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Travel stories > Mentone

In travelling from Nice to Mentone you have to pass through some of the loveliest and enchanting scenery in the world. The tiny principality of Monaco is indeed a little Paradise.

We arrived at Mentone in the evening, about seven o'clock. It is a quiet, pretty little town something like Cannes. Fortunate the traveller who has already determined on the hotel he intends to patronize! We had selected the Hotel des Isles Britanniques. Everything at this hotel was comfortable and satisfactory. Cleanliness and courtesy were predominant, and I should think altogether it was one of the best conducted hotels on the Riviera.

The day after our arrival was Sunday and we took a pleasant walk by the sea, listening to a good band of music in the gardens; then into the one long main street of the town. We had a peep, too, into the numerous little shops, especially those for the sale of flowers, as at Cannes, and the cheerful little market-place. Finally, turning the promontory at the end of the street, and emerging on the road by the sea, we found a delightful promenade; and further on, in the eastern portion of Mentone, an English church, “Christ Church,” and several finely situated hotels and pretty villas standing in groves of orange trees, facing the sea, and under the shelter of the almost precipitous mountain ranges in the background.

On the hill-side, almost buried amid the trees, is the little villa where her Majesty the Queen used to spend her autumn holidays. Straight up this road, on the slope of the hill, is an ancient aqueduct, and a milestone denoting where the French and Italian territories meet.

We had one exceedingly pretty walk up the valley to the right of our hotel. The river, now almost dry, flowing silently along on one side; on the other, a little church or monastery perched among the trees in the far distance. We made a second trip up the hill-side to the Roman Catholic cemetery, which gave us a charming view of the town, environed by gardens. The place itself was peacefully beautiful and full of mournful interest.

We had a pleasant excursion to Monte Carlo, by the Corniche road, starting one brilliant morning soon after breakfast. Leaving Mentone behind us, we commenced the circuit of the cliff road, which gradually got higher and sometimes passing sharp curves in the road, and from thence had a most entrancing outlook. On the extreme left, a lovely view of charming Mentone; the towns and little villages on the distant shore as far as Bordighera; and before us, the long stretch of inimitable blue sea, with just a feathery ripple on the golden sandy shores below, winding in and out in a series of tiny bays and creeks; while beyond us, like a realized dream of Paradise, lay the beautiful plague-spot of the Riviera—the town of Monte Carlo, nested amid luxuriant gardens of semi-tropical foliage, the mosque-like minarets and cupolas of the casino standing boldly out on the heights and glittering in the sun.

 Beyond this, another fine bay and promontory, on the summit of which stands the Castle of Monaco; and below, surrounded by groves and gardens, the town and principality of Monaco. I had seen Constantinople, Madeira, and many other parts of this fair earth, but I do not remember anything that compares with this coast scenery, which I think is surely the loveliest in the world.

We walked through Monte Carlo to Monaco, and ascended to the palace of the prince. It stands on the summit of a bold headland, surrounded by fortifications, from which we had another splendid view. One can readily see how fair and beautiful a place, full of the sweetest harmonies of nature.


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