We actually spent two half days exploring Monaco - it was our first stop after driving from Milan to Nice - we just parked our car and made our way around Monte Carlo, stopping for lunch at Cafe du Paris and then walking around the hotel and casino before hopping back in the car to make the 30 minute drive to Nice. We also stopped for an afternoon toward the end of our French Riviera trip as we knew there was much more to see than just Monte Carlo.
Monaco is the second smallest country in the world and made up of four cities: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Fontvieille, and probably most famously, Monte Carlo, where the big Monaco Grand Prix takes place through its small winding streets.
I actually had no expectations good or bad about the area as I had never heard much about it, but Brandon had visited before and loved it so I was excited to include it on our French Riviera itinerary. On our second visit over, we decided to do the hop on-hop off bus tour as we felt like it was the easiest and fastest way to cover the most ground (and it was, I highly recommend this strategy if you visit Monaco!) I couldn't believe my eyes as the bus made its way up to the oldest city of Monaco-Ville. The views were spectacular as the city sprawls over the hill and down into the harbor. The formula one race had just taken place the week before and the grandstands were still up and it was incredible to think about a race of that style and calibur winding its way through such a grand city. When we were up in the old town, we made our way through the tiny streets, checking out the little shops and restaurants as well as taking in the views from above all around us. We then made our way down into Monte Carlo stopping for a bite to eat for dinner (mussels, per usual!), some gelato, and finally did a little shopping before heading back to Nice where we would pack up and set out back to Italy in the morning.
Next stop: Florence!