Solo Traveler: The Extreme Luxe, Monaco
Birthday in Monaco!
The day before my birthday, I took a ride from Nice to this luxury country, a place where the rich were gathered, Monaco. No special arrangement for the trip, and no ahead planning, I just want to see what kind of surprises will be given to me. Stayed in the Monte Carlo, Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel, I felt like immersing in the paradise of modern art. Paintings hung on the walls of the lobby, the sense of magnificence was within the air. Once had my bags settled, I asked the concierge for the information of local tours. Having heard what the receptionist said, I was on cloud nine! The tour package of a private driver plus a luxurious Benz limo was seemingly tailored for me. I immediately made a reservation at 11 a.m. on my very-special-birthday. Since the driver will take me wherever I want to go, I googled and marked some places that I would like to visit as I went back to my room. That night, I fell asleep with great expectations, looking forward to welcoming this special birthday trip!
With blessing, the driver I met was a native Monaco who knew the local history and culture very well. To be frank, he did not need to be a guide, but along the way, he enthusiastically introduced every detail of Monaco. We first visited the Casino di Monte Carlo, he even played the role as a photographer and helped me took pictures. I was tickled pink to meet this multi-function driver! In front of the Casino, dazzling supercars were lined up, and I was a little dizzy and startled by the scene. But that was exactly the feeling! Apart from cars, there was another intriguing contradiction between artificial Christmas trees and natural palm trees. Though the coexistence of the trees in the center of the plaza was conflicting, they were still stunning! Haha!
After that we went around the Old Town, the entire district was full of medieval buildings. Rustic and lovely as the juxtaposed and colorful paintings were, they beautifully contrasted the style of the casino. Besides, there were also palaces, cathedrals, and courts in this area. Due to the fact that the city was upon a hill, one could just imagine how breathtaking it would be to overlook from the mountain top and see where the mountains met the sea.
Overall, Monaco was so small a country that the sightseeing could be finished within half an hour. Therefore, we followed the winding mountain road and drove to the neighboring mountain city. Sitting in the limo and having a private driver to show me the beauty of Monaco, I couldn’t help but wonder how lucky I was to get the chance to enjoy all graceful encounters. I was only just a girl from Taiwan, and I was on the complete opposite side of the Earth--a remote mountainous city in France. I sincerely thanked and cherished all the miraculous arrangements in life and I enjoyed every detail of them.
Having taken some photos in the mountain city, we headed to the other side of the coastline. The following stop was the Villa of the Rothschild family, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
There were a lot of gardens in this long villa, and in this place, I believed I have witnessed the most soothing scene: The garden faced the beautiful coast, and small boats drifting on the calm sea. What a perfect embellishment! The main building of the villa was of Italian style, and the standard of the exquisite ceiling murals and furniture could almost be considered as the museum's specifications! They fully demonstrated the illustriousness of this family and showed the ultimate glory of the era! I went to the Tea Room for a cup of coffee and spaced out a little while, appreciating the sea and sky merged into one. I just wanted to immerse myself in the atmosphere of a classical mansion, imagining a hundred years ago, the aristocrats had once gathered here!
I stayed in this Villa for about 1.5 hours. On the way back, pleasant conversations with the driver continued all the way. He said that he had never serviced tourists because he was actually a dedicated driver of the rich. When the rich come for a few months off, then it is his responsibility to take care of their daily schedule. He has once serviced for Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft; superstar Leonardo DiCaprio, and even members of the Jordanian royal family! Wow! Suddenly, a flush of pride stole over me! Seemingly I am as exclusive as them! Haha!
I rushed back to the casino area before sundown, wanting to tip the professional driver but had been kindly refused. Instead, he thanked me for being curious and enthusiastic about Monaco and France, giving him the opportunity to show his historical knowledge and great passion, because his ordinary guests will not talk with him about these historical and cultural matters 😉
For dinner, I went to the must-eat restaurant next to the casino, Cafe de Paris, eating lamb chops, and reminiscing about the whole day and the luxurious experience with the Limo. Indeed, it was both fulfilling and fantastic!
My belief in intuition did bring me surprises, both knowledgeable and entertaining, an unforgettable birthday was given to me. Not only my horizons were broadened up, but I also received an epiphany from God, encouraging me to elevate myself again.
Just listen to your inner voice, without a doubt, life is so much a wonderful journey, isn't it?
沒有特別安排行程，只想看看上天會給我什麼驚喜。住在位於 Monte Carlo, Le Meridien Beach Plaza Hotel, 大廳氣派寬廣，還有許多畫作，充滿現代藝術感。一放好行李就到 Concierge 詢問是否有 Local Tour ? 人員說可雇用私人司機，想去哪就請他載我去哪，車子是賓士 S class Limo！ 我一聽，這實在太適合我！當下訂了司機，預約生日當天早上11點。晚上回房研究了一下想去的景點，帶著極度期待的心情入睡，期待迎接這個特別的生日行程！
很幸運地，遇上的司機，是位對歷史文化很了解的土生土長摩納哥人。其實他無須當嚮導，但一路上，他熱情地不斷介紹。我們從 Casino di Monte Carlo 開始逛，還當起攝影師幫我拍照錄影，真開心遇到多功能司機！只見賭場前一輛一輛炫麗的超跑一字排開，看了真有點頭暈，目眩神迷的感覺，正是如此！適逢聖誕節，廣場中央有許多聖誕樹造景，於是產生一種人造聖誕樹和天然棕梠樹並存的矛盾景象，哈哈！但衝突歸衝突，仍舊很美！
之後我們繞到 Old Town, 整區是中世紀建築，各色油漆巧妙並列，與賭場區風格迥異，覺得很樸實可愛。這區還有皇宮、大教堂、法院，因為在山上，所以可望向港口，那依山傍海的景色，只能說怎麼拍都太美！摩納哥這個國家小到...半小時內可以整個逛完，之後我們順著蜿蜒的山路，開上鄰近的山城，一邊繞一覺得，來自台灣的我，在地球另一端偏僻的法國山城，能有私人司機載著我觀光，真是種奇妙的幸褔！我由衷的感謝著、珍惜著生命中的所有安排。
在山城短暫停留拍照後，往海岸線另一個方向開去，前往羅斯柴爾德家族的 Villa, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.
這座長型的 Villa 有著非常多個花園，花園面向美麗的海岸，在寧靜海面上的小船隻，成了這幅畫面完美的點綴，可說是療癒系之最！主體建築為義式風格，精緻的天花板壁畫和傢俱，完全是博物館規格，充分顯現此家族的顯赫、展現了那年代的最極致！我到 Tea Room 喝了杯咖啡，放空於海天一色，只想全然地沈浸在古典豪宅的氛圍，想像百年前貴族在此聚會的盛況！
在這座 Villa 停留了大概 1.5 小時，回程的路上，一整天下來，跟司機也聊開了，他說他從沒有載過觀光客，因為他其實是富豪的專用司機，當富豪們一年來渡個幾個月的假時，就是由他負責接送富豪們每天的行程。他載過的富豪有微軟的共同創辦人 Paul Allen, 巨星 Leonardo DiCaprio, 甚至還有約旦皇室成員！ 哇！突然間一種飄飄然的虛榮感油然而生！好像我跟他們同等級一樣！哈哈！
晚餐，我到賭場旁的必吃餐廳 Cafe de Paris 邊吃羊排、邊細細回想一整天的旅程以及坐在 Limo 的感覺。對，就是既充實又夢幻！
Hotel: Le Meridien Beach Plaza