Be­yond the fa­cade

You don’t have to be rich to fol­low in the foot­steps of Monaco’s res­i­dents, writes Brad Crouch.

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - Monaco -

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

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