My Excellent Monaco Helicopter Adventure!

monaco helicopter

Photo: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry/Business Insider

I had the good fortune of being invited to the Monaco Media Forum last week, an industry shinding where the top executives and investors in old and new media network and talk in a huge Monaco hotel. I took a plane from Paris to Nice, a helicopter from Nice to Monaco and walked across the city from the heliport to the hotel. What was it like? 

Well, the views from the helicopter were great. I also got a chance to walk around Monaco and see what the beautiful European city is like.

(Disclosure: I attended Monaco Media Forum for free and they paid for my hotel, but Business Insider paid for the flights and the helicopter ride, taking advantage of the Forum’s discounts.)

My journey starts in Paris' morning rush hour traffic

Nokia and Microsoft aren't kidding about getting people to buy their phones

Smoke break before stepping into the airport (yeah, yeah, it's bad for me)

Security checks on domestic fights are faster, which means time for breakfast! Including fair trade/linux Coke!

Some reading for the plane journey...

...Aaand we land. See that thin, thin blue line in the picture? It's the Mediterranean! Awesome!

Now on to my helicopter. Where to go? (You can't tell from the picture, but this booth was for Monaco Media Forum attendees. Unfortunately, it was empty.)

Oh, thattaway.

After going through another security checkpoint, I'm put on a van to the heliport

Here it is! OMG! So exciting!

All aboard!

I'm sitting in the back, squeezed between two other passengers. The weather is kind of crappy, but I'm not complaining.

Ha! There's even advertising here!

AND WE ARE OFF!

The sea is just a beautiful shade of blue.

The shore looks good as well.

Unlike what you'd expect, once you're inside the noise is quite tolerable. Equivalent to being in a loud restaurant/bar, I'd say.

Such gorgeous views.

Look at those houses! Nice if you can get it!

Guess we're not supposed to be snapping all these pics. Whoops!

Here it is! Monaco!

Here we go...

Here we are! In Monaco, by helicopter! That was awesome!

Ok, now let's find the hotel, which is Monte Carlo, on the other end of Monaco. Let's walk, it's such a nice city.

Just to give you a sense of where we're going. The Heliport is on the edge of Fonvieille, a neighbourhood reclaimed from the sea, and Monte Carlo is on the other end of Monaco.

Plenty of construction here, by the way. Guess there's no economic crisis in Monaco.

Let's go through this lovely park...

Even as a Parisian, thinking of the real estate prices here makes me queasy. (Also, no cycling in parks!)

What's on the other end of this tiny street?

It's Fontvieille port! So pleasant!

Those are the kinds of boats you see in Monaco.

Nice yachts. One day when BI goes public, I'll get one.

Here's a view of the port from above--the boats, the cliffs, the palm trees, it's so peaceful and pretty!

Moving on to this beautiful plaza

Monaco is full of these pretty, picturesque places

Here's a playground for the kids

Here's a farmers' market

Moving on to this pretty side street...

Plenty of flags--people like to show off their Monegasque pride. And when you see the regulations and taxes of neighbouring France and Italy, who can blame them?

Moving on to the Port of Monaco proper. It's pretty. There's a carnival going on along the side. Huh. Not many people attending, probably on account of its being the middle of the week in November.

More great yachts. The weather is crappy, but it makes the sky beautiful.

Some pretty nice houses around here, too.

Here's a panoramic view of the port, including my fat finger.

Next stop, the casino. Wait, which way is it? I'm looking for a glitzy place where people mindlessly spend massive amounts of money...

Is it here? No...

Maybe here? Nope...

...Here it is! Nice!

Obviously, there are nice rides around...

...very nice rides...

Here's a peek inside! (Closed to the public.)

Ok, time to move find that hotel. Moving on...

Here's a view of Monte Carlo. God that's pretty.

You can just picture the Formula 1 cars zipping around here

Back down to the shore, where the sea is beautiful.

Here's a panoramic view of the shore going to Monte Carlo.

Here's the hotel!

Whoa, it's massive.

Of course, it has a casino.

Inside--here we are!

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