Dining Out Magazine

How to Have the Time of Your Life.

By Amy Jensen @missamyjensen

Five easy steps to have the time of your life:

1. Get tickets for the Monaco Grand Prix
2. Go to the Grand Prix (just to entice you a little, if you’re a Jenson Button fan – not that I am or anything… – the man him self could be standing less than a meter away from you!)
3. Party all night long at La Rasscass – snow machines included
4. Lose your bag in Monaco
5. Have a hunky policeman find said lost bag and return it to you with a smile

Follow these steps, maybe swapping numbers 4 & 5 for your own exciting drama and I assure you, you will have a blast.

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I know this is a late post, I mean I’ve actually been away backpacking since then, but better late than never. And I had too much of a good time not to write all about it. So here it goes, let’s hope my memory is as good as it should be.

Ever used Air BnB? No? Well you should. The website basically offers beds, rooms and full apartments/houses etc. for holiday rentals at good prices. This was our first time using the website and it was smooth sailing all the way! We chose this cute little studio apartment in Nice near the Riquier train station so we could hop on, hop off quick and easy for getting through to Monaco, but Riquier is also just really handy for being quite central in Nice anyway. You’ve got the New Town with the main stain (Nice Ville), Old Town and round the corner you’ve got the port; Old Town is where you want to spend most of your time – Riquier is on the port side but heading towards the suburbs away from the coast, making it quieter and still easy walking distance to everywhere. Our studio was owned and sometimes lived in by the lovely Beatrice, who met us there and bought us a fresh baguette for breakfast as well as supplying all of the little bits and bobs you need to get by (apart from toiletries), so we wanted for nothing! After settling into our lodgings, we re-acustomed ourselves with Nice and pretty swiftly felt right at home, just like always. Nice really is the only place I feel I could move to tomorrow and feel instantly at home. One day, maybe.

We well and truly settled in, perused Old Town and spent the majority of our first day at our favorite bar. Which is odd because it’s an American place and you would assume, as the cultured English family we are – sorry, I forgot to mention I was “having the time of my life” with my Mama & Pappa (yes, that is actually possible!) – that we would frequent traditional, local brasseries and restaurants. But no, we can’t get away from the bloody American bar, can we?

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As touristy and uncultured as I now make us sound, let me restore your confidence by confirming that I did practice my french and the waiter did understand me and I even got adventurous and tried out a new phrase. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. It is encouraging though how pleased the locals are when you at least try to speak the language; no matter how poor the attempt. So no matter how bad, simple or non-french sounding you french is, give it a go!

Come the morrow after (Friday) it was off to Monaco for the GP race and pit lane walk. Like OH MY GOD the pit lane walk. Unlike other circuits, the pit lane at Monaco is opened (kind of, like with a little barrier) to the ticket holding public so that you can get up close and personal with the cars, drivers and team. Before you do all of this though, you have to get off the train at the sexiest station in the world:

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Once you have completed this task you make your way to your stand of choice (they’re open to the public free of charge on the Friday only) for the GP races, which actually sound better than the F1 cars now because of the new regulation about something or other. I don’t know the logistics but basically the F1 cars used to be so loud that your ears would water if you were at there but now they’re not as loud [insert technical info here] but the GP cars still sound the same, which isn’t as good as what the F1 originally sounded like but better than what the F1 sound like now – Heck, just google it. My point was that you’ll get the “extremely close loud car thrill” more from watching the GP race and you’ll also have the best seats, FOC.

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How cute is that little fella? Can I get me one of those do you reckon?

Upon completion of the GP task, you are free to roam the streets of Monaco and find somewhere good to eat, though unfortunately not at the best of prices (you are in Monaco, dear). Ma & Pa took me to a nice little place close to the circuit entrance where you could hear some great live music from just down the street.

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Picture-taking along the way is mandatory.

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Crop top, Miss Selfridge £12 || Skort, New look £17.99 || Sandals, Miss Selfridge (similar here £19.99) || Bag, vintage

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If you can find it, this is probably the best area to eat as there are lots of restaurants with fair prices (for Monaco) and the atmosphere is just what you need to stay in the Grand Prix spirit. Don’t go cooping yourself up in a posh, indoor, private, expensive place. There just aint no fun in that at this time of year. Unless you want to do some celeb spotting! We weren’t that bothered about the celebrities so sat ourselves down for a cheesy pizza with a summer salad to share and it made us very happy and pretty full.

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Which I maybe should have thought about, especially before I drank a pint of beer, due to the fact we would then be going for a very important walk down a very exciting road amongst some very attractive racing car drivers. *Ahem* Jenson Button *ahem*. What? Me, have a crush on Jenson Button? Now where did you get a silly idea like that? I most definitely did not have a calendar of him on my wall at 14 either. So yes, next step pit lane walk on a full stomach, wearing a crop top – if you find yourself in a similar position this is exactly the right time to remember to stop being silly and love your bloated belly, Jenson Button or no Jenson Button.

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Mr. Max Chilton was our first point of call, keeping it British y’know?

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Just a little tip, try and think of a really quirky question to ask (if you want to make conversation) because “are you looking forward to the race” was just about the most typical and boring thing I could have ever said, with the oh so expected reply of “well yeah, of course”. Duh, Amy.

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Note – my Paps did not just walk into my room and I did not just ask him who this driver was and the following fact about him is definitely from my lips and not his.

That fella right there is Jules Bianchi, he’s the first ever Marussia driver to finish in the top ten and score a point for the team, ever. Boom.

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And there it is. And there he was. And there he went. No time to take a snap and too many meters between us, I hope you can feel the weight of disappointment in those words. Not that I’m a big fan or anything, as afore mentioned.

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Seeing Fernando Alonso, AKA Mr Ferrari himself helped a little! Then it was time to just stand back, admire the cars and soak it all up. Then Chris Evans walked past, obviously.

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 The smile says it all I think.

Right then. Pit lane walk complete, now get your arse over to La Rascasse for an absolute blast – this is where the snow machines come in.

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Oh sorry, did I forget to mention there were snow machines and confetti canons? Silly me. Be careful though, that confetti can be a right pain.

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We plonked ourselves in prime position right in front of the stage; good dancing space, good for people watching and even better for being in amongst it. Unknowingly we were also in a very good position to be offered free €600 a bottle Magnum champagne and Grey Goose vodka. Safe to say the offering party were spending more in one night than our whole holiday cost and more. But, when in Rome!

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Our prime positioning also earned us some holiday chums, these are two out of our three German buddies. Vladimir (on the left) looked after me later on with my Papa when I wasn’t exactly having my finest hour, so Vladimir I thank you for being kinder than my own mother in my time of need.

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Once you’ve maid some friends and gotten yourself nice and merry (obviously not thinking about the un-fine hour to come later on) get ready for the coolest looking French band you’ve ever seen. They’re like Frances answer to Russell Brand, but without the swearing. They’ll play for you all night so you can dance, play in the snow and have a bloody good time.

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More confetti they said! Smoke machines they said! Hell yeah she said!

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More champagne they said? Hmmmmm…. maybe not when things are starting to look like this…

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That’s about the time where you give up for the night, knowing you’ve done your best and head for the last bus. But of course the last bus does not turn up because you are inn one of the most unreliable places for public transport and so you have to get an expensive taxi home with your Ma, Pa and new German carer, German chum and fellow “un-fine hour-er” German. I apologies for not remembering all of their names, but as you can see from the above I was having a bit too much of a good time.

Now for the drama! You wake up, you smile at your amazing night and then your heart sinks. Bag. Ray Bans. Purse. Driving License. iPhone. Bag. Ray Bans. Purse. Driving License. iPhone. Bag. Ray Bans. Purse. Driving License. iPhone. MAM.

MAM WHERE ARE THEY? Quoth I.

Lost. Lost forever, she said

- In enters hunky french inspector -

‘Ave faith! Quoth he.

- jump to next day, getting ready for the final race and hunky inspector re-enters -

I ‘ave your bag! Quoth he.

HURRAH! Quoth I (trying not to make too much of a fool of myself in front Mr. Inspector)

And that’s the whole shebang. It’s getting published by Faber and Faber. No joke.

MASSIVE joke, obviously.

So I was able to have the most elated day of my life watching the Monaco Grand Prix and knowing that my bag was safe and sound waiting to be reunited with me at the Police Station along with my french inspector. Who doesn’t love a soppy ending?

It would be totally hilarious if ‘my french inspector’ ever happened to come across this, wouldn’t it. Ha ha ha. Ben, I’m just having a laugh, I am not a psychopath. But you were very attractive.

I’m going to stop digging now and welcome you to my view from La Rocher, where we stood and watched the whole race.

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You wouldn’t think these were the cheap seats from the view, but they are. What you can’t see from these images is that we’re all standing, sitting, sliding and crowding all over a hill that overlooks the track. No seats, unless you bring your own and fight for a patch of dirt and no room to breathe really. Jolly good fun!

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Some friends of ours joined us for the race, I think Pappa S had been craving some male chatter so I left them to it and we left Mamma and Sammy to enjoy comfortable seating down in the town.

To watch the race live was a dream fulfilled and a box ticked. Bloody brilliant, I would say. Not exactly the best result, but when your  in Monaco you kind of forget about who you’re rooting for. Well, we did but the extremely irritating Australian next to me did not. I never want to hear the name Riccardo shouted by an Australian ever again. You my friend, were a pain in my behind.

The only plus of the race being over was to remove myself from said irritating Riccardo fan and go gawk at a sexy car.

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Crop top, Miss Selfridge £8 || Cigarette pants, River Island (similar here £17.99)

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Ferrari Ferrari Ferrari.

Wish we could have had a Ferrari take us back to Nice. We queued for two buses, two buses did not come and then we had to squish onto a full train, which is no easy task. It’s safe to say we were ravenous when we got back to Old Town so we sat ourselves down at a traditional trattoria and ordered everything. If you’re going to eat out in Nice, this is how you do it. American bar shmerican bar.

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And as if our trip couldn’t get any better, Jonny and Sammy invited us over to the villa they are Guardians for in Grasse to spend our last day in style. Thank you very, very much guys. It was superb.

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And so was the food!

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We filled ourselves with good wholesome food, sunned ourselves in good french sunshine and chilled the hell out. Couldn’t have predicted it, but what a ridiculously nice surprise and perfect end to an amazing trip.

So, go make your own 5 steps to having the time of your life, because this is just one of the ways you can do it.

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Crop top and trousers as before || Bag, Dune (cheeky TK Maxx find) || Shoes, New Look (similar here, £39.99) || Mama S is all TK Maxx, so happy hunting!

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Tagged: american bar, family, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, food, Formula One, friends, Grand Prix, Grasse, holiday, Jenson Button, Jules Bianchi, Max Chilton, Monaco, Nice, South of France, Travel, Villa
How to have the time of your life.
How to have the time of your life.
How to have the time of your life.

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