But then Jeff found out that he had to travel for work to a three-day meeting in Monaco. And, well... I couldn't let him go to Monaco without me, could I? The combination of company-funded hotel and meals (and Jeff's plane ticket) + our large amount of airline miles thanks to Jeff's frequent business travel (hello, free plane ticket for me!) + the trip happening just before I entered the "shouldn't travel overseas" phase of pregnancy was just too good to pass up, so we made plans to spend a week in the French Riviera!
Anyway, we flew into Nice, France and took a taxi to arrive in Monaco on a Monday morning. We stayed at the Riviera Marriott, and our room had a lovely view of Port Cap d'Ail.
Jeff's meetings didn't start until Tuesday, so we spent Monday walking around, getting acquainted with the city. We went to the royal palace and the Cathedral and saw the Princess Grace rose garden before grabbing pizza for dinner.
Jeff was in meetings all day Tuesday through Thursday, so I explored on my own during the day! On Tuesday I went back to the royal palace (stopping along the way at each little scenic overlook for pictures!) and went on the palace tour.
After the palace tour I explored Old Town Monaco and wandered all around the tiny streets! I found a Christmas ornament in one of the little souvenir shops (we always buy Christmas ornaments when we travel somewhere), and I stumbled upon the prettiest little chapel, where I stopped and lit a candle and sat down and prayed for our baby. It was a special little moment!
I spent some time oohing and ahhing at the really big yachts in Port Hercules...
...and I walked along a bunch of trails on the coast to find the Theatre du Fort Antoine, a pretty little amphitheater.
I made it back to the hotel right as a giant rainstorm started, so Jeff and I had dinner at the hotel's restaurant to avoid getting drenched by the storm!
On Wednesday I went back to the palace again to watch the changing of the guard. Not quite as much pomp and circumstance as Buckingham Palace, but it was still a fun thing to watch!
I spent the rest of the morning and part of the afternoon wandering around the Musee Oceanographique. It has four floors... the first is an aquarium, the second and third are full of museum-type things related to the ocean and marine life (largely from one of Monaco's prince's sea expeditions), and the fourth floor is a beautiful terrace overlooking the Mediterranean.
After I left the museum, I still had some time to kill before Jeff was done with his meetings for the day, so I rode a little train that takes you all around Monaco to see various sights. The entire country of Monaco is about half a square mile, so the train literally takes you all over the country!
The train went to a lot of the sights I had already seen, but it also drove along the Grand Prix race route and went into Monte Carlo, where the big Monte Carlo Casino is!
Before heading back to the hotel, I stopped for gelato in Old Town Monaco. Yumm!
I spent part of the afternoon spying on the giant yachts... some of them are HUGE. And they all have their own staff and fancy furniture! I was totally amazed.
On Thursday night, Jeff and I had dinner at a delicious Italian restaurant in Port Fontveille, and then we walked to Monte Carlo to have dessert at Cafe de Paris!
We sat on the patio at Cafe de Paris, and we have an up-close view of all the fancy cars and people headed to the casino!
On Friday morning we got up early and took some croissants and juice to the Princess Grace rose garden for breakfast.
And then it was time to catch a taxi back to Nice! Thanks for the memories, Monaco!