The moment we stepped off the jet boat and I looked up at the 360 degree view, I felt like I had stepped into a fairy tale. I suppose Monaco really is one, with real princesses and magical castles, making you almost dizzy as you spin around, trying to catch every glimpse of literal perfection. From the perfectly manicured floral landscape, to buildings that look as if they are not actually real, but a movie set prop, which has only the front facade. As we were rushed off the pier by our guide for the day, I snuck a few photos in with the girls, trying to take in the beautiful moment.
I still pitch myself at the thought of being able to show them these places where Eric and I had traveled to seven years ago, as our last big trip before starting a family. To come back now as a family and walk those same pretty streets, hand in hand with our little loves. Monaco specifically was such a special place for us, because we ended up naming Grace in part after Grace Kelly, when we reminisced about being in Monaco and how magical it was.
Since this day was amid our Disney cruise leg of the trip, we had limited time in Monaco, so we decided instead of rushing around, less would be more. We wanted to have a relaxing day, focusing on quality versus quantity. We toured the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, after a pretty long wait in a line. If you are not into waiting in lines (because um who is?!) I’m not sure I would recommend this tour. Although the castle was absolutely beautiful, with some breathtaking décor, which was truly inspiring, doing a tour like that while traveling with children is definitely not the best option.
The positive was that the whole area where the long wait was is a completely open, car free space with breathtaking views and some fun things for kids to explore. That definitely saved us!
After the tour, we did our usual, getting lost on purpose walk, and discovered an amazing little pizza/crepe café in the middle of a tiny adorable alley. The girls and I sat and people watched, me with a ‘Monaco’ beer in hand, while Eric was on a mission for carbs and lots of them! I think we got 6 different things to split between the 4 of us and it was heaven!
The crepes (especially the Nutella one) were some of the best I’ve ever had. Yes, that’s with ones in Paris included! And we even went back for seconds of one of the pizza slices, which we passed around and miraculously did not get all over us! That’s the thing with Europe. Some of my fondest culinary memories are the random street discoveries, tucked away without any loud host screaming “come in, we’re amazing!” luring poor tourists in for a mediocre meal. Not that this is a pro tip, because I am certainly no world traveler, but use this as rule number one, when traveling. If a restaurant is begging you to come in, it’s probably not that great.
After lunch we wandered for the next few hours, finding a little cafe where Grace ate too many deserts and I had too many tiny strong coffees. I could sit outside at one of those european cafes for hours if I could! Just taking in the sights and the amazing people watching. Aside from tourists I am always amazed at how people dress in Europe. How stylish and polished everyone is, especially older ladies. They just have this effortless chic factor that I want to ask them to teach me how to achieve!
After our chill cafe session it was time to head back to the cruise ship, and I got a little sad, as I looked forward to this stop of our trip for so long. I wondered how long it would be, if ever, that we would come back to this wonderful little piece of the world. We walked back to our jet boat and I made sure to take an extra long look at every beautiful building and each perfectly manicured flower bush, trying hard to mentally lock in the memories of this special day. Until next time Monaco!