Following our crazy stay in St. Tropez, we took an Uber to Monaco. Thankfully, our final way-too-long-on-winding-SOF-roads Uber.
I love Monaco. If you can see past the crowds of gawking tourists, it’s full of seaside beauty and refinement. So, while we only had an overnight, I ensured we made the stop.
We spent the day at Mala Beach, one of my favourite little alcoves of pebbled beachfront. Sounds nice, right? Whoops. Not only were we totally beach-clubbed-out after a solid week of rosé and sunshine, but I booked the wrong beach club! This wasn’t the quiet and pristine place I’d been to so many times before, but I’d Googled the wrong one and booked over the phone. Their website only showed the view of the Mediterranean – and for good reason. We were only 20 meters west, but it felt like a different world. The club was a red-painted wooden patio, with rickety daybeds and thin linens the size of tea towels. I guess it was a mixed blessing that we weren’t up for a chic seaside day. A soggy salad and a Coke each, we were on our way back to the hotel.
I mentioned briefly how hot it was in St. Tropez, but the temperature and humidity increased steadily throughout our trip. In Monaco, we were cruising around the steep terrain of each street in 37-degree weather. It was worth the sweatiness when I saw Alex’s face as he rounded the corner and saw the Monte Carlo casino for the first time. We spent the afternoon popping into shops and eating gelato along the seawall before cleaning up for dinner.
A friend of mine who’s from Monaco gave us a great dinner reco that avoided the tourists on the boardwalk. Saliere is located on the smaller port off the beaten path and serves amazing Mediterranean food with an emphasis on Italian. Their house-made bread was amazing, and so was my paella. Alex had the biggest calzone I’ve ever seen and managed to take down most of it. The people-watching on the port was superb, and the staff were so accommodating. This was a top-three dinner all trip – which is saying a lot!
After dinner, we walked back to the casino and Hôtel de Paris. (Which, by the way, is way farther and elevated than it looks – especially in heels.) Can someone tell me why every guy that’s 30-40 loves and is well-versed in gambling? Was it the release of Rounders, Casino, and 21 while they were in college? Anyways, Alex falls in that demographic and was like a kid in a candy store while he bounced between tables, and sipped on cocktails. Me? I was just happy to sip on a few Aperol spritz and not be mistaken for a prostitute like I had been on my last trip.
Neither one of us made any money that night.
Even with a train early the next morning, we burned the midnight oil with a night cap and live music in the hotel’s lobby bar.
It was a pretty perfect day – rickety daybeds, sticky humidity, and all.