for your amazing ability to make old meet new
for your tourists free parks
the kindness and patience of your locals
inspiring hotel room view
enthusiastic and committed new partners and a reminder that resetting is one touch away
for your Celebration of Asparagus
150 years ago a priest had the idea of celebrating the plant.
Since then, each year farmers open their farm gates to visitors in May in the Alsatian village of Hoerdt, north of Strasbourg.
Local cafes and restaurants offer all sorts of dishes inspired by asparagus. We tried asparagus velouté, quiche and salads at Cafe Creme, a family- run and family-welcoming business.
The celebration culminated with a procession headed by Miss and Mister Asparagus, the villagers elect the night before.
Hoerdt is a charming village to spend an afternoon, when touring Alsace and the region.
for a sunny and warm summer-like weather
your shades of blue
your hidden architectural jewels
for the promotion of local designers
Ruta chocolate for my kid’s taste and my taste of dark chocolate
new and renewed partnerships sealed over a good traditional meal of the Lithuanian cuisine, where I am told pork is the default meat. I still managed to find a few vegetarian options for my lent week before Orthodox Easter, and for that I am double grateful.
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 “bring” 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.
for the blue sky and sunny weather followed by majestic sunset colours
your Marmottan Monet little wonder, an improvised and brief visit into impressionism thanks to the invitation of an art history connoisseur
coffee bathed in sunlight and served with a warm smile at Carette.
for challenging my stereotypes and opening my eyes to see beyond appearances;
for the OECD meetings and networking leading to new partners and ideas to work on;
dinner in great company at Il Conte;
and the joy of Bucuria chocolate (bucuria means joy in Romanian), sent by my dearest friend through a joint acquaintance and all the warm this gesture brought from my homeland.
Me and my kid are on a plane to Nice. “Mom, relax. You are always tense on the road”, sound advice from the youngest and wisest family member.
We take off. Up in the air. I read. Talk to my kid. 20 minutes later: “…. Marrakesh ….. we…..if you wish….Marrakesh!” I hear the flight attendant’s voice.
My brain is collecting the pieces: “The plane is certainly bigger then the regular internal flights. And the flight attendants are of North African origin…. And they play specific music. …. Did we take the wrong passage, walking to the plane? These small airport! Oh, No! … And I was laughing last year about a consultant who instead of a flight to Florence boarded on one to Minsk”.
Face palm. Repeat. Done with relaxing on the road.
– Sweetheart, I think we are on the wrong plane.
– It’s ok, mami. It’s ok, the kid is trying to reassure me. Her beautiful brave face.
My brain: “I have money to buy a ticket back. Are our passports ok? Do we need a visa for? ….”
I take my ticket and move to catch the flight attendant.
– I think I am in the wrong plane.
– How come?
I show them my ticket.
– It is the flight to Nice!, the flight attendant says cheerfully.
– Why did you say “Marrakech?!
– I am from Marrakesh! he smiles.
– Who cares? 10000 meters above the earth?!
I am almost replacing my words with long beep sounds. I was far from my kid, in case you wonder.
– You do not want to go to Marrakesh? he keeps on smiling.
– No! Not today. I go to Monaco today. And I do not plan to look at Monaco from the other side of the Mediterranean.
Back to my seat. “We are fine. We will land in Nice, sweetie!:)” I say fully relieved.
“Mom, I also heard “Madrid” 🙂
“Sweetie, the other flight attendant introduced herself. She is from Madrid. The guy is from Marrakesh. They add a personal touch”.
After 5 minutes we all hear the pilot: ” We will land in N I C E in 20 minutes. The weather in N I C E is …”.
We land happily in Nice.
“Welcome to Marrakesh!” I hear the flight attendant behind me. I turn with a smile. My middle finger has a slight temptation. The lady in me wins 🙂
Dear, whoever who had the idea of saying other cities names when the plane is 10000 meters up in the air, please do not. Let’s keep it standard on this one.
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:
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.
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 … .
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.
The small and cosy stamps and coins Museum offers a visit to the monetary and early communication history of Monaco.
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.
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.