On an average day in Monaco, women walk the streets in their spiked high heels, form fitting dresses and carrying designer Louis Vuitton bags. You can smell the perfume as it lingers well after they pass. The men, when not in their name-brand suits, wear linen pants paired with a crisp button up shirt that looks freshly pressed. Both sexes walk with an air of casual, sophisticated confidence.
Ahh, Monaco — how the other half live…
…Or really only a fraction of a percent of the world.
Monaco is a sovereign state and the world’s second smallest country (Vatican is the smallest). Found on the Mediterranean coastline of the South of France, it is known for its yacht-lined harbor, luxe shopping, the glitzy Monte Carlo Casino, well-known Monaco Grand Prix where the streets become a narrow course and…
…well-to-do, fashionistas walking the streets.
Though I was totally out of place wearing my purposely ripped Hudson jeans and black Forever 21 tank, I spent one day living like the rich residents; A splendid 12 hours filled with fine dining, a ritzy spa experience and gambling amongst the wealthy.
Stroll Through the Yacht-Lined Harbor.
It was the week of the Monaco Yacht Show when we arrived, so the harbor was an especially lavish place to see. As we made our way to lunch, we were able to ogle the multi-million dollar yachts that lined the harbor. Bubbling hot tubs, outdoor dining tables and elaborate bars — these vessels had it all. I may or may not have pretended one was mine.
Lunch at L’Hirondelle Restaurant.
We headed down a winding set of stairs to L’Hirondelle Restaurant at the Thermes Marin Spa. Lunch would be had on the outside terrace overlooking the impressive yachts in the harbor. We sat amongst dozens of other diners, half of which were wide-brim hatted ladies and the other half in their robes, a sign that they were spending the day at the adjoining spa. We noshed on the most beautiful prosciutto-cantaloupe dish and a tender sea bass. Light, fresh and delicious.
Spa Experience at Thermes Marin Monte-Carlo
After lunch, we strolled over to Thermes Marin Monte-Carlo, one of the most exclusive spas in Monaco. This is where we would be having their relaxing 90-minute Riviera experience, a regenerating collection of treatments meant to rehydrate, protect and enhance the skin.
After being shown to my private room, I was given paper panties and a plastic hair cover — the rest of me would be au naturale.
My typical modesty went out the window.
Lying mostly naked, face-down on the waterbed massage table, I was super grateful for choosing to shave that day. First, my body was exfoliated with a delightful lavender scrub. The I hopped into the warm bath that was drawn for me, jets splashed against me for twenty minutes while I relaxed with a bottle of strawberry juice, Evian water and a selection of petite desserts.
Am I in heaven?
A mud wrap immediately followed the tub, where clay was spread all over my body, then I was wrapped up like a mummy and left to sweat out the toxins (which probably constituted of the wine I had at lunch).
Last, but not least, warm oil was spread on my body and a perfect massage, with just the right amount of pressure, was given. This ranked high as the best couple hours of my life.
Gambling at the Monte Carlo
After being relaxed and squeaky clean, it was time to lose, I mean win, some money at the glitzy Monte Carlo Casino that has been the location of James Bond movies. The front of this famous gambling house is crowded with visitors, most posing with the expensive sports cars out front. Many of these tourists won’t pay the 10 Euros to enter the casino, but being an avid bucket lister, there was no way I could pass putting a check next to “Gamble at Casino de Monte-Carlo”.
Before entering they temporarily confiscated everything I had that could potentially photograph the interior. And anything that could be hiding something that could potentially photograph the interior.
Inside was lavish, yet quaint — One couple was sitting at the bar, a handful at the couple dozen slot machines and none of the tables were completely full. I sat at a penny slot (I’m cheap) and put 10 euros inside which I lost in about 8 minutes.
Dinner at Blue Bay
Even though it seemed as if we had just finished lunch, we made our way to the Blue Bay restaurant at the Monte Carlo hotel. Michelin starred chef whipped us up an innovative 8-course tasting menu that ignited our taste buds. Chef Marcel Ravin creates a tasty fusion of Mediterranean and Caribbean flavors. We enjoyed the exquisite sea view while dining on cutting edge dishes like green papaya spaghetti with truffled carbonara and Iberique ham. Of course, the meal was paired with the perfect wine selected by the Sommelier on staff.
I could eat like this every day. My protruding belly would disagree.
My perfect day living like the rich in Monaco had sadly come to an end, but it will remain in my memory forever.
Until we meet again Monaco…
My trip to Monaco was hosted by Visit Monaco, but all opinions are my own.