On the French Riviera, visit the chic city of Monte Carlo in the petite kingdom or Principality of of Monaco. You will find some of the world’s most exclusive shopping and a beautiful old port. Squeezed into less than a square mile of territory, it is the world’s second smallest country, larger than only the Vatican.
A magnet for high rollers and famous for its annual Grand Prix motor race, it has been a playground for the rich and famous since the early 20th century. Drive through Monte Carlo, home to the royal Grimaldi family, who have reigned here for over 700 years. Admire the super yachts in the harbor, drive through the famous Grand Prix hairpin turn and along the Middle Corniche,
A fairy-tale aura has settled on this glittering city of the Grimaldi family, perhaps nowhere more elegantly than at the Prince’s Palace, where the late American actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly presided with Prince Rainier III. Monte Carlo’s medieval quarter perches on “The Rock,” an escarpment at the foot of the Maritime Alps. An overlook near the Prince’s Palace affords spectacular views of the Mediterranean and the harbor lined with mega-yachts.
The city’s most visited gem is the world-renowned Monte Carlo Casino, the peak of European prestige and glamour.
Check out the St. Nicholas Cathedral, consecrated in 1875. This is the burial site of the royal family, including American actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly. You can also visit the majestic Oceanographic Museum, soaring above the sea on a magnificent cliff.
If you are looking for the perfect destination wedding spot, go to Monaco on the French Riviera. This is where the highly anticipated Royal Wedding took place. The fairy-tale principality of Monaco is where Prince Albert II and his South African fiancee tied the knot. She wore a glorious Giorgio Armani wedding gown with a 15 foot train.
There were two separate events: a small civil ceremony in the Throne Room of the palace and a lavish Catholic ceremony. The religious ceremony of Albert’s parents, Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly, was held in the magnificent Cathedral of Monaco in 1956.
There were 3,500 guests at the religious ceremony in the Palace courtyard with 20 heads of state including: the kings of Spain, Sweden, Lesotho and Belgium as well as the Presidents of France, Ireland, Iceland, Lebanon, Malta, Germany and Hungary. Famous opera stars, models and notable race car drivers were also invited. The dinner was be prepared by renown French Michelin three-star chef Alain Ducasse.
“His Serene Highness” is the Prince’s title; used by the reigning families of Monaco and Liechtenstein. Prince Albert II is the 53-year-old ruler of the tiny principality of Monaco that is subdivided into three municipalities. Monaco (Monaco-Ville) is the old city located on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean, known as the Rock of Monaco. This is where the Palace and the Saint Nicholas Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception) of Monaco are located. Many of the Grimaldis were buried in the Cathedral including Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III.
Prince Albert II is the head of state and the head of the House of Grimaldi that reigns over the income tax free principality of Monaco that houses the gambling center of Monte Carlo Casino. The House of Grimaldi has ruled Monaco since 1297, and the state’s sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861.
Charlene Wittstock is a South African former Olympic backstroke swimmer. Prince Albert II met Charlene Wittstock in 2000 when she traveled to Monaco for a swimming competition. Prince Albert participated in five Olympic Games, from Calgary in 1988 to Salt Lake City in 2002, as a member of the national bobsleigh team. He has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1985 and he is the President of the Monegasque Olympic Committee.
This will be the first wedding of a ruling prince in Monaco since Albert’s father, Prince Rainier III, married Hollywood actress Grace Kelly in 1956. Prince Rainier ruled the Principality of Monaco for almost 56 years, making him one of the longest ruling monarchs of the 20th century.
The wedding of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly took place before 600 guests at Saint Nicholas Cathedral in Monaco and was watched by 30 million television viewers in 1956. Grace Kelly’s ivory, lace and satin gown was reportedly the model for Kate Middleton’s wedding dress some 60 years later. They had three children: Caroline, Albert, and Stéphanie.
Grace Kelly retained her American roots, maintaining dual US and Monégasque citizenships. She died on September 14, 1982, when she lost control of her automobile and crashed. Her daughter Princess Stéphanie, who was in the car with her, survived the accident.
Check out the official Royal Wedding Website: http://www.palais.mc/monaco/palais-princier/english/royal-wedding/royal-wedding.1819.html
Check out the Civil Ceremony http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZa-WB8ChmI&feature=relmfu
There are plenty of sites to see in Monaco http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHMZSCfiCrA&feature=related
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com