Monday, June 17, 2024

France 2024 - Monaco

One of my unrealized bucket list trips has been to attend the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco. I began planning this in January 2023 using Grand Prix Grand Tours.

Delta had recently added a non-stop from Atlanta to Nice so that really simplified our travel.

Grand Prix Grand Tours arranged for BLADE helicopters to fly us from Nice to the Monaco heliport. This was the girls' first helicopter flight! They had to put some of our luggage on a second helicopter.

We stayed at the Fairmont Monte Carlo which was actually INSIDE the race track and overlooking the iconic Fairmont Hairpin. As a result, we couldn't be dropped off at the Fairmont, The Fairmont had a reception area outside the track.

They collected our bags there and walked us over the track to the actual hotel.

To get access to the hotel, we had to wear badges all weekend.

Grand Prix Grand Tours had facilitated getting us grandstand tickets at Casino Square. We watched Free Practice 2 from there. Afterwards, we discovered that Nikki Beach on the 7th floor of the Fairmont had a balcony that was available to guests that overlooked the hairpin. We watched most of the rest of the race activity from there taking advantage of the shade and drinks and snacks.

We stumbled upon the Formula 3 cars while trying to cross the street while shopping! Only in Monaco!

While several of us focused on the action on the track, Nathalie and her family entertained the rest of us with excursions to Menton and Nice. She even included Italy just to check off an additional country for the girls!

Saturday evening, we relaxed and dined at Nathalie's house with a gourmet meal prepared by her husband, Bruno. Her mother Francoise also attended.

The race was on Sunday. Again, we watched from Nikki Beach at the Fairmont.

The non-race crowd visited Villa et Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild between Nice and Monaco.

After the race on Sunday, the plan was to meet at Bella Vita near the Formia 1 paddocks.

There was quite a line for a table.

It turned out that due to the street closures, half of us couldn't make it there. In the end, we gathered at Trinity Bar in Monte Carlo.

Back at the Fairmont, we ran into some Rebels on a graduation trip. We helped them get into Nikki Bar much to the chagrin of their parents.

Monaco was quieter on Monday so we rented a car and drove to Eze. We had visited Eze years ago and couldn't wait to return. Eze is a medieval village carved into the side of a mountain overlooking the Cote d'Azur. What more could you ask?

After wandering around for a while looking for a parking lot, we found Fragonard, a perfumery at the foot of the village. They had a convenient parking place and we made purchases.

Near the toilets was a fountain with perfumed bubbles.

Eze is just a maze of beautifully flowered alleys and steps.

We had lunch at Le Nid D'Aigle right next to the entrance of the Le Jardin Exotique.

Look closely at the alcove in the upper left.

Here's a close-up.

In 1991, we had visited Eze and came across this scene.

I had always said that I wanted to retire and run the donkey concession at the Chateau Eze.

Unfortunately the donkey has been retired! Here is the same location now.

I guess I missed my chance.

After the Eze, we headed to the beach at Saint Jean Cap Ferrat to let the girls put their feet in the Mediterranean.

On to Paris!

Zoom in and you can really see some details.


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