Travel Thoughts By Kim

By Kim Pritt, Contributor Posted 24 October 2022 at 8:29 am

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (a.k.a. St. Nicholas Cathedral) in Monaco – the church where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III. They are both also buried in this cathedral in the Grimaldi family vault.

Let’s go on an adventure together…to Monaco

This is the fifth in a series of articles from a Mediterranean Adventure I took in August. This post will focus on the third port of the Mediterranean cruise portion of the trip – Monaco.

As a young girl with stars in her eyes and an intense curiosity about the glamorous lives of Hollywood movie stars, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the life of American actress Grace Kelly. While in Cannes for the annual film festival, Grace met Monaco’s Prince Rainier. The couple had a fairy tale romance that captured hearts world-wide and they were married in 1956, giving America a princess to call their own. Princess Grace was loved the world over and there are many references to her throughout Monaco. The couple had three children – Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stephanie. Princess Grace died in 1982 at the age of 52 from injuries from a car accident after suffering a stroke and losing control of her car. Her teenage daughter, Stephanie, was with her in the car. She suffered some head injuries, but survived the accident. Prince Rainier was heartbroken and never remarried. He died in 2005. The current Prince of Monaco is their son, Prince Albert, who took reign after his father’s death.

The Prince’s Royal Palace in Monaco overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

So, it should be no surprise that I chose a shore excursion that allowed me to enjoy a full day exploring Monaco – the home of Princess Grace. The port was Cannes, France and offered tours of Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, and Monaco with some other options around that area of the French Riviera. When I saw a 7.5 hour “on your own” tour of Monaco, I got so excited. It was the port I looked most forward to and it ended up being my favorite port of the trip. Don’t get me wrong – Tuscany is still a very close second, but Monaco stole my heart – just as I knew it would!

Monaco is the second smallest country after Vatican City. It is officially named the Principality of Monaco and classified as a sovereign city-state. Monaco is bordered by France on the north, east, and west and covers an area just shy of one square mile. Monaco City sits high up on a rock (known as the Rock of Monaco) overlooking the French Riviera and the Mediterranean Sea. From inside the parking garage where the bus had to park, we took two escalators, one elevator, and one more escalator to get up to Monaco City. To get to the parking garage, we drove through Mo


nte Carlo, which is also part of Monaco and located at the base of the rock. Monte Carlo is, of course, famous for gambling and the Formula One Grand Prix road race. The bus driver let us know when we were at each of the critical points on the race circuit. There was a young fan on the bus, so the driver stopped at the starting point and took off making the sound of a race car gaining speed over the microphone! It was cool and definitely thrilled the young lad!

One of the quaint market streets in Monaco where shops and restaurants are located.

I took in all the sites of Monaco City and Monte Carlo via a hop-on-hop-off tour. I also wandered around Monaco City and had blueberry crepes for lunch at a little outdoor café across from the Royal Palace. It was an extremely hot day, but there was a beautiful breeze up on the rock and lots of shade, so it was actually very pleasant to walk around and enjoy the amazing little country. I saw the Monaco Oceanographic Marine Sciences Museum, where Jacques-Yves Cousteau was the museum director from 1957 to 1988 and where much of his work is housed. I also saw his little yellow submarine – that was cool! Other sights were the Prince’s Royal Palace (with the absolute cutest palace guards ever), the cathedral where Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier and where they are both buried, quaint little market streets and courtyards, beautiful gardens, and some of the most amazing views from the top of the Rock of Monaco overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

It was a relaxing and picture perfect day that I will remember forever. What a thrill to be there and walk in Princess Grace’s footsteps and see the impeccable beauty of the second smallest (and the most expensive and wealthiest) country in the world.

For more info and photos about my day in Monaco, check out my Blog Post here!

Happy Adventuring!