Picture of the Day: clouds, ice and mist blend together over Chicago #worldtravellerblog

I’ve never actually been to visit Chicago, just transited 3 times through the airport but this shot I got before landing at O’Hare airport in January 2018 certainly makes me want to go and visit this apparently beautiful and windy city (though perhaps at a time of the year where the weather is more clement!). I have to say that flying over a frozen Lake Michigan whilst jet-lagged and seeing the famous skyline suddenly piercing through the layers of clouds made me wonder if I hadn’t mistakenly taken a flight to a modern-day Asgard instead of the American Mid West! This is a great way to close off February, hoping to get a touch of spring soon #tbt

Picture of the Day: One Monte Carlo, the new face of Casino Square

A blend of old and new, this is the brand new face of the Casino Square in Monte-Carlo, with the inauguration of the “One Monte Carlo” complex on the former location of the Art Deco (and slightly Stalinist) Sporting d’Hiver building that was demolished in 2014. The whole “neighbourhood” houses residences, a conference centre and especially a host of luxury boutiques such as the 3-story Louis Vuitton store you can see here. Personally I’m still undecided if it’s cool or not, ie. a real asset to the Principality or just a monstrous carbuncle (to quote Prince Charles talking about Canary Wharf in London) – time will tell, though I have to admit it’s a relief for the construction works to be over, just waiting for the gardens to be rebuilt and Casino Square will again be the centrepiece of Monte-Carlo…

Picture of the Day: alfresco lunches in Menton

The “winter” weather this February has been exceptionally mild and beautiful on the French Riviera, especially compared to this time last year when it snowed at quite low altitudes and I had to go to Belgrade where it was -17C… After my Monday morning visit to the Fête du Citron in Menton, I just took an hour to wander around and soak in the sunshine, it was pretty amazing and everyone else in the town seemed to agree, given how full the terraces were, long may this weather continue!

Picture of the Day: sunset over Nice

Palm trees, the Mediterranean Sea and the sky on fire… Another spectacular winter sunset over the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, captured last month just in front of the Meridien hotel, the clouds were particularly stunning that evening and the atmosphere was absolutely magical. The weather’s already getting warmer and the days longer, spring will soon be with us… Have a great week!

Picture of the Day: Prince Albert I of Monaco

The western side of the Rock of Monaco really has the stamp of Prince Albert I, who reigned from 1889 to 1922 and was also known as the “Navigator Prince”. Nowadays his statue is in a prime position in the beautiful St Martin gardens, directly overlooking the museum who he initiated and opened in 1910, the world-famous Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Find out more about the Prince and the museum in this article, it’s a great way to spend this beautiful Sunday!

Picture of the Day: Menton in February…

The lovely town of Menton, at the border between France and Italy, is one of the hotspots of the Riviera in February, thanks to the Fête du Citron festival for lemons and oranges (which explains the logo of this blog). I’ll try to go and visit it, for the first time ever, next week before I travel to Asia for some work so watch this space – but in the meantime, this beautiful town has a huge amount to offer, between its great microclimate, the colourful houses, the Cocteau museum and simply the great vibes you can feel just from walking through the streets of the old town! The cliff in this photo marks the border with Italy by the way… Go and explore the delights of the city with the info contained in my article!

!

Picture of the Day: Ile Saint Honorat

Despite appearances, this bucolic scene of vineyards and a monastery is not taken in the middle of the Provençal countryside but on an island off the coast of Cannes. Ile Saint Honorat, one of the two Lérins islands, has been populated by a community of Cistercian monks for hundreds of years and is well worth a day trip on a sunny day. Check out my detailed article to find out more and plan your visit of this stunning and surprising destination!

Restaurant review: Valentin, Monaco, a hidden gem in the heart of Monte-Carlo

A great place with a true heart and soul to unwind after work or have a quick business lunch, hidden away in the centre of Monte-Carlo

It’s not easy to find good, reasonably-priced places to go out after work in Monaco, especially in the Monte-Carlo neighbourhood where plenty of offices are located, unless you are willing to break the bank! But I recently discovered Valentin, a wine bar and restaurant and a little gem of a place hidden in the heart of Monte Carlo, just behind the Allées Lumière bus stop at the back of the mini shopping centre opposite the tourist office.

Opened in 2012 by Pier and Simona, a couple of passionate Italian restaurateurs who used to run a hotel-restaurant in the village of Triora just across the border in Liguria, it’s a great place for a quick and reasonable lunch if you are working in Monaco, with a new “plat du jour” every day. Continue reading

Picture of the Day: the dolce vita in Lake Como, Italy #worldtravellerblog

Another flashback to somewhere away from the French Riviera and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited: Lake Como in Lombardy, northern Italy, the smallest of the three famous Italian lakes but probably the prettiest. This picture is taken from the gardens of the lovely Villa Balbianello in Lenno, on the western coast of the lake. Formerly known as the Lario, Lake Como has been a reference for natural beauty ever since the Roman times and is the birthplace of the author and naturalist Pliny the Elder, famous for recounting the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. It is also a prime location for shooting films, for obvious reasons and the Villa Balbianello is best known for harbouring the lawn and beautiful tree where James Bond recovers from a rather gruesome torture experience in Casino Royale (2006). Lake Como is only a 4 hour drive from Nice so don’t hesitate to include it in a European road trip if you have the opportunity, you won’t regret it!

Picture of the Day: the view from Fort de la Revère

The mist added extra atmosphere to the view from the spectacular Fort de la Revère facing west on Sunday afternoon towards Eze Village, Cap Ferrat and Nice. This viewpoint perched at 750m above the Mediterranean is easily accessible by car but if you’re brave, you can walk up from the coastline, it will take you about 2 hours (or one hour from Eze Village) and help you burn lots of calories! I’ll be writing more about this place soon so watch this space!