Kathryn and Ken's European Vacation

All photos are the property of Ken Runquist and have been reduced in size for faster downloading.  The originals are 1280 x 960.  Contact me by email if you would like a larger size copy of any photo.
Day 46: Menton, France
Home Home Site map
Day 44: Menton, France
Day 45: Menton, France
Day 46: Menton, France
Day 47: Vierzon, France
Day 48: Saint Suliac, France
Day 49: Saint Suliac, France





Hotel Napoleon


Mostly sunny with a high of 21°C


Day 46: Friday, October 20    Menton, France

Touring the French Riviera and the Côte d'Azur

The French Riviera is part of France's southeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, reaching from Menton to Cassis.  The name Côte d'Azur was coined by Stephen Liégeard, politician and writer, in 1887 when he published a book on the Riviera called La Côte d'Azur . The new name was an instant hit and caught on almost immediately across the region and the rest of France - and indeed the world. Of all the Côte d'Azur resorts, Menton – the warmest and most Italianate, being within a couple of kilometres of the border – is the one that retains an atmosphere of aristocratic tourism, being even more of a rich retirement haven than Nice. It doesn't go in for the ostentatious wealth of Monaco nor the creativity cachet of Cannes and some hilltop towns, but glories chiefly in its climate and year-round lemon crops. It's ringed by protective mountains, so hardly a whisper of wind disturbs this suntrap of a city.

We awoke to cloudy skies but there were some increasing patches of blue sky.  Ken walked across the road to buy croissants for breakfast which we shared with the pigeons on our balcony.  We then set out for Nice driving on the coastal road, known as the Grand Corniche, one of the world's most scenic drives.  Tiny fishing villages alternate with palatial villas; cliffs drop to the sea below and roads twist to dramatic vistas at every turn. It is a sublime experience we won’t soon forget.  Some of the highlights we saw along the drive include: Villefranche-Sur-Mer where delightful Italianate houses line the bay of this magnificent, unspoiled village; Beaulieu-Sur-Mer (sometimes called Petit

Driving along the Grand Cornice on the Cote d'Azur

Afrique because of its palm trees) which is a stylish resort is an oasis of peace and quiet; and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, a lush peninsula that is renowned for its sheltered beaches, abundant sunbathing and celebrity watching.  Although the trip was only 31 km, it took us a couple of hours because of traffic on the very winding roads.  We did a quick driving tour of Monte Carlo before continuing on to Nice.  Nice is the fifth largest city in France with a population of

350,000.  We quickly realized that we would get lost without a proper map so we decided to go back to Monaco.  About 10 km east of Nice, we stopped at Beaulieu-sur-Mer, a wealthy resort known for its quality marina facilities by those involved in yachting, for lunch at the marina.  Then it was on to Monaco.

Another photo taken along the Grand Corniche

A sovereign and independent state, the Principality of Monaco has borders on its landward side with several communes of the French Department of the Alpes-Maritimes; from west to east these are Cap d'Ail, la Turbie, Beausoleil and Roquebrune Cap Martin. Seawards, Monaco faces the
 Mediterranean Sea.

Map of Monaco

Its surface area is 485 acres, of which nearly 100 were recovered from the sea during the course of the last twenty years. Monaco lies on a narrow coastal strip, which sometimes rises vertically upwards with its highest point at 206 feet. Its width varies between .65 miles and a mere 382 yards. Its coastline is 2.5 miles long. The Principality has only one commune, Monaco, whose limits are the same as those of the state. Monaco is divided into five areas:

  • Monaco-Ville on the Rock, the old fortified town, is situated on a high point of land at 60m (200 ft.) high, with the Prince's Palace, the ramparts, the gardens, the Cathedral and the Oceanographic Museum.
  • The Condamine is the second oldest area in Monaco. The name comes from the Middle Ages and means the cultivable land at the foot of a village or castle.
  • Monte-Carlo, created in 1866, named in honor of Prince Charles III, hosts an internationally famous Casino, luxury hotels and leisure facilities, some created recently: Larvotto beach, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club, the Boulingrins Gardens.
  • Fontvieille is the newest area of the Principality of Monaco and was created from land reclaimed from the sea. This man-made waterfront area features a harbor, stadium and sports complex, heliport, and a pollution-free industrial zone, as well as some shopping areas and the new Columbus Monaco hotel.
  • Moneghetti, home to the Révoires and the Exotic Gardens (on the western border with Cap d`Ail).

In 1997, the Principality of Monaco celebrated the 700 year reign of the Grimaldi dynasty.  For more info on Monaco: http://www.visitmonaco.com/index.cfm.

We parked the car and took an elevator up to Monaco-Ville on the Rock - the elevator was built right into the rock.  We wandered around the Old Town with its lovely gardens and the Palace.  Kathryn bought a lovely leather purse that matches her leather jacket.  We found an Internet cafe and sent an email home.  We took a lot of photos here and you can see them in the slide show below.  We also watched a 35 minute film on the history of Monaco which was very informative.

Port Hercule with Monte Carlo in the background

As we were driving out of Monaco, we came to the famous Larvotto Beach, perhaps the single most decadently glamorous beach in the world, where women may go without their bikini tops, but wouldn't dare to be seen without their jewels.  Larvotto is actually a man-made beach, with fresh white sand constantly shipped in to offset Mother Nature's best erosion efforts. Fake or not, the entire principality is so gorgeous and charged with energy that you won't care who made its most famous strip of sand. The Beach was pretty much deserted although the sun did come out.  Ken went for a little dip in the water.  While Kathryn was taking the picture, a big wave came in and completely soaked him.  We then continued back to Menton on the Basse (Lower) Corniche which is closer to the water but more crowded with vehicles. 

Ken in the water at Larvotto Beach

We got a great view of Menton from the hill to the west of town as we came home. Ken went back into the room and changed into some dry clothes and then we went down to explore the beach across the street from the hotel.  It is called Garavan Bay and of course Ken had to go into the water again.  We also walked around the yachts in Garavan Port.

We walked into town and had pizza and beer in a small family restaurant.  Ken knew we had been in Europe to long when the waitress (Mama) spoke to him

Ken in the water at Menton beach

in Italian in this restaurant in France and Ken answered in German. 

We really loved our time in Menton.  It is jus to bad that we didn't have better weather while we were here.

Click here for a slide show of Day 46 photos.

Day 47

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8

Website created by KennyBear Web Designs