Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Principality of Monaco

 Monaco, the old City is perched atop a rock, this is where the Palace is located. Monaco is the 2nd smallest Country and the most densely populated, it is less then 1 square mile. It is called a principality, not a country. There is about 35,000 residents, but rarely are they all there, most are extremely wealthy and possess many homes. This is the Palace taken from Monte Carlo. Most residents live off the rock. Monaco is still ruled by the House of Grimaldi, currently Prince Albert the 2nd.
 This is 1/2 of the Palace. One immediately notices ALL those cannons that surround the Palace. Some of these cannons date back to to the 16th century. 
 You also notice there are guards marching, it is amazing to me, that only a chain link fence separates  you from the palace and the guards, and of course their weapons!!! We arrived a bit late and missed the Changing of the Guards ceremony.

 When we arrived most of the crowd size had diminished.
 Big Red really enjoyed his Palace visit.
 This large door is called the Door of Honour, prior to this door being added, the Royal Family had to enter and exit from the side. This door and the Grand Staircase inside the Court of Honour were added somewhere around 1662. Isn't that amazing!!
 Loved the lamp-posts and all the cannons!!

 The large Palace Square, this will be a viewing spot via large screens  for the Royal nuptials taking place this coming week!!Because Prince Albert is half  American, he and his fiance have decided on an Outside wedding, out in the Court of Honour and in the Throne Room of the Palace.
 A nice view of Monaco's Marina and that AZUR water!!
 I took a Tour of the Palace!!!You only get to view half of it, not the residential private quarters, nor St. John's Chapel. I did peek over the balcony and view that magnificent staircase!!!
 You start the tour walking down the Hercules  Gallery, entering through those doors at the end, from here you first take notice of the amazing Mirror Gallery.
 I am certain, that Prince Albert's bride to be will Walk down these stairs!!!
 The throne room!!It was breathtaking to say the least, my entire tour was so Surreal!!I had to keep slapping myself to move!!!
 This is the only school on the Rock and actually all of Monaco, it is K-12th grade.
 The famous Oceanographic Museum, I wish we would have had time to go inside, the building itself is a sight to behold.
 A photograph outside the museum shows Prince Rainier and Princess Grace along with Jacques Cousteau.
 This home belongs to Princess Caroline.
 When she is home a guard is in this box to protect her, somehow I doubt she feels threatened at all, there were alot of clandestine cameras all over.
 This is the home of Princess Stephanie's. See you can easily walk right up this street, her sister's house was right next door.
 I loved all the opulence of this tiny Principality.
 The Cathedral Notre-Dame Immaculate better known as Saint Nicholas Cathedral. This is the site of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace's nuptials on April 18th(the civil ceremony) and April 19th (the Catholic Mass).

 This Cathedral was consecrated in 1875. It is exquisite  to say the least.
 This is where  Prince Rainier and Princess Grace are buried,  as is many of the Grimaldi family.

 A side view.
The streets are very very narrow. While I was in the gift shop buying a wedding souvenir, Chuck noticed they were chaining off a section of the plaza from that great door, He mentioned to me that he thought someone might be coming out. We had to meet our tour guide at a specific time, so we left. I snapped this picture when I heard cars coming, but it was NOT the Prince. However, once we got back on the ship we were talking to some of our new friends who also went to Monaco but was on a different bus then we were and she said she saw the Prince drive by and he was no more then 2 feet from her!!!Can you believe it!!And she did NOT have her camera ready!!!Now we are off to Monte Carlo, just off the rock!!


nancygrayce said...

Oh, wow! That was my first thought! What a wonderful trip. I loved Princess Grace and would love to make this trip.

Deanna said...

Neat to see all the pictures of this awesome vacation!!!

Jule's Spot said...

I am just getting caught up on your pictures!!!! I love glad you had fun and are home safely!
call me ya Julie

The Footer's! said...

Wow - you look like you were having a great time!! You look amazing! I'm so glad you had such a great time!!

The Footer's! said...

You look amazing!! I"m so glad you had such a great time!! Love you bunches!!!