When I say ‘Monaco’, you would think home of the Grand Prix and the land where European royalty drive Ferraris.  True and true. Monaco is infamous for its glitz, glamour and grandeur. A country so wealthy yet so gracious is one where the Prince offers a complimentary helicopter ride, an indulgent offer so hard to refuse that I accepted with sing-song Merci Beaucoup. Shifting the gears a little, what does Monaco have to offer an Average Jane like me? I believe that even if you have champagne dreams on a soda pop budget, no dream can be too expensive.

 

They say, ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’. Lunching at Café de Paris was an experience that I never dreamed of even tasting. Waiters with their perfect French accent were welcoming and hospitable, making even the Average Jane like me feel like a million euros. From the café with a view of the Casino Monte Carlo, the square is always humming with the engine sound of Ferraris. The brasserie is the most well known setting for a ‘rendezvous’ in Monaco.  The décor recalls that of old Parisian bistros and the atmosphere is simply rich and glowing. Needless to say, the setting is panoramic and enchanting. Top that with a menu that will flatter your palette and taste buds, the experience is anything but expensive.

 

Spending part of my afternoon munching on a salmon brioche and a cup of € 4 espresso, I indulged in people watching and celebrity spotting. During this time, it was summer and the Formula 1 Grand Prix had just ended, so it was the season for celebrities to pay this platinum country a visit. Munching on a bite of my brioche, I almost had to stop myself from choking because about 10 steps away, Kimora-Lee Simmons was driving off in her posh Ferrari sans makeup (but I see you woman!).  I managed a scream and was hoping for a picture but she was gone faster that I can say ‘Fabulous’.

 

After lunch, I scooter-ed down the streets of Monte Carlo, right on the tracks of the Grand Prix which was still fresh with tyre marks and grandstands littered with leftover confetti. Going at 70km/h, the local police of Monaco stopped me because the speed limit on that narrow little slope was 30km/h (ironic in a country full of supercars). Thank goodness I got away with a friendly warning. Riding further on the narrow streets with the wind in my hair I discovered and took in the capital Monaco with open arms; giving my Average Jane status a little upgrade.

 

 - Liyana Meer