Monaco - Dressing Down


The Casino de Monte-Carlo is considered one of the most luxurious casinos in the world.  It's the playground of the rich and famous.   In 1985, I was neither rich nor famous, but I decided I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

I was in nearby Nice, France and decided to make a day trip to Monaco, the second smallest country in the world.  It would have to be a day trip because an overnight trip was way outside of my modest travel budget.

I caught the train to Monte-Carlo.  It's a very small place.  The entire country is less than one square mile.  It wasn't hard to find the casino.   I was excited to visit.  This would be the first time I had ever been to a casino.

Outside the Casino de Monte Carlo

At the time of my visit, Monaco still had its own currency and I didn't have any of it.  But I didn't plan to gamble and I was only here for the day. No problem.   

I made my way to the front door of the casino.  I was stopped by the doorman.  The conversation went something like this:

Me:  I'm going to the Casino
Doorman: No
Me: I just want to look around
Doorman: No
Me (stupidly): I've come from America. 
Doorman:  Good-bye

I don't actually remember if he said "Good-bye" but that was clearly the message.  There was no way I was getting in the front door.  Of course, I wasn't going to give up.  I figured there must be another entrance on the side or the back that would be open.  There wasn't.

I wasn't pleased with the "dressing down" I had been given at the casino but when I think back to that day, I think my experience probably had everything to do with how I was dressed.   I don't know what I was wearing, but I was backpacking across Europe.  My entire traveling wardrobe consisted of jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes.   I was 25 years old and probably didn't look like I could afford to be in the "fanciest casino in the World."  

I decided to see the rest of Monte Carlo and Monaco.   There wasn't much else to see.  This was after all the playground of the "rich and famous."   Even if I had local currency, getting something to eat here or even a cup of coffee would be out of reach.   

I headed back to the train station and waited for the next train back to Nice.   


If I ever go back to Monaco, I would love to visit the famous Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.   I didn't know about it at the time of my visit and don't remember seeing it.   Famed Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau was the museum director for many years.  

Dates of Travel

  • March, 1985

Places Visited

  • Monaco




This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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