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Cote d’Brrrrr…

Posted by Anita Dunham-Potter On October - 26 - 2007

Wind Surf and Wind Spirit docked in Monaco The Wind Surf is docked in the comfy confines of Hercule Harbor surrounded by multi-million dollar yachts including Princess Caroline’s. We’re in the midst of a cold wave here on the Cote d’Azur and you need to be dressed warm – something I didn’t plan too well at as I expected temperatures at least 20 degrees higher – not in the 40’s. The Monegasques are appropriately attired in Burberry, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and the like. I in my Gap khaki pants and black windbreaker don’t fit in but my Prada backpack does.

Today, I’ll be touring the mediaeval walled town of Eze and the Rothschild Villa and Gardens. The 9th century village of Eze, France ranks high on the list as things to see in French Riviera. After a ten-minute walk straight up the hill I found myself 1400 feet above sea level and that fact isn’t lost on me as a hawk soars past my head. At the top of Eze is an expansive view of the glittering Mediterranean Sea that stretches from Italy to Saint-Tropez.

Eze, FranceEze is an amazing place with narrow, cobblestone alleys with a hotel, restaurants, cafes and craft boutiques hidden in tiny caves dug out of the rocky hillside hawking postcards, olive wood cutting boards, saffron, and French scarves. I could have spent the entire day here getting lost, but after one hour we were summoned to the bus to take us to our next stop: Villa de Rothschild.

Built for the Baroness Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, the villa and gardens took five years to build and were eventually finished in 1910. After the Baroness’ death in 1934 she bequeathed the property to the French government, which operates the tours that are enjoyed by approximately 150,000 visitors a year.

Villa de RothschildWith the exception of the Pepto-Bismol colored walls, the house is okay by mansion standards, but I wasn’t impressed. However, the view from the top of Cap-Ferrat and the gardens is impressive. The gardens spread out of several acres and even on this cold October day roses are still in bloom as were many other plants. I would love to visit again when the gardens are in full bloom from May-August.

I return to the ship and have a hot stone massage that makes me into a noodle. I am far too relaxed to go to the restaurant for dinner, so I order a great cheeseburger from room service — sometimes you just don’t want frou-frou food. Afterwards I fall asleep.

View from gardens at Villa de RothschildIt’s Day 2 in Monaco; it’s raining and I don’t feel so good — it’s never a good idea to go to sleep after a cheeseburger. The Wind Surf has company today. Docked behind us is another Windstar ship, Wind Spirit.

I’ve been to Monaco before and I wasn’t really in the mood to go to the casino or go cafe hopping. There were a few Americans onboard complaining that they were treated rudely by waiters in the restaurants the previous evening. I believe it; you haven’t really been to the French Riviera until you’ve been treated like crap by a French waiter. Baptism by escargot.

C’est NemoThe nice thing about Monaco is that there is always something to do here when it rains, museums are a good option. I had not been to aquarium, so I hiked a mere 10-minute in the rain to the Musee Oceanographique Monaco. This is an impressive display of aquatic wildlife from all over the world. There is a huge shark tank that rises two levels and is surrounded by various tanks with different fish exhibits. I have a lot of company today, seems like everyone wants to get in touch with their inner Jacques Cousteau today. Children squeal at the clown fish — I hear one child with a French accent scream “C’est Nemo!”

Moray EeelAfter two hours of aquarium touring, I wander outside where it’s now pouring. Sigh. Still despite the rain there’s something intoxicating about walking around Monaco. Is it the smell of the lemon trees and eucalyptus? I don’t know. I have no qualms about walking around by myself. Let’s put it this way — I am being watched the entire time. There are 340 video surveillance cameras within this one square mile principality. On top of that, there is a ratio of one police officer for every 60 citizens – one of the safest places on earth.

As I end afternoon walking along the pier back to the ship, I encounter two Maseratis (one black and one white) being filmed near the Wind Surf for a commercial. Only in Monaco.

Tomorrow: Portofino, Italy and the Wind Surf’s crew talent show

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2 Responses to “Cote d’Brrrrr…”

  1. seo says:

    Eze is beautful my aunt used to live there when I was small, spent several very happy summers there as a child. ..thanks for the memories 🙂

  2. Silvy says:

    I can assure you that visit Portofino is something very unique. Most of the person around the world think to Portofino as one of the eight wonder of the world!! Kiss Silvy

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