Where the rich play.
Life’s plain-sailing especially when you’re on a luxury cruise!
Last week, I told you all about the fantastic Silversea cruise line and the special time that can be enjoyed on this most intimate of ships.
This week, I’ll look at the wonderful ports that Silversea go to, starting in Monte Carlo, before visiting
St Tropez, Marseilles, Sete, Majorca, Valencia and ending in Barcelona.
What a fabulous itinerary, and it’s hard to pinpoint one highlight as it really was all magical.
Let’s start with Monte Carlo in Monaco though. The Principality itself covers just 473 acres and has only 5,000 citizens, but there’s still plenty to luxuriate in.
In 1297, the Grimaldi family seized the fortified town of Monte Carlo and, aside from a short break, under Napoleon, they have ruled there ever since.
The Grimaldis made their money from gambling and attracting a wealthy crowd.
The fairytale wedding of Hollywood princess Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier, ruler of Monaco, well and truly put this place on the map.
It’s a tax haven that positively oozes wealth.
The town’s great 1864 landmark Htel de Paris is still a haven for the
Euro-gentry who come to the opera or the ballrooms of the casino.
Place du Casino is the centre of Monte Carlo and is a must-see.
This swanky gilt-strewn rococo building is where Sarah Bernhardt lost her last 100,000 francs.
From one super-swanky destination to another and it was off to St Tropez.
Brigitte Bardot made this resort famous in the early 1960s and she was followed by the likes of Liz Taylor and Sophia Loren.
These days celebs such as Elton John, Barbra Streisand, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Nicholson and Uma Thurman visit and stay in the luxurious villas.
Stroll around the pretty port and medieval streets and explore the boutiques or head to the beaches, which are some of the most fashionable in Europe.
Marseilles next, and this is one of the most vibrant cities in France, teeming with life.
Take in the Abbaye St Victor, founded in the fourth Century, and the Cathedrale de la Nouvelle Major, a massive neo-Byzantine 19th Century structure.
Le Panier is the old heart of Marseille, a veritable maze of shuttered houses, narrow cobbled streets and pretty, tiny squares.
Notre-Dame de la Garde dominates the city and is visible for miles around,
Built in 1853, the interior is a riot of colour and here you find the gargantuan Madonna and Child on the steeple.
The attractive fishing village of Sete was next.
It serves as the gateway to Montpellier and you can visit other highlights from here, such as Carcassone, Aigues Mortes and Pezenas.
From there, it was off to Spain. The last ports of call on this cruise were Soller on Majorca, Valencia and Barcelona.
I elected not to take an organised excursion, so I just strolled round Soller, where the ship docked.
Here you find an attractive Mediterranean port resort with a charming old vintage tram that connects you to the beautiful town of Soller.
This is a maze of pedestrianised alleyways with chic shops and cafes, a stunning cathedral and some very attractive scenery.
It’s set in a lush valley of orange groves between the mountains and the sea.
It’s a lovely experience to sit outside the cafes in Placa Constitucid soaking up the atmosphere.
Valencia was next and, wow, what a fabulous, vibrant city this is, with its traffic-free alleyways and spectacular cathedral.
You’ll find the Chapel of the Holy Chalice, which houses a purple agate vessel said to be the Holy Grail (Christ’s cup at the Last Supper).
And behind the altar you can see the left arm of St Vincent, who was martyred in Valencia in 304 yeah, gory!
Silversea’s Silver Wind departs on June 22, 2015, for a seven-day voyage from Monte Carlo for Barcelona calling at St Tropez, Marseille, Sete, Alcudia and Valencia. Prices start from £2,350 per person based on double occupancy of the Vista Suite. Visit silversea.com or call 0844 251 0837 to book.