Dial M For Monaco.

The first place we ventured out of Cannes for was a very well known country called, Monaco! Known to most as the home for many years of Hollywood Icon turned Princess, Grace Kelly – Monaco is visited by thousands of tourists every year and home to some of the most rich and glamourous. As soon as I discovered Grace, through my love of Classic Hollywood, I’ve always dreamt of visiting this magical place and this year in July, I finally got the chance to do this!

Monaco is around an hour away in the car from Cannes, so thankfully not too far and he majority of it can be seen in a day, although I’d definitely like to spend more time there. As soon as you arrive in Monaco, it’s almost as if you can feel the change in the air, it’s so aesthetically beautiful and without doubt the perfect home for a Royal Family. Once you enter Monaco and leave the car park, you definitely should prepare for a lot of uphill walking, as the country is situated on a huge hill. Although all the walking isn’t always pleasant in the hot weather, it’s definitely worth it, plus, there’s so many beautiful sculptures and flowers to witness during the journey. Furthermore, there’s lots of places to rest if you need a mini rest, just definitely make sure you bring sunglasses and lots of water.

Once you walk up the hill you venture through the wonderful streets of Monaco and see the beautiful architecture of the buildings, many restaurants and a lots of gift shops featuring the beautiful Grimaldi Family. I could definitely spend hours looking in and out of each shop and building, but alas, one day is not enough! However, the most important place to visit in Monaco is of course, the incredible Prince’s Palace of Monaco, which for just €8, (!) you can go inside! I can honestly say, this was a huge dream come true for me personally, as not only is the Prince’s Palace beyond beautiful, it’s a huge part of Grace’s life and Monaco History. Of course, privacy has to be respected and no photos are allowed inside, so sadly there won’t be any here in my post. However, the fact that everyone is welcome to visit the insides of this incredible building is so kind and thoughtful as ultimately, it is Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s home!

After wondering through the beautiful Palace, we ventured into the official Monaco Gift Shop – my dream store! It was so wonderful to see a whole stand of photos dedicated to stunning photo prints of Princess Grace, I’m sure she would truly be so touched by all the love she receives over thirty years after she tragically left us.

Throughout Monaco and Monte Carlo, there is a special Grace photo trail, documenting twenty five significant moments during her lifetime! I wish I could have taken the time to find every one of these photo stops, but sadly I only had the chance to witness three. However, hopefully one day I can complete this wonderful tribute to Grace’s legacy! It’s such a unique idea, not only enjoyable for tourists and fans but also a huge aid in educating people on Monaco’s History.

The other important place to visit is of course, the Monaco Cathedral, which is both joyous for uniting Grace and Rainier in marriage and poignant for being their final resting places. The building itself is simply breathtaking, not only in size but in architecture too. We were slightly delayed in visiting the Cathedral as a Wedding was taking place the first time we tried to enter. It sounds silly, but it’s easy to forget that Monaco isn’t just the home of the Prince and Princess, it has many citizens too! Thankfully, when we checked back, the Cathedral was back open to the public and I could visit Grace and pay my respects to her.

It was so surreal to walk around this beautiful Cathedral and think that over sixty years ago Grace married Prince Rainier and became a Princess. I tried to focus on this historical moment and picture the beautiful Bride but in reality I was preparing to spend a few moments with Grace. I’d seen her resting place in photos before and it was easily recognizable by the multiple bouquets of flowers all placed on this one spot. Placed above her grave is the most beautiful painting of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier on their Wedding Day, which is poetically fitting as their lives together both started and ended here. As you can imagine, the Princess’s grave is the most popular and it can get quite crowded, plus, the area is fairly small so sadly you can’t stay for a long period of time. However, I definitely made the most of the minutes I had with Grace and of course paid my respects to Rainier then headed for the exit.

Before you leave the Cathedral there’s actually a small sign stating that tourists cannot visit the Princess during Wedding Ceremonies, which almost brought a tear to my eye as this shows how loved and respected she is by so many people. The fact that a sign was needed to inform the thousands of visitors about this without doubt confirms this and it warmed my little heart. I hope wherever you are, beautiful Grace, you know how thankful the people of Monaco are for your incredible contribution to the Grimaldi Family Legacy and that you’re still so adored by millions of people worldwide who visit you each year.

Before leaving Monaco, it was incredibly important for me to visits the Princess Grace Rose Garden, which was created in honour of the Princess after her untimely death. I absolutely love flowers and roses also happen to be my favourite, so this was something I really wanted to see whilst visiting Monaco. The garden is filled with over 8000 rose bushes and features a variety of over 300. A beautiful sculpture of Grace is placed at the top of the garden, with a fountain running throughout, creating a peaceful and calm atmosphere. Also, Grace’s Royal Emblem is adorned on the gates of the garden, with another sculpture featuring a quote by the Princess on her love of roses. This is such a wonderful tribute to Grace and I’m sure she would visit often if she was still with us.

After leaving Monaco we took the short drive into Monte Carlo, the place that truly lives life in the fast lane. Famous for hosting the Grand Prix, Monte Carlo is hugely popular with car lovers and gambling, owning arguably the most famous Casino of all time; the Casino de Monte Carlo. This building has been featured in many films and is visited by thousands of tourists each year, even if you’re not into gambling the architecture alone is worth viewing it for. In all honesty, there’s not much to do in Monte Carlo if you’re not extremely wealthy – a bottle of still water cost us a staggering €4, (!) but if you’re in Monaco – it’s definitely worth visiting.

During my stay in France, Monaco is definitely my favourite place we visited and I really hope I will be able to go back one day and spend more time there! Stay tuned for the next post in my Cannes series, which will be all about the incredible, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild!

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Carry on Cannes.

If someone had told me a year ago, that I’d be travelling to France and staying in Cannes for almost a week, I’d have never believed it in a million years. However, thanks to my amazing friends, Laura and Paul, that dream became a reality and in July 2017, I visited France for the first time in nineteen years!

As someone who adores Old Hollywood – I’m sure that’s not new information, Cannes is a filled with history from the Golden Age of Cinema. Films like To Catch A Thief (1955) and Stars like Brigitte Bardot are instantly linked to the beautiful French Rivera with the Cannes Film Festival still being one of the hottest events in the world of Movies. Therefore, getting to visit such an incredible place was simply beyond amazement and you guessed it, I became the ultimate Tourist, which is great if you’re a Blogger like myself, or you appreciate Amateur Photography.

For the six full days we were there, we stayed in Cannes and used it for our home base for when we weren’t travelling around seeing other amazing locations. If you know anything about the French Rivera, you’ll be aware that there’s a so many places to visit and let’s just say we definitely made the most of our short but sweet Holiday! I shall be writing a mini series of posts on the places we visited during our time in France, with each one focusing on a specific destination. So of course, it’s only natural that I start the first chapter with the beauty that is Cannes!

We stayed in a lovely apartment in a huge hotel that was only a fairly short walk away from the main attraction – La Croisette. This street is home to many designer stores, beautiful bakeries and of course, just a hugely famous place called the InterContinental Carlton Hotel, which you may have heard of. As you can probably guess, it’s most definitely aimed at the rich and famous, but don’t be deterred if you can’t buy anything – window shopping is always free and pretty fun!

There are so many unique and incredible sights to see at the main tourist attraction in Cannes, La Croisette. Not only is there an absolutely stunning beach, well actually, there’s multiple – the Carlton does have it’s own private beach where a 19 year old Brigitte Bardot caused a huge sensation in 1953. However, the public one which I experienced, is very appealing also. Furthermore, just a few yards away from the beach is where the iconic Cannes Film Festival is held each year at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrés, an admittedly fairly mundane building for such a grand event. Sadly, the Festival is held earlier in the Summer, so I didn’t see any Celebrities. However, the building features many hand prints and signatures of huge stars, all on the floor around the building – so, major silver lining!

If you continue walking right to the end of La Croisette, you get to admire arguably one of the most incredible murals I’ve personally been fortunate enough to witness. Unfortunately the name of this hugely talented Artist is unknown, as is the name of this very famous work, so Hollywood Film Legends shall have to do. Being that Cannes is known for it’s world famous Film Festival, it’s only fitting that the town is full of amazing murals, scattered around in the most random of places! The Hollywood Film Legends piece resides opposite a handful of Bus Stops, yes, you really did just read that! This beautiful work truly leaves you in a state of awe and amazement, so many of my favourites feature; Marilyn, Jessica Rabbit, Cyd Charrise, Fred Astaire, Lauren Bacall and Humprhey Bogart – you name it and they’re on it! 

Although this mural is without doubt, one of my favourite artworks I’ve ever seen, the one I was most looking forward to witnessing and have truly loved for many years, is of course The Marilyn Mural. Featured on the Cannes Riveria Hotel, I think it’s fair to say this is a hugely iconic feature in the French Riviera and the photos simply do not do it justice. As someone who is hugely fussy with Marilyn Artworks, I can hand on my heart confirm that this one simply has no flaws – it is beyond perfect and one hundred percent does Marilyn justice. 

Having Cannes as our home for six days was simply a dream come true and I can’t wait to share with you all the incredible places we got to visit during our stay in the idyllic French Riviera!

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A Blonde In Barcelona.

Barcelona is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and after being fortunate enough to visit it last week, I can most definitely agree with that statement! Best known for being the home to Gaudí’s incredible creations, Barcelona is an architectural enthusiasts dream and definitely worthy of the term aesthetically pleasing!

Personally, if I’m lucky enough to be able to visit a new City or Country, I like to make the most of each day and see as much as I possibly can. I think it’s safe to say I am the definition of a sight seeing lover of all things tourist related. Europe is probably my favourite place to visit and explore, so discovering Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter was an absolute dream!

The first day of my visit was spent seeing the beautiful city itself and what is the best way to do that? A Sight Seeing Tour Bus! I honestly think this is such a wonderful invention and whoever came up with this idea – thank you. This is a great way to discover all the wonders of any place you’re visiting and learning which are the best spots to experience. Plus, as I was only there for four nights, it was wonderful to be able to see places I sadly wouldn’t have the time to visit, such as the incredible Park Güell. A week has gone by and I’m still upset that I missed out on visiting this masterpiece! After familiarizing ourselves with the wonders that Barcelona has to offer, we stopped for some lunch in Barcelona’s Hard Rock Cafe, a restaurant truly like no other!

Continuing my adventures in Barcelona, Saturday was spent visiting without doubt, the main attraction and one of the most famous buildings on Earth; La Sagrada Familia. Gaudí’s most famous work began development in 1882 and encase you’re not aware, (I wasn’t..) is still being built! Funnily enough, as soon as I spotted the towers through the trees, I noticed the construction scaffolding and thought to myself, “Great, the one time I get to see one of the most amazing buildings on earth, it’s being renovated.” Little did I know construction is not going to be complete until 2026 – one hundred years after Gaudí’s passing.

Just being able to view this masterpiece in reality was without doubt an experience like no other, the intricate details and unique design leaves you in absolute awe. Gaudí devoted 43 years of his life to creating La Sagrada Familia, he even went so far as moving into the building! Now that is what I call dedication. Each piece of the Minor Basilica has a story to tell, with the front depicting the Crucifixion of Christ and the back showing the Birth of Christ, with each part of the monument displaying the moments which lead to these life changing moments.

The interior of La Sagrada Familia was inspired by nature, with each of the columns representing trees and branches. The ceiling is designed with geometric shapes and the four evangelists are pictured on the columns in the centre of the Church. Each detail has been intricately thought out and designed by Gaudí and the time and effort put in to creating this masterpiece is truly incredible. It’s poignant to think by the time of Gaudí’s death less than a quarter of his creation had been constructed.

Ultimately, it’s wonderful to see Gaudí’s incredible work all around Barcelona, my favourite building of his being the absolutely beautiful Caso Batlló. It’s something truly unique and the pastel colours which dominate the overall detail is just spectacular! If I’m ever fortunate enough to return to Barcelona, I hope to go inside the building and spend some quality time viewing it.

Barcelona is filled with so much incredible aestheticism, even the simplest building look like works of art, it has to be one of the most photo worthy places on earth and in all honesty, my photos don’t do it justice!

Where are your special places to visit? Do you have a favourite Gaudí creation?

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