The playground of the rich and famous. The repository of the shitty crappy tourist souvenirs. The resting place of Princess Grace. We drove here in our school bus, as I may have mentioned. We left on Sunday morning and stopped in Eze for the exotic garden, in La Turbie for the not very exotic lunch and then on to Monaco down an extremely curving and frightening road (on which Princess Grace died, actually).

I imagine if you are a zillionare Monaco may be a nice place to live otherwise why would they be living there. The hills surrounding the port are completely covered with the apartments of the super wealthy. The port is filled with GIGANTIC yachts and some not so gigantic. (Imagine the pathetic slobs that own those miserable tiny embarrassments.)

However, why exactly you’d want to live there is beyond me. It’s crowded, the most densely populated place in the world according to Wikipedia, and to top that off it is filled with hapless tourists (me) and it’s really, really expensive. On the upside, it is safe, the entire country .78 square miles is entirely under constant surveillance but a basic studio apartment (12 x 12 feet) is about $600,000. On the downside, every corner sells shitty crap that looks like all the other shitty crap you can buy in touristy Provence but it all has “Monaco” on it instead of, say, Nice, Aix or Provence. There are tourists everywhere. It was jam packed and it was a Sunday in low season and everything was closed except the tourist shops and crappy restaurants (“New York Hot Dogs!!!!”).

Sure you don’t have to pay taxes but you have to reside there for 6 months of the year. There is not a breathable spot in the not-quite 1 square mile of the damn place and I imagine when they have the Grand Prix (the bleachers for which are clearly visible in the first pic, the blue near the bottom) it’s a complete misery.

We traipsed up to the top of the castle with the 7 billion other tourists, approximately 6,999,999,9995 of them taking selfies with their iPhones, and 3,499,999,997.5 of those with selfie-sticks and the newly observed, selfie-tripods which are super-annoyingly in-the-way, and stumbled into the small cathedral which, OK, interesting. And then, there’s Princess Grace, right there in the cathedral. I had to take a picture. I’m sorry. But it’s Princess Grace, it’s Monaco and I’m a tourist. And it’s what she bargained for, after all.

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