Finding the cheat code…in the Cote d’ Azur

Just as we crossed the border from Italy into France, the rain clouds gave way to sunshine.  A few minutes later we exited off the highway towards Monaco, came around a 180 degree switch back in the road and saw the light blue waters of the Mediterranean up close.  The first words out of Taylor’s mouth were, “Somebody found the cheat code!”  And that about sums up our three days in the Cote d’ Azure.  The cheat code (think Nintendo…Super Mario Brothers or Contra…”up up left left down down right right”, and viola you have crazy super powers) was never turned off.  We had three crystal clear days and enjoyed lounging around the beautiful beaches of Monaco and Southern France and strolling through the coastal cities.

Rewind a few days, back to Sunday.  Taylor’s flight arrived in the afternoon after a significant delay from being rerouted over the Atlantic to save a passenger’s life (a bit dramatic, but true).  He was packed and ready for an alpine backpacking trip and had enough underwear to last him during the 10 day European whirlwind tour he and his buddy Connor would be starting in one week’s time.  He was well aware that Megan had hurt her knee right before his arrival and that we might need to change our plans.  He seemed to be up for anything though.  Afterall, this was his last big vacation before starting law school in August.

Megan’s MRI appointment was first thing on Monday morning at 7 am.  By 11:00, we received the news that immediate surgery would not be necessary.  By 12:00, we had researched potential options and cheap flights from Zürich for the week and come to a conclusion.  The beach seemed only logical…it was summer, had a great weather forecast, and would allow Megan to relax without having to move around too much and aggravate her injured knee.  We were debating between flying to Barcelona or driving to the Cote d’ Azur.  Driving won out for its flexibility.  We booked a rental car and hotel in Beausoleil, France (located just above Monaco and about a 10 minute walk from the beach) for the next day.  And by 6 PM on Tuesday evening, me, Megan, Taylor, and Sydney were checked into our hotel in the French Riviera.   Last minute trip planning at its finest.

The next morning, we grabbed a fresh breakfast from the daily street market and then enjoyed Larvotto beach in Monte Carlo, Monaco for the day.  In the evening, we ate dinner harbour-side and shared a bottle of wine overlooking the Mediterranean.

Larvotto Beach, Monte Carlo

Monaco Harbor, with Lady Moura (24th largest yacht in the world)

Monaco was a pretty incredible place.  I had never seen such wealth before.  Before we left Monaco, I began to feel it was normal for people to drive Bentleys, Porches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bugatis and Rolls Royces.  We pondered together over the type of wealth it must take to own one of the countless mega-yachts in the harbor or one of the 10 Rolls Royces lined up in front of the Monte Carlo Casino.

Ferrari in front of the Monte Carlo casino

We went to Villefrance Sur Mer the next day, which turned out to be what I would consider the most beautiful beach I have seen in our two trips to the Cote d’ Azur.  With a colorful village as its backdrop, the beach and bay in front of the beach were stunning.

Villefrance

Surf and sailboats at the beach in Villefrance

After spending the next morning at the beach in Monaco, we opted for some sight-seeing during our last afternoon in the Cote D’ Azur.  We visited Eze, a medieval cliff-top village overlooking the Mediterranean.  We walked through its town walls and then up to the famous gardens at the cliffs.

Taylor and I in the ruins of the old fort above Eze

Panoramic view above Eze

After Eze, we went to Nice to check out a few of the sites of Southern France’s largest city.  We walked through the old town (Vieille Ville), along the Promenade des Anglais, and up to the Castle Hill which had beautiful views of the beach and the harbor.

Beach in Nice along the Promenade des Anglais

Harbor in Nice

We made our way back to Monte Carlo for the evening to enjoy our last night.  We walked back down to the casino to gawk at the cars and fanfare and then hung out by the harbor to enjoy the evening’s lights.

Us in front of the fountains at the Monte Carlo casino

Megan & Syd in front of the harbor

Larvotto beach and the bay at night

It turned out to be a great trip…especially since we arrived not much more than 24 hours after we decided to go.  For Taylor it was probably a bit tame, but he made up for it during his 10 day tour of Florence, Paris, and Amsterdam.  It was great hanging out with my youngest, but tallest bro for a week.  Now, it’s time to make plans for when Trace comes to visit in December.

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  1. #1 by Miles on August 9, 2011 - 4:54 am

    When asked how much it costs to maintain his yacht, J.P. Morgan responded, “If you have to ask the price, you have no business owning a yacht.”

  2. #2 by shana on August 14, 2011 - 8:57 pm

    sydney is such a well-traveled dog

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