French Riviera Day 3, Monaco Part 1

Continued from French Riviera Day 2, Cannes, Eze and Nice Part 2.

My plan today is to go into Monaco from Nice. Monaco is sort of like Vatican City. They are the two smallest city states in the world with some of the best privileges in the world. Vatican being the seat of the powerful Catholics and all the history behind it, Monaco with all the money and, well, more money. Did you know that Monaco is the most density populated country in the world and have the highest GDP per capita? Either way, long before this trip, I’ve always held Vatican City and Monaco with some sort of mystical regard. Vatican City did not disappoint, so I am hoping for the same with Monaco.

Did some planning on my map before setting out for Monaco. All the red dots are my own reference points. Racing fans, rejoice!

Breakfast of champions bought at the liquor store last night.

I’ve been saving coins for the past two days after getting denied by the train ticket kiosk with my non-embbed chip credit card.

Oh great, it doesn’t take coins either! The most useless kiosk in the world.

I didn’t want to wait in another 40 minutes long line, so I walked around and found another different set of machines that did take coins. I wish I had found out about this yesterday, would have saved me a lot of grief. Then again, it didn’t occur to me that the line yesterday would have taken 40 minutes. I was thinking 15 minutes, tops.

Fuck you! World’s most useless ticket kiosk.

Here are the machines that actually did take coins. Of course, they still couldn’t make it easy. The yellow kiosks had an English option, and at the end, you get no tickets. The blue kiosks had no English option, but after long minutes of trying to guess, you get a ticket that you hope is the right kind.

I am on track today, time wise.

View along the train ride. Always remember to sit on the side with the ocean view.

In about 20 minutes, I’ve reached Monaco.

The train station was deep underground, I went up probably 5 stories worth of escalators and elevator to the surface and this is what I saw. I don’t think cities are supposed to look like this. I like it!

Yes, apparently these things do exist.

The whole city is built on a mountain side so there are these pass through stairs that run throughout the city. It is very clean here and not trash everywhere like in France.

Finally reached sea level.

Non racing fans, you may wish to browse through the rest of the photos quickly because many of them may not make sense to you.

My one lap of Circuit de Monaco starts now! Take note of the permanent red and white race track curbing. This is corner exit for Turn 1.

Circuit de Monaco is the famous F1 Monaco Grand Prix race track that runs throughout the city of Monaco. I had pinned reference points on my map so I know which way to go. I kind of know the track from watching videos and driving it on video games, but everything looks very different since all the crash barriers aren’t around. As a side benefit, since the track runs through much of the city, I also get to do my share of sightseeing along the way.

The harbor seen from the exit of Turn 1.

Cool. 1989 911 Speedster.

Uphill climb towards Turn 2.

Money. Big fucking money.

I believe this kink is Turn 2.


Seeing more of the city as I am climbing higher.

Approaching Turn 3, Monte Carlo Casino is now visible.

Turn 3, heading right into the casino.

The back side of Monte Carlo Casino.

Of course, there’s restoration work on it.

Mercedes SL Black Series!!!!! Very expense and very rare. Turn 4 is just ahead of the Mercedes.

Yeah, this young guy gets out of it. Some people just have it all.

Bentley, check. Jag, check. Rolls Royce, check. Alfa Romeo, check. Land Rover, check. BMW, check. Mazda Miata?? Hahaha. RE, is that you?

Love the, I don’t give a fuck, attitude. I am going to drive in my old Miata with wheels missing hub caps and dirty cat paw prints all over it and then I am going to valet it at Monte Carlo next to all the baller cars. I like this person already, I wish I could have met him/her. Nothing against the Miata though, since I currently still own one and they are very capable race cars. I also know for a fact that this car is the funnest of the bunch to drive through the nice coastal roads around here.

The rest of the line up in front of the casino.

The front of the casino.

Turn 4.

Rolls Royce exiting Turn 4.

The downhill leading to Turn 5.

Ferrari FF!!! First time for me to see one. It was very beautiful in person. Much better than what it looks like in pictures.

FF going through Turn 5. It has great stance.

Exit of Turn 5.

Which leads to the famous hairpin, Turn 6. It’s incredible how narrow the track is. I can’t believe F1 cars go around this track full speed with tightest of tight margins for errors. Gives me a whole new found respect for F1 drivers.

Tire marks all over the apex at Turn 6.

Approaching Turn 7.

Turn 7. What is that piece of crap doing here?

Exit of Turn 7 looking down at Turn 8 at the bottom of the hill next to the ocean.

Corner exit for Turn 8 leading to the famous tunnel.

Saw this yacht in the distance. It dwarfed all the other yachts that I saw. I am guessing 300 feet long?

Inside the tunnel.

Nice beautiful blue water seen from the tunnel.

Turn 9 kink inside the tunnel. The cars are traveling at over 160mph in this section.

About to exit into the light. This is actually very hard for the F1 drivers because it’s one of the fastest sections on the track and you are exiting the dark tunnel into flooding light. The car also loses downforce due to the aerodynamics of being in the tunnel.

Out of the tunnel into the blinding light.

Looking back onto the tunnel exit.

The extra long red curbing signifies the fast speeds that the cars are carrying exiting the tunnel.

End of braking zone and turn in to Turn 10, a tight chicane.

Turn 10. It took me a while to figure out what was going on here since there were plants and stands all in the way.

This is looking towards the exit of the Chicane.

Heading alongside the harbor into Turn 12, which is at the end of where the road visually ends.

Turn 12 coming up.

Exiting Turn 12.

Turn 13 up ahead.

Turns 13 and 14. Unfortunately, they were setting up for an event of some sort and there was a bunch of crap in the way. They had the area mostly fenced off, but that wasn’t going to stop me from walking into the construction zone to take pictures.

At this point, I had to make a pit stop to refuel. Coincidentally, this row of outdoor restaurants between Turns 12 and 13 are not too far from the actual race car pits during race day.


Remembered my pen this time. Still no world changing thoughts though.

Like a F1 car, I filled up just barely enough to get me through to the finish.

Spray bottles for balsamic vinaigrette and olive oil. It was odd, I felt like I was eating hair spray.

They don’t like English over here. It’s in all sorts of languages but English.

Finished the fill up with some octane booster, cafe au lait. Off I go from the hot pits back onto the track.

Coming into Turns 14 and 15. The swimming pool is to my right.

Coming out of Turn 15 about to make Turn 16 lefthander. Just passed the swimming pool.

Here’s looking back at the pool.

Exit of Turn 16.

Turn 17 coming up.

Turn 17.

Looking ahead to the front straight.

This is at the corner exit of Turn 17.

I believe they also have the same sculpture at the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. I also remember seeing it at one other place, but now I can’t remember where exactly.

Front straight.

Swimming pool from the front straight. There you go, a topless woman.

Coming to the end of the front straight.

Turn 1 turn in point, which brings me back to where I started my walk. I’ve just completed one lap of the 2.075 mile long Circuit de Monaco. Awesome! I’ll check that one off of my bucket list.

To be continued at French Riviera Day 3, Monaco Part 2.

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