July 20, 2008
We stayed at Beaulieu-Sur-Mer five nights then moved to Port de Fontveille in Monaco, a short distance away, for four more nights. It was not enough time in this beautiful region but c'est la vie.
Jim and Ineke joined us for the short trip between marinas. Although the wind was forecast to pick up to F6 in the afternoon we had light winds so the sails were furled and the motor hummed. We took a small detour to Villefranche so they could admire their town from the sea.
Jim and Ineke on Tenaya in Villefranche harbor
Port de Fontveille in Monaco
The tiny principality of Monaco occupies just 1.95 sq. km. and is surrounded by France not far from the Italian border. The Grimaldi family has ruled it for much of the period since 1297 with Prince Albert II now at the helm after his father, Prince Rainier III, Grace Kelly's widower, passed. The palace and historic heart sits atop a large rock outcropping separating Monte Carlo from the new area of Fontveille which has been built on reclaimed land.
The Palace of Monaco sits atop a giant rock 260' above the sea
Glamorous Monte Carlo is famous for its casino and for hosting the annual Formula One Grand Prix where drivers race around the track that winds through the town and port. Ferraris are not exotic cars here and are as plentiful as the motorbikes the locals buzz about on.
Nowhere in the fanciest neighborhoods of L. A. have we seen so many high-end cars. This place is truly opulent. The same can be said for the boats in the marinas. 100'+ motor yachts are as common as 50 footers. Tenaya, at a mere 40', seems to be the size of some of the tenders. No doubt our 54hp engine is much smaller than their tenders'!
The Port of Monaco on the other side of the rock
Monaco's interesting idea of a beach
We had seen the gorgeous Musee Oceanographique Monaco from the sea and soon after arriving went for a visit. Prince Albert I was an avid scientist and undertook his own oceanographic expeditions. The museum opened in 1901 and houses his specimens in a fabulous art deco hall. On the floors below is one of the finest aquariums in Europe. We marvelled at the exotic fish and the thriving reconstructed coral reef.
Musee Oceanographique Monaco
The casino in Monte Carlo
During our first night in the marina we heard what sounded like wild animal sounds. Figuring they were talented gulls we though no more of it until while exploring the town we saw a sign for the Jardin Animalier. We joined families with small children and strolled through the quaint, pretty zoo. Set on the flanks of the rock amid landscaped switchbacks were cages filled with docile creatures. A hippo, a camel, some wallabys, monkeys, cute animals from western South America, a few boars, lots of guinea pigs and many birds and reptiles inhabit the precious piece of land.
The pretty garden of animals in Monaco
An ostrich relaxing
A baby guinea pig, one of three, with its father who kept busy chasing others away from the mother and babies
Although he was leaving town, Kostia lent us his car again to use as long as we wished. We chose to see two museums which he had highly recommended near Nice.
Fondation Maeght is one of the France's most important art museums offering a unique and concise collection of modern painting, sculpture and ceramics. Located in the picturesque medieval village of St. Paul de Vence, in the Provencal countryside, the buildings and grounds were designed to incorporate the works. Life-size bronzes by Giacometti stand in the courtyard, several statues by Miro add a whimsical touch to the large, wooded garden and separate patio dedicated to his work, and a mosaic by Chagall enriches the wall outside the boutique. An exceptional permanent collection of 20th century works featuring Braque, Bonnard, Matisse Miro, Kandinsky and Chagall are housed inside and a temporary Hans Hartung exhibition is featured at the moment.
Statues by Miro in the garden
Statues by Giacometti in the courtyard
Natural light enhances the peacefulness
Some works from the Fondation Maeght
Next we drove to Biot, another pretty hilltop fortified village. It is know for producing glass so we visited the factory, La Verrerie de Biot. Although living on a small sailboat significantly curbs the shopping, we did buy a few items. Now something will have to go to make space. Along with the glass with tiny bubbles inside were exact replicas in acrylic. Perfect for a boat! Tenaya now sports some colorful new tableware.
Glass blower at work
Our main reason for visiting Biot was to see the Musee National Fernand-Leger. The artist Fernand Leger had a building designed below the town to display 360 pieces including paintings, mosaics, ceramics and stained glass windows.
You can barely see Jim sitting below this enormous mosaic on the outside of the Musee National Fernand-Leger
Some works by Fernand Leger
Tomorrow we will leave for Italy. I could stay here for months but if we want to reach our winter destination we'd better get a move on.
My apologizes for spelling many of the words wrong. I cannot find how to add accents to letters in this program.