Tag Archives: Monaco

An autumn love story

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On a warm autumn day, in a town on the Mediterranean, I let my kid choose where she wanted to have lunch. Her choice led us to a place were locals go. Tables next to each other. Waiters saluting clients with a non-chalance of old friends. This kind of place.

We were given a table in the middle of the room and soon enough a couple was sat next to us.

She was beaming with elegance, her hair just out of a hairdresser. White blouse, dark skirt. Let’s call her Mathilde. He was dressed as if in a hurry. A hurry to see her, I thought. Let’s call him Henry. They both seemed to have been born in the middle of last century.

They ordered the plat du jour and wine. Henry immediately became chatty with the lady at the table next to him and told her the story of his life in 5 minutes: he is retired, daughter lives in another country, he and the lady having lunch with him is not his wife and they just “see each other”. He would be good on Twitter, I thought, with such a talent for conciseness.

The lady at the next table offered them her unfinished bottle of wine. I also wanted to offer something, in exchange for more stories. I offered them our untouched basket of bread. They accepted it with the joy of 5 year olds on Christmas eve.

As we switched our attention to our plates, their dialogue unfolded:

– Oh, darling, your back hurts you again?, Henry asked with a compassion level 100, as she tried to find a comfortable posture in her chair.

– Oh, it’s fine, Mathilde tried to reassure him.

– Well, you know the remedy. You come to my place. You undress. I give you a massage on your back, his hands demonstrating circular movements, as if around her delicate shoulders.

Mathilde blushed and directed his eyes with her green eyes to my daughter, as if saying: « Shsh, there are kids around ». Henry’s blue eyes responded: “Well, sooner or later, she will find out. What’s there to hide?!”

– Well, you felt good after our last time…, his sweet smile enveloping her.

We left the place with the feeling of having watched a good movie from the 50s. Their illuminated faces – a lovely memory of an autumn love story. Ageless. Priceless.

P.S. I remembered this story in the times of this pandemic… I truly hope they are well and their love continues to brighten their days.

Teleworking week 4: view from home – online safety

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The above is a humorous perspective. Yet, joke aside, we massively moved on-line, we must surf it ever more cautiously. Europol and law enforcement agencies warn us of cybersecurity threats and ill-intended minds.

Ever more, children’s exposure is to be watch with constant care for their well-being. Take a cybersecurity basic course and be equipped. Check permissions on your PC. Close the camera with a sticker. Talk gently to kids about it.

Merci Monaco

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for such a wonderful immersion into Dali’s artistic journey at Grimaldi Forum

for the wonders of jewelry making by Chaumet

for the new turtles nursery for Samy and Avril at the Oceanographic Museum, which we always enjoy visiting

for our first visit to the zoo, which only got 3/10 from my kid, who knows everything about how enclosures should look like and she is serious about it. Some enclosures are beautiful nonetheless. The zoo is home to 250 animals and all of them were donated, which makes it unique

for the return of the unhindered view on the Casino in all its green splendor

for the best tarte au chocolat at Costa. The lady there also vows to the excellency of chocolate éclaire. Something to try next time 🙂

for an excuisite chocolate ice cream by Marcolini, enjoyed in a true schoolgirl spirit on the stairs of the Opera. It brought back a dear childhood rebelion memory: to eat ice cream in the middle of winter and on the stairs of the bus station

for the discovery of Gaia, an ode to Greek cuisine in the heart of Monaco. I loved the food’s magic power to take you to the Hellen land and then bring you back to Cote d’Azur. We enjoyed the watermelon and feta salad, the cheese pie with truffles and the fish in salt crust. Wine lovers will find there a fine selection of Greek and French wines (to the extent I can judge). Service is personalised and well syncronised on a very busy night

for an amazing view from Le Meridien, which was very generous with us and exceeded our expectations

for the mind-blowing taste of Munegu – a cake born from a blend of panettone and fougasse – from Mada One by Marcel Ravin, to share and enjoy with the loved ones upon return

Monaco’s open-air art

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What I love about discovering Monaco is that it offers more than meets the eye. The art on street and in public spaces is not scarce in a place of exclusivity. I also love the art in the open on trips with my kid, when patience to visit museums is at its low. And you can continue to enjoy that ice-cream 🙂

Here is a selection of only a few art items on display in Monaco:

Sky mirror, by Anish Kapoor, a British artist

The sculpture “brings” the heaven on earth due to its special lenses. It was a gift by Lily Safra to the Principality. You can find it in front of Monte Carlo Casino.

Adam and Eve, by Fernando Botero, Columbian artist

Botero is known for mixing harmoniously naive primitivism, grotesque, kitch, folklore, Italian renaissance and colonial Barocco. “Adam and Eve” is a 900 kg, 3 meters high sculpture, placed behind the Casino.

Woman smoking a cigarette is another of Botero’s sculptures you can find in The Roses Garden of Fontveille.

Woman snake, by Mateo Mormar, Croatian artist

Mormar is a world renown sculpture who lives and Monaco. This sculpture depicts harmony between humans and animals through difference (mind the contrast of lines). The sculpture was created in 2010 and it took 2 years of work.

Hexa Grace, by Vasarely Foundation

It symbolises the sky, sea and land and was installed on the roof of Fairmont in 1979, to delight the visitors eyes.

Last but not least of my favourites, is the Jean-Baptiste le Monégasque bronze sculpture by Rachid Khimoune, French sculptor. You can find it behind the Gremaldi forum. img_1560

One of my favourite in Jardin de Paris – Homage a Lao Tseu by Marino di Teana:

 

Thank you Monaco

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Thank you Monaco

for your Monaco Gastronomie. Its 23rd edition in Chapiteau, next to the Roses Garden, delighted small and big alike with a variety of goodies to indulge on.

We loved the demonstrations by chefs, all made in the spirit of sharing – le partage. So, I thank them all for quite a few chefs’ tips shared with a little bit of French nonchalance and humour.

We tasted Raviole Gyosa de volaille et foie gras by Lauren Colin of L’ Intempo at Le Meridien Hotel and risotto with pumpkin and Saint Jacques by Patrice Guillet, sous-chef at Brasserie Cafe de Paris.

We also tasted some of their wisdom. “La cuisine – la passion, un respect des ingredients, simple, sans la transformation exageree” Patrice Guillet, sous-chef at Brasserie Cafe de Paris.

We indulged on quite a number of good quality products of all sorts from ice cream, panetonni, chocolate to cheese to ham. Pity, I travelled only with hand luggage this time.

Monaco for kids

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ok, ok, and accompanying adults.

The fame of Monaco as the world of rich and famous as we know or imagine it: heliports, diamonds, luxury and adults games and playgrounds.

I was on a quest of demonopolizing the adult centered view of this harbor of fun. With this in mind, we quickly found out that Monaco is generous for all ages and spirits.

When travelling with the kid, safety comes first. Security wise, Monaco is one of the safest places. The number of police officers per capita is the highest in Europe. It is one of few places where I, a hand holding mom, let my kid wander away from me.

So, for now, here are a few things to choose from for a long weekend with kids in Monaco:

1. Larvotto beach

Small in length, it manages to accommodate a playground for smaller ones and a sports ground and it still leave enough space for free play and lounges. It is also a birds feeding spot, if you are into this.

The waters of Larvotto beach are part of a maritime protected area so the water quality is monitored daily. You can swim with fish even very close to shore.

2. The gardens: Japanese, Exotic, St. Martin, Rosarea of Princess Grace and more

You can have a fun botanic open air class in any or all of them. Trees are marked and their origin explained, to explore trees from different parts of the world. For long walks, you can embark on a marked trees path throughout Monaco, to discover the most spectacular ones. It can be a new sensorial experience: touching leaves of different texture, listening to the sound of leaves playing with the wind … .

More on gardens https://www.hellomonaco.com/sightseeing/parks-gardens/the-captivating-charm-of-monaco-gardens/?fbclid=IwAR2BHy6KK4k-h_L-nHANr87FqTSfDt6WwRGMjxyfmT0rQ3o8yn9ekzCawfM

3. Oceanographic Museum and its panoramic roof

It is always a pleasure to visit it. I recommend to buy the tickets online and skip the waiting line. It is a world of oceans wonders and a platform to educate young and adults alike. This year, we felt royal to be greeted by the Prince, even if from a screen. Monaco invested traditionally in ocean research for dozens of years. It started with Prince Alberto I and the famous explorer Cousteau. This year expo is devoted to the Monaco Blue Initiative and Monaco’s commitment to ocean protection. Kids and adults can learn through touch screens about maritime protected areas, what it means to eat fish responsibly, what it takes to decide with sustainability in mind.

4. Fontvieille area museums

The small and cosy stamps and coins Museum offers a visit to the monetary and early communication history of Monaco.

The private collection of Cars of Prince H.S.H. Rainier III

We loved to walk around the carriages and cars of 100 years and more history behind. The latest sports cars, official cars of Princess Grace, cars decoration elements delighted kids and adults alike.

The Naval Museum

5. The Exotic Garden, the cave and the anthropology museum

From the Exotic Garden you can descend into a 600 meters deep cave. I would recommend the descend only to kids 8+ and with good shoes on. It can be slippery.

The anthropology museum is small and hosts a temporary expo. This year it was devoted to migration.

Merci Monaco

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Merci Monaco

for an immersion into pure warm Summer and Sun filled days with feet spoiled by the freshness of the sea 

Yoga at sunrise on my balcony

the fun of feeding birds on the beach

the hilarous coffee drinking pidgeons, when waiters and customers were not looking. They were quick- managed no picture :). No prints. No proof 😉

letting us discover the other you up the mountain 

the gorgeous Japanese garden, where all has a meaning of its own and the city noise resigns in front of the serene spirit of stone lamps

a little trip to Africa in the Le Jardin de la Petite Afrique

a special vanille monegasque-framboise macaron. 

snacks at Costa, the royal supplier; and its unforgetful pecan cookies

the walks on your old city narrow streets

the cuteness of fish at the Oceanographic museum. And for getting to know a bit more about our impact on oceans and your turtles saving project. 


a special cafe gourmand

getting lost in multiple passages and the joy of finding our way just around the corner

the generosity of plant growers, offering baby-plants to anyone wanting one  

Le Meridien Hotel, where we felt at home and treated royally. 

A bientôt!