Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The French Riviera: Nice and Monte Carlo (The day I didn’t meet Robert Pattinson)

The last trailer I saw before I left the states was for Monte Carlo, starring Selena Gomez and Blair from Gossip Girl. Fortunately, it didn’t come out yet, so I didn’t have an American movie to completely over hype my expectations of the Cote d’azure.

We stayed in Nice, an hour away from Cannes during the Cannes film festival. It was a pretty stunning beach city. The terra cotta roofed building are stacked high into the cliffs, overlooking the pebbled beaches and clear blue water. The buildings are colorful coral and white stone, and the streets are lined with palm trees. The best thing to do was to sit outside, enjoying white wine and eating seafood.

There wasn’t really much to it, though I enjoyed strolling through the markets and shopping. The city seemed a bit older and much mellower than Paris. Night life was all red tape and VIP. We went to a club (High) where Michael Jackson once performed and we couldn’t figure out it was a gay or just European; there were dapper, good-looking men in twos with a severe age gap between them. I’ll let you figure it out.

After realizing that High wasn’t going to play anything but techno, we walked around the city’s old town, passing small bars and pockets of youth here and there. The city, on a whole, reminded me Boca Raton; rich, high end, and much older.

The highlight of my stay there was a man calling me mademoiselle at a grocery store. You don’t get that kind of old charm in Paris.

Monte Carlo was a torturous 30-minute drive along the narrow roads of Monaco. We drove dangerously close to the edge of cliffs. Every time the coach made a turn, we were terribly close to falling, sideways, into the ocean.

We made a quick stop at the Grimaldi royal palace, which is also perched precariously on the edge of a cliff, and learned that there are only about 700 citizens of Monaco, only the King decides who gets citizenship, and there’s a law forbidding citizens of Monaco from entering the Grand Casino. Those are some facts for your behind right here.

When they told us to dress up for a night at the Grand Casino, the boys on our tour went all out. They rolled up to the casino dressed FTD (Fresh to death) in all white suits a la Saturday Night Fever. Slick hair and shined shoes, we started calling them Ocean’s 7, and they definitely looked like they were ready to pull off a heist.

We arrived at the Grand Casino (cue Casino Royale music) completely taken aback by the conspicuous level of wealth around us. Rolls Royces, Veyrons, and Bentlys were rolling past us like hoopties at a Waffle House. The Casino was utterly majestic. I walked in and my eyes were darting everywhere; the ceiling, the windows, the walls.

After paying too much for a Vodka tonic and watching the bartender try way too hard to turn said drink into a masterpiece, I sat down, at the Russian Roulette table, to watch my high rolling friend lose 300 Euro, in abject boredom.

Monte Carlo is definitely not my scene. The Casino was stiff; most of the high rollers were behind the VIP area, leaving us mere peons to mill about, looking for ways to entertain ourselves that didn’t involve loosing money. What’s the fun in being in Monte Carlo if you’re not VIP?  I didn’t see Brad Pit and I KNOW he was in town for his movie “The Tree of Life”--Not even R-Patz, and so I had to call it a loss. And since I’m already from a town known for its high rollers and celebrities, Monte Carlo just didn’t impress me.

The best thing to come from the Cote d’azure was my roommate drunkenly stumbling into our hotel room and telling me that one of our tour mates had flooded his room on accident. Why, because he “tried to turn Miranda (my roommate) into a country”.  I have no clue what that means, but I’ll sure be quoting it for awhile.

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