Beyond the facade
You don’t have to be rich to follow in the footsteps of Monaco’s residents, writes Brad Crouch.
THE secret life of Monaco is not hard to find. The principality is famous for its 3G network – gambling, Grand Prix and glamour – although on any stroll you are far more likely to bump into other tourists. It is also a drawcard for cruise ships such as P&O’s Ventura.
With fourf pools, 11 bars, three showrooms, spa and nine dining options ranging from a poolside pizzeria to a fine dining restaurant by three Michelin star British chef Marco Pierre White and an Asian fusion eatery by celebrity chef Atul Kochhar, the 3000-guest Ventura is an easy way to travel.
Plenty of shore tours are on offer on such trips, including to nearby Nice to get a taste of the Riviera lifestyle, but a simple stroll around Monaco shows some of its secrets without the need for a guide.
The area is not exactly beautiful. The initial view when arriving by cruise ship is of a concrete jungle of apartments and office blocks squeezed on the limited shoreline and lower ledges of the steep mountains rising out of the sea.
Pretty much everything of interest is centred on the Monte Carlo district waterfront, handy as the walking becomes steep beyond. The most obvious first sight is the marina crammed with luxury vessels.
The serious money behind the lifestyles of the super rich and possibly famous owners makes this area fascinating.
Visitors can stand quite close to these pleasure craft and even chat with crew.
This was when part of Monaco’s secret life revealed itself. Hearing some Aussie accents on one of the super yachts, I chanced a ‘G’day’. A chat with the friendly crew