Eze is not easy, Monaco is a rock

Trip Start Nov 07, 2013
1
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Trip End Dec 11, 2013


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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Today we arrived in Monte Carlo early in the morning. Andrea was up to see the sunrise and it was beautiful. Our travels today took us to the mountain top village of Eze and to Monaco. Our guide was Michael, who claimed to have spoken with Princess Grace many times.  His mother made all of her blouses.  We were in Monaco on a momentous day, as the president of France was visiting Monaco and having lunch with Prince Albert.

Our drive to Eze was brief but through many tunnels.  You can't run a casino in a country surrounded by mountains unless you have lots of tunnels.  When we arrived we negotiated the many steps up to the top of the village. That's what made it not easy. It was amazingly beautiful and quaint.  It is perched on a mountain top that originally contained a temple to Isis erected by ancient Egyptians.  The Greeks arrived sometime thereafter and then the Romans.  We learned to day that the Greeks planted grapes but were not good at making wine.  The Romans came later and made good wine out of the grapes the Greeks planted.  This apparently happened all over Italy, France and Spain.  Let's have a cheer for the Romans!

We were told about the Penitents (we apparently do not have Penitents in the US)  They come in White, Red, Black and Blue and are trained to assist people in various ways.  They are lay people.  The White Penitents work in hospitals, the Black Penitents bury the poor, the Red Penitents feed the homeless, and the Blue Penitents- I don’t know what they do.  The saw an office of the White Penitents in Eze

In Eze we visited a church which was built by the Jesuits.  The guide pointed out a pulpit that had a fake arm sticking out from it holding a crucifix.  He said that the Jesuits liked to talk a lot and standing in the pulpit, holding the cross in one arm got tiring so they just built a fake arm.  He said you will see this in all churches built by the Jesuits.

There is a language that was spoken in Provence that is not French  It is more closely related to Peidmontese, which was spoken in Italy.  It is called lou Nissant.  Hopefully I will be able to get some pictures uploaded so you can see how beautiful Eze is.  It is also very expensive to stay there.

We then got back on the bus and went to Monaco.  So here’s the deal, Monaco is a country but it is also a district in the country.  The whole country of Monaco is only 500 hectares. The Prince’s palace is located in the Monaco district, also known as the rock of Monaco.  That is where we spent our time.  We saw the outside of the Oceanographic Institute (formerly run by Jacques Cousteau), the Cathedral where Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly were married and the Palace.  We learned that Monaco used to be a lot bigger than it is today.  Right after the French Revolution Monaco lost 90% of its territory because the people saw that the French people had beheaded the king and they thought it would be a good idea to be part of France now that things were going to be better.  Well this was hard on the Prince of Monaco, whose revenue was from its agriculture of oranges, grapes and olives.  This Prince started a casino to help increase revenues but it didn’t work very well because it was hard to get to Monaco.  Then Mr. LeBlanc, who had a lot of money suggested to the Prince that he sell the 90% of the land that wanted to go to France to the French, which he did and he got a chunk of money.  Mr. LeBlanc then bought a share in the corporation running the casinos and together the Prince and Mr. LeBlanc made a boatload of money.  Now here’s the deal – this happened again in the 50’s when Aristotle Onassis (you remember him, he married Jackie Kennedy) figured out that Prince Rainier needed money, and a wife. Aristotle told him "you have power and no money and I have money and no power" and he proposed that he invest in the casino corporation, which he did.  He also went about finding a wife for Prince Rainier.  He first suggested Marilyn Monroe, but the Prince didn’t think she was suitable.  He second suggestion was Grace Kelly, who was Catholic and beautiful.  I won’t tell you the whole story but Grace did marry Rainier (ok I know you figured that out) but apparently it wasn’t a great marriage.  Our tour guide also told us that Prince Rainier was not well loved in Monaco.  They like his son Prince Albert, who will come and shake hands with people and is very accessible.

So back to this visit from the President of France.  The ties between France and Monaco are strong, in fact Monaco is ruled by the Prince and 4 ministers, one of whom is always also a French minister.  France protects Monaco.  Our guide did tell us a story about Prince Rainier being upset that there were French people who lived in Monaco to escape French taxes.  Charles DeGaulle didn't like this and told Prince Rainier that he should make the French in Monaco pay taxes to France.  Rainier said no, it’s my country, I will do what I want.  DeGaulle turned off all of the electricity and water to Monaco.  I couple of days later, Rainier capitulated.

So today the President of France was here.  We saw all of the preparations for him, many flags and many local and Monaco police wearing lots of braid and looking very important.  There were also what I would call Secret Service guys with wires coming out of their ears.  In the end we had to leave and didn't get to see the President.  Of course, I wouldn't have recognized him if I saw him.

Once again we played trivia and lost – and once again there weren't enough players for Bingo so Sue was depressed the rest of the evening. 

It was a very interesting day.  Tomorrow we go to Cannes, Grass and St Paul de Vence.


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Comments

John Reardon on

Glad you saw Monaco. Grace Kelly was one of ours. The Prince was lucky he lived a ways away. The IRA was extremely busy with the Brits, so, hisself escaped some severe treatment. He made Grace a princess---she was a FECKIN queen. He was a spalpeen all the way!

Let Sue L. know "the class went very well". The 3 Ashley's, one Brandy, and one Carolyn dug in. They claimed personal emotions, and learned to apply them to the casework they are involved in. Think they truly grasped the human impact this emotional work will have on them. Finally, they were very challenged by "why" they chose LAW, and what is their PURPOSE for practicing Law. A good time was had by all.

Finally, the French are Gauls. When Caesar subdued them they were led by Vercingetrix the Celtic King. So, scratch a Gaul and you get a Celt. We are not to be underestimated or messed with! Rock on and Roll as you will. In great envy and tremendous spite for the fun you are having. Your Chara, John R.

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