Bienvenue and welcome to the South of France, our fifth and final stop on the “Where in the World” tour. Today we brought the viewers two for the price of one — stopping first is the principality of Monaco, then hopping over to the red carpet at the world famous Cannes Film Festival.
OUR TRIP HERE was a very long one. We left Cambodia at about 10 pm local time, exhausted by the travels and long show. Some dinner on the plane was followed by a quick nap for me, then some time spent preparing for our final location. Another fuel stop in Dubai was 7 hours later, and then the second half of the flight to Nice was about another 7.
Upon our arrival in Nice, we boarded a helicopter (I think the fourth one I’ve been on this week) for a very quick trip to Monaco. It was an absolutely gorgeous day - brilliant sunshine and a bright blue sky. We headed for a hotel just to re-group and get changed and then to the set by noon in Monte Carlo.
Our set was an incredible yacht called, “Philosophy” — one of the many beautiful ships that line the harbors of Monte Carlo. This is true “lifestyles of the rich and famous” country, and little expense is spared when it comes to most of these boats. I did the first half of the show from Philosophy’s top deck, with a stunning view of the castle and the hills of Monaco in the background. Then, the traveling continued, with a page right out of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles!” I jumped in a speedboat, which took us to an awaiting car, which sped us to a helicopter (now the fifth this week for whomever is counting!) which flew about 10 minutes to a helipad. From there, a quick walk through a beach brought us to yet another speedboat, which ultimately deposited us safely on the beach, yards from the red carpet at the festival. Phew! It was quite a trip — made more difficult by the feet that I managed to change into a tuxedo en route!
At the dock I was greeted by a few of Hollywood’s young stars — Christina Ricci, Melissa Joan Hart and Michelle Yeough — all who were attending a beachside luncheon hosted by Miramax. It was the perfect welcome to Cannes and the red carpet. A short walk to the steps of the Palais put me right in the middle of it all, and we finished off the week in true jet-set style.
Saturday, I will head back to New York and try to catch up on some sleep before I am back in Studio 1A on Monday morning. As has been the case each year, it’s at this point that I must say my thank yous — to all the producers and researchers that helped prepare me - they made me look like an expert. And to the technical crews stationed around the world — I remain in awe of all that you all do. As I said on the show — you are the best in the business, and this trip wouldn’t happen without you.
I think that year five has been a terrific one — each location providing a look at a completely different place — all exotic and all so beautifully unique. I think it is on this note that we will likely put an end to the “Where in the World is Matt Lauer” annual mystery tour… and it is with the fondest of memories that I will do that. I have seen so many places, experienced so many amazing things — it has been a thrill to bring it all to our viewers.
Thanks for letting me share it all with you — it has been an incredible adventure.