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Whitefish Lake, Ontario, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Galetta (Ottawa), Ontario, Canada.

Where are they going next? Back to British Columbia on October 17th.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Money in Monaco – a quick traveller’s guide

Even if you’ve never heard of Monaco, you’ve probably heard about Princess Grace. She was an American actress named Grace Kelly, and she won the heart and crown of the Monaco monarch, Prince Rainier III. She was a big Hollywood star from age 20 to 26, when she retired from acting to marry her Prince. Also, Monaco citizens are called Monégasque. This is the ethnicity and language of indigenous natives, though Italian, French, English, and Occitan are also common tongues.

Monaco is geographically surrounded by France and has a massive seafront facing the Mediterranean, so beach activities, cruises, and water sports are popular there. It’s a sovereign city-state that’s mostly seen as a party capital for the stars, but you can still visit and have fun even if your wallet is on the slimmer side. You just have to know how. You can visit carefully manicured gardens or sneak your way into a street races like all those movies. Better yet, catch the actual Grand Prix, preferably not on TV.

No money

Of course your Monégasque money matters begin before you get there. Unless you have royalty in your blood, you’ll want to keep expenses down. Start by getting there the right way. Voyage Prive Monaco is a good shopping spot for price-chopping vacations. You could find a discounted hotel or maybe couch surf. If you’re American or an EU citizen, you don’t need a visa, though you do need a passport valid for 6 months.


Once you’re situated, you can lounge on a public seaside spot like Larvotto pebble beach. Carry strong sandals – because the beach has little stones instead of sand. It’s clean, popular, and allows topless sunbathing, just so you know. Also, you’ll have to rent a chair or lug your own portable lounge from home. The waters are calm and shallow, ideal for leisurely swimming. Fans of Princess Grace can visit her royal rose gardens or the cathedral where she was buried. It’s an active church, so you can attend mass too, if you wish.

More money

If you have some cash to spend – and are feeling lucky – you can tour the vibrant Monaco gambling scene. Some casinos have stringent security standards, so not just anybody can wander in. Monte Carlo Casino is one of the best known sites and it’s top crust, since it also houses the Monaco Opera and Monaco Ballet. It’s smaller than typical Las Vegas venues, and you have to dress up to get in, so you may need heels or a tie, plus the 10 Euro gate fee.

For a real splurge, get an underwater massage, seaweed wrap, or all-day-pampering at Thermes Marins – the Sea Baths of Monte Carlo. It’s a very high-end spa with four floors to serve the rich and famous. Maybe you’d prefer the splendour of classic cars. The Museum of Antique Automobiles contains the Prince’s personal car collection, everything from horse-drawn carriages to the Rolls-Royce from their wedding.

Whether you want to walk on pebbled beaches, smell royal roses, or mint casino cash, you’ll find it all in monarch-making Monaco.