More than anywhere else in the world, Monaco and its most famous district Monte Carlo, are synonymous with glamour, luxury, and wealth. Located on the Riviera, Monaco offers a beguiling Mediterranean lifestyle with a glittering coastline, discreet banking facilities, first-class sporting and leisure amenities, and a mild year-round climate.
The Principality of Monaco is the world’s second smallest independent state and is separated into four traditional quarters: Fontvieille, Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, and the internationally renowned Monte Carlo. Founded in 1866, Monte Carlo was named after the then-ruling prince of Monaco, Charles III. The Grimaldi family, which still rules Monaco to this day, was instrumental in turning Monte Carlo into the premier destination it is today. With his family facing bankruptcy in the 1850s, Prince Charles III permitted the construction of a casino in Monaco, following the example of German towns that had grown prosperous through the gambling industry. The Monte Carlo Casino saved the ruling Grimaldi family from bankruptcy, and up until recently was the main source of income for family and the Monaco economy.
The construction of the Monte Carlo casino, Place du Casino, was a turning point in the principality’s history, for it soon became the premier destination on the Riviera. Today this picturesque destination continues to attract visitors and prospective residents with its rich history, culture, and unique lifestyle. In addition to the beautiful Beaux-Arts-style casino, Monaco is home to many historic buildings, including the Opera de Monte-Carlo, designed by the architect Charles Garnier, Monaco Cathedral, Hôtel de Paris, Napoleon Museum, and Prince’s Palace. Another popular attraction is the Oceanographic Museum, once directed by the famous explorer Jacques Cousteau.
Monte Carlo also plays host to some of the most famous sporting events in Europe. The Monaco Grand Prix, held annually on the Circuit de Monaco, is one of the most important races in Formula One. Enjoy the festive atmosphere and excitement as spectators from around the world watch the racecars roar down the streets of Monaco. Fans of racing will also love the historic Monte Carlo Rally, which in 2011 celebrated its centenary. The Monte Carlo Rally has always been a place where car manufacturers take to the track to demonstrate advances and innovations in automotive technology.
The Monte-Carlo Masters is an important part of Monaco’s history and cultural environment, and an integral part of the pro Tennis circuit. The Monte-Carlo Masters is one of the “Super Nine” tournaments on the pro tour, the tier just below the prestigious Grand Slams. Tennis history was also made at the Monte-Carlo masters, with the sensational Rafael Nadal winning eight consecutive titles at the tournament, making him the only player to accomplish the feat in the open era.
Adding to its world-class recreational offerings, Monaco is an idyllic destination for sailing aficionados. With its dramatic cliffs and majestic mega yachts, Monaco boasts arguably one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.
While Monte Carlo is most certainly a premier destination for sporting enthusiasts, the city also offers a living experience unlike anywhere else in Europe. Residents and visitors to Monte Carlo—and more broadly the entire principality of Monaco—have noted that it is an incredibly safe and clean place to live with heavily policed streets. Monaco is also renown as a wealth-friendly location, with no income tax on individual residents and low business taxes. Many wealthy foreign citizens have set up residence or business in Monaco, which today is home to the most millionaires per capita in the world.
Although many places around the globe claim to offer the “premier” shopping experience, Monaco’s boutiques are truly world class. The most exclusive and chic shopping can be found at the appropriately named Carre d’Or or Golden Square, located near the casino. For high-end boutiques and retailers, explore the beautiful Avenue Monte Carlo, Avenue Beaux-Arts, or the Allees Lumieres. Despite the city-state’s air of exclusivity and glitzy, glamorous image, Monaco still retains its unique, French Riviera charm. The city hosts old-fashioned Mediterranean markets every day at La Condamine and Avenue Saint Charles.
Benefitting from 300 days of sunshine each year, Monaco enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and long summers that are not excessively hot. Monaco is easily accessible from France via rail and is a 30-minute drive or seven-minute helicopter ride from the nearby Nice Côte d'Azur International Airport.
How Many People Live in Monaco?
Population: 36,371 (2011)
What Languages Are Spoken in Monaco?
Language: French (official). English, Italian, Monégasque, and Occitan are widely spoken.
What is the Currency in Monaco?