No trip to the south of France, French Riviera, Cote d’Azur (whatever you want to call it) would be complete without visiting Monaco. I had the opportunity to take a day trip to Monaco in May for the Monaco Grand Prix.
This small nation state is situated between the french and and Italian borders on the mediterranean coast. The train from Cannes to Monte-Carlo Monaco is about an hour long. The ride takes you along the Côte d’Azur, where you pass by the most picturesque little villages the French Riviera has to offer.
Arriving into Monte Carlo, we followed the crowd of people out. It was as if i were stepping into a fairytale land or a James Bond scene. A seaside resort town with light colored towers filling the cliffside, overlooking the Mediterranean. You can’t get much better than this.
Monaco Grand Prix tickets
First stop was to get our tickets for the Monaco Grand Prix. I use my trusty google maps to get us to the Grand Prix ticket office, the line and it is nice and short. Vicki and Angeli get their tickets, they are sitting next to each other in section T, Vanessa and Natti get their tickets and they are sitting next to each other, and next to Vicki in Section T. I get my ticket and I am all alone in a completely different section. What the…
Pleeeeeease sir, please don’t make me sit alone. I plead with the man to see if there is anything he can do to get me near my friends, or at least the same section. He goes through the hundreds of tickets in section T and finds a single ticket next to them he can swap. Thank you! Thank you! A modern day miracle worker. Now we can enjoy ourselves and monaco.
Exploring Monte Carlo
We walk around the steep stone streets exploring Monte Carlo. THe city seemed a bit dated, and doesn’t scream money. However, people don’t lie when they say Monaco is pricey…be ready to drop some cash on food and drinks. It didn’t help that it was Grand Prix weekend. We continue walking around until we spot a street lined with fun: bars, restaurants, shops, music and stands for the GP. It is now about 10:30AM…a drink sounds just about right.
We find a great spot with outdoor seating. Instead of being normal humans sitting half on each side, we gather all to one side. You know for optimal people watching position. We order 5 beers, and the waiter immediately calls us out. Apparently if you are a female and it’s morning, champagne is the only acceptable drink. Lesson learned?
The Official Monaco Grand Prix
Be prepared to know where to go, the signage at the Monaco Grand Prix is pretty poor. We had no idea which way to go, so we basically try every entrance gate. After getting turned away from several gates, like a bunch of thirsty broads, we finally find our gate.
We are officially at the world famous Monaco Grand Prix. The section we are in is across from the pit crews. We have a great view of the track, with the Harbor directly behind. We quickly find our seats and settle in. It is hot out, especially just sitting in the stands, with the sun beating on you.
The weather reads 72 fahrenheit and partly cloudy. Lies, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it had to be 80. I am wearing a long dress and I am already dying; it’s not even noon. As quickly as we find our seats, we leave to find shade and water. There is a good chance I spent half the time under the grandstands in the shade. I was just thirsting over all the yachts docked in the harbor.
Working up a thirst and an appetite, we opt for lunch. The great part about the Monaco Grand Prix is that you can come and go as you please (as long as you have your ticket). We walk up to the central city area, to see what we can find. Hearing what sounds like a parade, we look down and it is this fabulous road that drops down and opens up to views of all the cliffside towers. Following the music, we make our way down the street.
We found them! The band that is. And there is a restaurant with outdoor seating in front of the band. Yes! I love a meal and a show! We switch from water to sangria and then beer. It didn’t matter how much I drank, I was not getting drunk. It was so hot out, I was probably sweating all the alcohol out. Time for more F1.
We had back into the Monaco Grand Prix to watch more racing and the secondary drivers. From the sound of all the F1 cars, to the speed at which these drivers whip around corners, the Monaco Grand Prix is exhilarating. The race ends around 5PM and we start making our way out like cattle being herded.
After the Monaco Grand Prix
After the racing ends at Grand Prix, our thoughts are to go check out the Monte Carlo Casino. Trying to find a taxi after the Grand Prix is like trying to wait up for Santa… it just isn’t going to happen. Using my high school french, i am able to get through to the taxi company. The wait is an hour long. However there is another option. We can get on a city bus and be at the casino less than an hour all for $2. I’m in to that.
As we wait for the taxi, like a predator stalking it’s prey, Vicki spots Serena Williams. For those of you who do not know, she is the world’s greatest athlete. BO$$ Lady. Vicki’s eye’s don’t move from Serena, as she passes by her. Not even for the argument that breaks out between Vanessa and Natti. Apparently Nattie and Vanessa wanted to stay longer, but no one told us. I don’t have ESP, just tell me. The last thing i knew was we wanted to eat, and then go to the casino.
What do you know a bus rolls up, I asked the driver, and he said he stops at the Casino. I wave everyone over. It feels so good to be on the air conditioned bus, I am hot, tired and hungry aka miserable. But not as miserable as Vanessa I guess. Apparently were peasants for taking a bus in Monaco. God forbid, get off your high horse Vanessa. TO make things worse, as I sat next to VIcki, we could hear Vanessa talking shit to Angeli about Vicki. Not cool. But I guess being on a bus isn’t that cool.
Luxury Shopping in Monaco
Getting off the bus we arrived at our destination…. I think. We didn’t see the casino, but this was the stop. Vanessa is still in a shit mood but I refuse to acknowledge it, I’m not letting her kill my vibe. Then I saw it, I saw a sign (and it opened up my eyes…) for the casino. We had to take this path that led through a shopping area of buildings that resemble these futuristic metallic pods. These pods are scattered in a wave like pattern, and are filled with some of the most luxurious brands: Dolce & Gabbana, Céline, Miu Miu, Cartier and more.
We make our way through the bevy of luxury, gawking into every window display. We had no intention of buying anything, but we hear Angeli drooling over Céline Bags. And what do you know there is a Céline store. It’s another sign, we must go in.
It’s like the ‘Rain Man’ came out of Angeli. Every known fact about Céline bags and the brand just started rattling out from her. She was trying out an assortment of different colored and sized bags. Solid black or mixed neutrals? Small or large? So many choices. Angeli has found her heaven.
While Angeli is in her Céline tranz, we are being offered Champagne and chocolates. Why thank you. The great thing about luxury shopping is all the free champagne you get. Champagne in hand, Vanessa is finally cheering the fuck up. Angeli decides to hold off because she wants to buy her Céline bag in Paris. Naturally. We move on for more window shopping.
Miu Miu & Louis Vuitton
Intrigued by the Miu Miu window, I float my way over. Not only is this window fascinating, so is learning about Vicki’s mother’s love of Miu Miu heels. Love it. What we didn’t love was the Louis Vuitton Master Collection with Jeff Koons. I didn’t care for the large blown up Mona Lisa to be replicated on a wallet or a tote. If I want this I’d purchase a wallet from a museum shop.
We make our way towards the end of the walk way. The area opens up, with a fountain in the center of a traffic circle, surrounded by casinos and fine dining restaurants. Oh, let’s not forget Cartier. My eyes are wide open now.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend and who doesn’t love Cartier and the Cartier love bracelet. Straight savages that’s who. Vicki and I need the Cartier Love Bracelet, so naturally we suggest we go into cartier and try them on. As we enter Cartier, I feel the staffs eyes, judging. Like they knew we weren’t buying anything. 🙁 Service was not very good, but we still love the Cartier love bracelet.
The lady places on the white gloves, and undoes the bracelet lock. She places it on me, and then shows me how I need someone to lock it. Romance 🙂 Turns out I have baby writsts, and need to special order mine. Vicki and I make a pact that if we win big at the casino we will buy the bracelets for each other. With the Cartier Love Braclet on my mind, we head straight into the famous Monte Carlo Casino.
As I enter the Monte-Carlo Casino, I am amazed by the overall grandness of the casino. Everything from the walls, to the ceiling to the floors…there is so much ornate detail, so much luxury. In line we pay the $20 entrance fee. Vanessa basically runs in, and Natti is stuck outside. Security refuses to let her in unless she checks her shopping bag. She is complaining because Vanessa is in the casino with her bag. I walk past this and somehow get in with my shopping bag, but not for long lol.
Natti is throwing a fit now, and she waltzes in with the guards. Apparently, both Vanessa and I have to check our bags. Natti doesn’t want to go alone, and Vanessa refuses to get up. Vanessa also assumes we will take her bag, so she throws us her bag and tells us to check it too. Vanessa’s pretentious attitude is getting on my last nerve. This girl clearly has no self awareness; I wanted to throw the bag back at her and tell her to check it herself but I didn’t. I just go, and keep the peace.
The Bar at the Monte-Carlo Casino
Entering the Casino Floor (for a second time) you are still instantly greeted by this magnificent glass mosaic dome. There is the perfect casino bar to the left, with a great selection of wine and spirits. I can finally order my drink. A bloody mary, as I’m a bit hungry… and as you know a bloody mary is basically a meal. I class it up after with a glass of wine, I’m not a straight savage. Meanwhile back at our tiny table, with all five of us smooshed around it, Natti is getting in trouble again because she is taking pictures. That is a big no no…no pictures inside the casino.
Hitting The Slots
Vanessa and Natti decide to get up and walk around. Vicki, Ang and I opt to gamble. I mean we are in a casino and we do need to buy those Cartier Love Bracelets at $10,000 each. We feel our money is best spent at the penny slots; it’s a marathon not a race. That and the tables just seemed too intimidating without enough liquid courage. Spotting several well lit, musical slot machines, we finally found the one. The Buffalo. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m from Buffalo.
Money in. Pulling the level we do a chant and a dance, somewhat mimicking that of a Native American rain dance. You could say we were making a scene, but we had one thing on our minds Cartier Love Bracelets. Big Money Money Money. We Win. About $5. From the look and sounds of us, one would think we won $5,000. We end up breaking about even, and calling it quits. Hungry, we cash in our 5 cents, and we head out in search of food. Maybe we can eat our sadness of no Cartier Love Bracelets away. 🙁
Dinner in Monte-Carlo
We are starving. Like Hangry. It had to be about 9PM, and we wanted to make the 10:45PM train back to Cannes. We thought this would be more than enough time to eat. FALSE. What we didn’t account for was no restaurant having any availability. Monaco is small with limited restaurants. When you are hungry, and you add hundreds of thousands of people for the Grand Prix, and don’t make a reservation, you will be miserable.
Seriously, every restaurant laughed at us when we asked to how long the wait was without a reservation. Seeing a line of people outside for the Casino de Paris’ outdoor terrace, reservations are not required. Perfect. Except it’s 9:30PM, and the wait is 45 minutes. Meaning we have 15 min to go in order, eat, and pay before having to leave to catch the train. No pressure, right? About 30 minutes go by, we contemplate having an ice cream dinner and then leave.
Finally they call us to be seated. The Terrace is nice, it is large with lots of small round tables facing the square and the monte carlo casino. We have 25 minutes now to order, eat, and pay. Looking over the menu, everything was so expensive. $20 for a club sandwich. The most expensive club sandwich ever. However, they are quick to make, and we are in a bind.
We place our order and wait. As we wait Vanessa brings up the idea of staying out until 5AM to catch the next train. ABSOLUTELY NOT. lol I said if we do that, I am not going to Nikki Beach tomorrow. Holy shit, you thought I said something about her family. She snaps on me. She is yelling at me, asking why I even came on this trip. She tells me, I don’t appreciate anything. Vicki casually tells Vanessa enough with personal attacks. Vanessa snaps on Vicki for taking sides. Hangry, I give into the toxicness, and start yelling back. WTF?!
Food comes, and I quickly scarf down some of my sandwich while I still have an appetite. It’s at that point I see all the stares from other tables, Vicki and Angeli are super quiet just staring at their phones, that is when I realize…fuck we made a scene. I really don’t want it to be like this the rest of the 4 days I am with Vanessa, so I calm down.
I apologize to Vanessa and the girls for yelling. I calmly tell Vanessa, I came on this trip to be with my friends. I continue with I do appreciate the bachelorette stuff, but it is hard for me right now to show emotion; dealing with serious family and personal issues. I tell her she is also wrong for the way she handled herself. She apologises and I think we make up. Trust me, it is not this easy.
Getting from Monte-Carlo to Cannes after the Monaco Grand Prix
We walk into the station, and get line at the ticket kiosk. As we are waiting, there are two latin guys there, and of course Vanessa starts talking to them; speaking in Spanish of course. I want to know what is being said. As she flirts, we walk over to the platform to catch the next train to Cannes. The train comes, not sure if it is ours or not, we get on. Quickly finding seats, it feels so good to just sit down.
What was suppose to be a relaxing hour train ride, turned creepy… pretty quickly. Since there was 5 of us, one of us had to sit alone. Natti sat by herself but not for long. This vile man walks through our train car, and Vanessa has a tendency to stare at people. Well the french like to stare as well. Not sure if they locked eyes or what, but this man 180s around and plops down next to Natti.
This man is trying to strike up a conversation with both Natti and Vanessa. Giving them constant unwarranted compliments. It was just getting super annoying and uncomfortable. Thank goodness for Vanessa’s ability to be direct. She basically tells the man he needs to go, and he does. lol . This woman seated in front of us, applauded Vanessa. This woman lives in the south of France and expresses that these interactions with men happen a lot on the trains. You need to always be direct. #LessonLearned