes, we’d behaved well!). Can’t say it’s changed at all since then. Frankly, I hate Monaco.
    “Those who have nothing to prove feel no need to belittle.” I’ve seen a few ‘VIP’, and a good more wannabes, and my other half has seen a lot more of either category. She once said exactly the same to me. Or, like my granny used to say, “I veri signori si riconoscono dal comportamento, non dai soldi”.
    Enjoy your little castle, and thanks for your blog Julie!

    • Hi Fabrizio – it all does strike me as a little pathetic, too. It’s funny, because, in their eyes, we are the pathetic ones. To each his/her own, I guess. I totally would have misbehaved, too. 😉

  15. I am happy to be witness to your treasure here. Monaco sounds intense. I’m trying to picture a down-to-earth rich person–someone who orders off the menu, doesn’t get ruffled in traffic, knows how to talk a child down from a nightmare. I’m sure they’re out there. But not being able to take a picture of shoes in a store sort of punctures this fantasy. So much hysteria around fashion and currency. There’s currency, and then there’s current-see I guess.

    Enriched as always by our words, Julie.
    Peace
    Michael

    • Thank you, Michael. It is an intense place for those who are sensitive. I knew it would be a challenge for me, but whenever I started to become agitated, I reminded myself to step back and observe. Ordering off the menu…I remember that most customers ordered off the menu when I worked at the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons and other high end restaurants. The only ones who didn’t were the entourages and wannabes. Go figure. 😉

  16. I know thise feelings so well, having known and come into contact with so many rich people one way or another. I even worked for Princess Michael of Kent once. It was not an experience I would recommend. Nevertheless, it was one I profited from greatly, and I don’t mean financially. That brings me to the condescending of the idea that “The Royal Family is said to be very down-to-earth”. The vague sense of irony you employ it makes me sure you’ll understand that we can only get the true flavour of such ridiculous ideas by flipping them round “The very down-to-earth family is said to be very Royal.” One rules out any possibility of the other, as no family can ever be both.

    • Hi Bryan – I get your irony, and can only shudder at the thought of working for such old money royalty as your Princess of Kent. I don’t personally know Monaco’s Royal Family, so I can’t judge. They are actually called the “Princely Family”, I’ve learned. I don’t follow the media at all, but I do remember some fabulously scandalous tabloid covers over the years, especially regarding Princess Stephanie. Seriously, you can’t make this up:

      “In 2001, Stéphanie began a relationship with married elephant trainer Franco Knie and moved, along with her three children, into Knie’s circus caravan. However, that relationship came to an end in 2002, and Stéphanie and her family returned to Monaco. On 12 September 2003, Stéphanie married Portuguese acrobat Adans Lopez Peres, a member of Knie’s circus ensemble.” (from wikipedia)

      This strikes me as a marvelous F-you to the old royalty of Europe. Maybe she’s not down-to-earth (though her lack of plastic surgery is also impressive), but I can’t help but applaud the insolence.

      • Not to go into too many details – I’ll save them for my blog – I met Princess Michael when the daughter of a SS officer was still just plain Marie-Christine Troubridge. After she got promoted she still used to call my friend with a van to do litte delivery jobs for her, which occasionally needed two. We were trusted enough to go into the dark bits of Royal palaces by ourselves. The chance to do that proved irresistible. But the day she gave her personal secretary a dressing down in front of us, I refused to work for her again. It was made all the worse for him as to him we were just a couple of lowly gofers in his eyes. He may have been a lickspittle, but everyone deserves some respect.

  17. What were you thinking indeed, Julie? 🙂 But all (ad)ventures carry their own reward. Seeing something different. And then one goes home:
    “Plus mon Loir Gaulois que le Tibre Romain,
    Plus mon petit Liré que le mont Palatin,
    Et plus que l’air marin, la doulceur Angevine.”
    Been meaning to read this post (before comments are closed) for a while, but am still struggling with an encumbered (encombrée?) mailbox.
    I read your “bio” somewhere the other day. Filled in some blanks. Made me realize that you went to New Guinea as an anthropologist, or student of. How very Margaret Mead of you. 🙂
    That was my teenage dream, in the late sixties. A fascination with Papua. I would dream of going up the Sepik river, study the local customs. Didn’t know about the mud, the mosquitoes, the fungi… 😉
    And as dreams go, I switched to another and another. Some dreams are best left alone.
    Enjoy the sweetness of Anjou. Plenty of Beauty all around.
    A bientôt.
    B.

    • Yes, what was I thinking in going to Monaco…and Papua New Guinea. Haha. I’m so glad I went to both, because: why not? Both were just as exotic and strange to me. Both had creepy crawlies of different varieties. 😉 PNG is one of the shiniest treasures in my chest of memories. A childhood dream tucked away with love and not regret. I never did become an anthropologist, but in each story I write, I use the observation skills I learned.

      • Going back to your stories (in my mind’s eye) it shows. The observation. 🙂 Training never leaves us, does it? Apart from a summer course in Yucatán, I never took formal Anthropology. Read a bit though. And I still use the observation wherever I go. 🙂
        Be good Julie.

  18. Oh, and your blog is indeed a treasure chest. For all. The chest we shared as children, full of adventures and treasure hunts. Not the chest buried away under a coconut tree. Thanks for sharing.
    Tout va bien j’espère?

    • Oh, what a compliment. Thank you. The treasures of childhoods past. I wonder how many of today’s children will know the joy of exploring a back yard, of formulating expeditions in their imagination. Our generations may be seen as primitive, but I’ll take it over staring at a screen any day.

      • They might have a hard time. Our grandson is 15 months old. We have bought him little books in Paris. But I wonder what sense he can make of rabbits, sheep, horses, squirrels whom he may actually never see for a long time. (Well, there are squirrels in the garde. Need to show him) 😉

  19. I like your personal look at Monaco. Those days have passed when places like Monaco were really quiet and enjoyable. I could feel it only from Remark books. Unfortunately, nowadays because of tourist crowds It is impossible to absorb the atmosphere and soul of those times.

    • So many places have become overrun with tourists, especially in Europe. The entire Mediterranean coast of Europe is pretty much devoid of tranquility nowadays, at least in the summer. I find it very unpleasant, but apparently many are fine with it, because they continue to go. Thanks for stopping by.

  20. Excellent piece. I remember visiting Monaco as an ‘impoverished’ teenage interrailer. Can’t say it left much more of a favourable impression on me and it’s probably one of the last places I would return to in France. But really enjoyed reading what you dug up about the place. It does look really built up now from what I remember of it a long time ago. The garden sounds great though.

  21. “The stories are for me and for those who may be interested. It is okay if no one is.” How many can say that about their lives? Ironically, I’m envious of your incredible ability to live within yourself without the slightest need for others’ affirmations. What I still remember from visiting Monaco so many years ago is how gorgeously the aquamarine sky and ocean shone (more than the diamonds), how strange the locals (why always so suspicious of everyone?), and how I happily never returned (probably what they were hoping for in the first place).

    • I have to admit that the indifference to others’ affirmations is relatively new. I had to systematically unlearn the idea that we must strive for the approval and attention of everyone. Not easy when you’re raised in a look-at-ME culture. It finally came down to just being fed up of trying to be heard over the cacophony of desperation. There’s no freedom like the freedom of not giving a crap.

      So you picked up on the suspicious locals in Monaco, too. They can probably sniff out us undesirables even before we hit the border. 😀

      • Also difficult when one is taught that the idea of success depends on being looked at. I’m still trying to unlearn that one.

        As to the Monaco locals, someone once told me that he could sniff out moneyed people because they had a certain odor. I think it works the other way around too. 😆

  22. Such a well written post… But above all a deep one… At the end, I foud myself thinking of Citizen Kane and Rosewood… Not all that glitters is gold. Nothing gold can stay?… I know myself wealthy people as well, but luckily they go beyond that, as you suggest above… I guess they are not that rich after all and maybe that´s the reason… Or maybe they know how to differentiate between the value and teh price of things (I think I literally took that from Oscar Wilde, but I am not sure, BTW).
    Excellent post, dear Julie… Love & best wishes 😀

    • Thank you, A. ❤️ You may be right about the ability to differentiate between value and price. I have met super wealthy people who could do that, for a while, and then they ended up succumbing to the gold. It’s a strange world, and one I’m happy that I’m not part of.

  23. As I read, can never be sure what to write. Shinny thing I’ve seen have come from traveling a mountain highway of late, passing through mountain villages, finding the moon dancing on still waters crossing bridges, At other times it’s the misty mountain rain waking all that wants to be green and glisten. Late nights and early mornings, melting frosts, moments to pause between blacktop ends. The destination is sad, but these moments in between with such shinny things, always worth stepping out of the truck, even just for awhile, a moment, that instant contemplating, should I stop. Yes happens every time…

  24. It may be strange, but I’ve never spent time in Monaco, and now with your words it seems quite an interesting place to visit! I’ve always a bit “snubbed” it, I don’t know why…All the buildings in your photos don’t really attract me… but Thank You Julie!

    • Hi Cris – I think anywhere can be interesting (for better or worse) if you have an open mind. I’ve actually found that sometimes the places I’ve had an aversion to visiting turn out to be great. Like Sydney or Prague, for example. Nowadays, I try to be less judgemental until I’ve actually seen a place for myself. There are a few places I know I’d despise – like Disneyworld or Ibiza, but if I had to go, I’d make the best of it. Thanks for stopping by!

  25. It must have been nice except for the flight probably! My daughter was spending some time in Monaco, so she was also going through the French riviera. I got a chance to look at wonderful pictures of Monaco, and that is a place I always wanted to spend some time.
    What stops me is definitely the very high prices, and what could make this possible is a chance to paint for some people in Monaco.
    Well, it is interesting to read and compare, but definitely, it is a place with so much history. The nature in that part of the world is breathtaking. One more thing that is always inviting.

    • Yes, the natural scenery in that area is really beautiful. I’d prefer to be up in the surrounding mountains or on the sea than in the cities. I like your idea about painting for people in Monaco. I hope an opportunity like that comes up for you.

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