Day 7: Managing Monaco

I woke up this morning and felt much better so decided to be the designated driver for our day trip to Monaco. I was so looking forward to driving along the famous formula one Grand Prix roads that I had seen on the TV, so after a quick but delicious croissant we were on our way. I'm sorry to report that the day was not as successful as we had hoped for.

The drive from Nice barely took any time at all but the roads in Monaco are so steep, tight and bendy that the drive proved to be very difficult for me and very tiring. And the parking itself, well that was a joke! There are a few on street parking spaces for disabled visitors but they are hard to get into or even notice as the traffic moves very quickly and with all the mopeds around it's hard to stop suddenly to pull over.

There are however many underground multi-story car parks within the city centre of Monaco. My one piece of advice is to never attempt to park a van in a multi-storey car park in Monaco!!! The height isn't the issue, but the length of the van physically wouldn't let me turn to fit down the narrow slopes. After fifteen minutes trying to find a space and a further ten minutes doing a twelve point turn to get into a space, we were parked and ready to explore.

Until we came to our next hurdle in that there were steps to access the lift to exit the garage! Can you believe that!? So I went up a few floors via the car ramps until we found an accessible lift. This didn't bode well for the city access. 

With the Grand Prix only a week away, the main stretches of road and the casino were closed off with ticket only access, and the streets were full of reporters. I heard the formula one cars roaring around the circuit and could feel their engines revving in my chest. We had a brief glimpse as they sped by, but it was such a shame that Monaco was so inaccessible for anyone without a Grand Prix wrist band. Needless to say, Monaco was not very accessible for wheelchair users in the slightest. You'd be lucky if you found a dropped curb and if you did, it would have a slight step. Rubbish. So we spent an hour wandering past the swanky hotels looking at the Bugatis, Rolls Royces and Ferraris that were parked outside, until turning back to the evil car park and paying €2.40 for the pleasure of it. Goodbye Monaco, I don't think I'll be returning anytime soon.

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