France with Laura – Monaco

After we departed from our hotel in Cannes we went to a wonderful place called Eze.  We stayed at the most beautiful little hotel, high up in the mountains with fabulous views.  I highly recommend this place for the room, food and views so I’m adding this link to the Eze Hermitage Hotel in case you are interested.  As usual getting there was a bit of an adventure.  It wasn’t a long ride but we did it still without a map and it was very high up a hill on a narrow road filled with tunnels and sharp turns; all in all a pretty scary drive.  At least we did it in the daylight.  We stayed here two nights and it was convenient for visiting San Remo, Italy, Menton, France, Monte Carlo, Monaco and of course the medieval village of Eze.

After we arrived and checked out the grounds we decided to take the trip to Monte Carlo for a visit to the casino.  But as we were getting ready Laura discovered that she had left her borrowed cell phone in the hotel in Cannes.  So she went to the desk to call the hotel and see if they had found her phone.  Luckily for her the clerk in Eze spoke English very well as the phone conversation with the clerk in Cannes was not going too well.  Eventually one clerk spoke to another and it was confirmed that they had the phone and only wanted her to send them an email with the mailing address and her credit card number so they could bill her directly for the charge.  She came up to the room to get the mailing address of my boyfriend in England, as it was his phone and she knew it would be easiest to send it on to him, rather than take the chance it got to us here only to find we had already left for Marseille.  She went back to the computer in lobby to write them the email and discovered something totally frustrating, even worse than the language barrier she had 10 minutes earlier with the hotel clerk, the keyboard was completely different.

Now this is something I am kind of used to being that I use my boyfriend’s computer often and it too is not like the typical American keyboard.  In France it is even worse though, as there are additional and different letters (with accents and what have you), causing them to hide other things like the @ button and the Shift button, in odd places.  Laura got a bit freaked out.   She had a cold at this point and was a bit on edge from being sick, not speaking the language and being frustrated from leaving the cell phone behind in the first place.  Typing the simple email was not so simple and after a bunch of attempts she had to ask the desk clerk for assistance.  Upon returning to the room I could see that she had been crying.  Who would have thought a simple email would be so frustrating?  Don’t worry in Marseille I got my change to find out too!

Anyway we got dressed and went to Monaco along the coastal road.  Along the way Laura reminded me (many times) that Grace Kelly died driving off of one of these cliffs.  I admit it is a bit scary being the one on that side of the car without a guard rail but really she didn’t have to make me scared too did she?  I remember at one point a motorcycle came up fast behind me and because I was going too slowly for his taste he honked at me and passed, giving me a not so friendly gesture on the way by.

Monaco, like Eze,  is high up in places and on the water in others.  The casino is low on the water by the port; the parking is high in the mountains.  We were dressed in heels and of course that meant a long walk down many, many steps to get to where the action was.  Also it was typical for France as far as parking, we went round and round till we found a space, parked and hoped getting out wouldn’t be too difficult later on.  Luckily we had the forethought to pack flip-flops in our purses and down all those horrible steps we went.

Maybe it was a crazy thing but from all that we had read and seen of the Casino in Monaco we expected it to be a swanky affair.  We were, however, the only ones dressed up.  We walked around the area, had pleasant (but not good) dinner at Café de Paris and then sat around the big glass ball across from the casino “admiring” the outfits that came and went.  We didn’t want to go in too early since from what we knew of casinos they are much more lively and interesting at night.  Neither of us is a big gambler but if you’re going you have to try your luck a little and since we didn’t want to loose too much we were trying to limit our time in there.  So we watched the people for a while before entering.

First let me say the way people were dressed outside should have given us a clue.  I don’t know if they were tourists or locales but the outfits were atrocious.  There was a cruise ship in port so I’m really hoping they were tourists and from the ship and just not trying to be dressed up.  But even now, I’m still not sure.  We took a few pictures of some classic outfits and then finally went into the casino, freshened up our makeup (well one of us did), changed our shoes and headed for the main event.

Talk about a letdown.  It was empty and those that were there were very unimpressive. No James Bond, no Grace Kelly, no anybody interesting, glamorous or beautiful.  A total let down and they had the nerve to charge us €20 to get in.  We wander around and played the slots hoping the crowd would change, we quickly lost another €40 or so and still nobody of any interest was in the casino.  We watched some gamble (no real high rollers) and then we gave up.  We headed to a club around the corner, had a few drinks and then walked up those many, many steps back to our car and drove those windy, hilly roads back to our hotel and went to bed.

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