The Principality of Monaco is a dwarf state on the shores of the Ligurian Sea, receiving almost a million tourists a year. Despite its more than modest size – the area of the country is a ridiculous 2 km² – Monaco looks incredibly respectable and glossy. The ports, packed with snow-white yachts, a lot of serious banks, which attract money from all over Europe, and a well-functioning mechanism of tourist infrastructure help the local population to live the high life, not denying themselves anything.
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Monaco is still the French Riviera but it no longer belongs to France. However, the independence of the Principality is a very, very relative concept. Important public decisions in the country are always made in the light of its stronger neighbor (France), to which Monaco is attached on the right of free association. As for the powers of the Prince of Monaco, he is not a nominal figure in his own country, and it is his voice that is decisive.
The majority of the Principality’s inhabitants are foreigners who, for whatever reason, benefit from living on the shores of the Ligurian Sea. The indigenous or, in the language of documents, the autochthonous population of the country (the Monegasques) accounts for only 20% of the total number of citizens. However, unlike, for example, the United States, the indigenous people here are a privileged caste. They communicate in their own dialect and are in no hurry to switch to literary French, do not spend a single euro cent on taxes, and also have the exclusive right to choose the parliament. In fact, it is thanks to the Monegasque people that the word combination “subject of Monaco” is associated with premium, status and fabulous money all over the world.
The country itself does not lag behind the residents in terms of elitism of image. The first thing that catches the eye when visiting the Principality – is the sharp differences in altitude and the lack of space, which makes Monaco look like a toy kingdom. Pompous historical buildings scattered on rocky cliffs and interspersed with modern high-rise buildings, narrow streets with rows of boutiques and sports cars on the roadsides turned a dwarf state into a place with an off-scale level of photogenicity. Add to this the Formula 1 racing, the world famous casino and the atmosphere of the eternal feast of life and you understand why the Principality is so sought after by the European aristocracy and the oligarchs from the Forbes top 100.
Map of Monaco (click to enlarge)
A curious peculiarity: there are no cities in Monaco – the territory of the state is simply divided into districts. Moreover, the country tends to expand its borders. But since Monaco simply has nowhere to grow on land, it prefers to reclaim land from the sea, with the Fontvieille district being a prime example. Another characteristic of the Principality is its love of money. It is an attractive taxation system and a strict regime of banking secrecy that have given the country a solid reputation among foreign businessmen. However, Monaco knows not only how to attract foreign capital, but also how to spend it in style. Luxury car showrooms, antique stores and designer showrooms abound here.
The Phoenicians and the Greeks who arrived here in the 10th century were the first to develop the territory of today’s Monaco. But the foundations of statehood were laid here in the late Middle Ages, when the Principality became a colony of the Republic of Genoa. At the end of XIII century the civil war broke out in Genoa and Francesco Grimaldi seized the Monaco fortress. Disguised in a monk’s robe, the rebel entered with a group of accomplices through the city gates and arbitrarily settled on the throne of the country. The result of this sudden invasion was that all subsequent rulers of the state were members of the Grimaldi clan, including the current Prince Albert II.
Panorama of Monaco, 1874 Poster of the 1933 Monaco Grand Prix
As for its relationship with France, Monaco voluntarily came under its patronage in 1641, having tired of the harsh and treasury-destroying Spanish protectorate. However, later the Principality had to fight for independence, first with France and then with Sardinia. Monaco began to turn into an elite resort and gambling capital of Europe from the imitation of the German Bad Homburg. Namely, in the second half of the XIX century Prince Charles III set out to “rob the whole of Europe”, concluding a contract with businessman Francois Blanc for the construction of the casino. The end result of the deal was the appearance on the national map of the Monte-Carlo area with its famous roulette, as well as a sharp influx of “fat wallets” eager to be the first to upgrade the tables of the gambling establishment.
By the beginning of the twentieth century Monaco had become quite “untwisted” financially, but it did not stop being interesting. So in the “Roaring Twenties” a new attraction was invented for the foreign beau monde – the Grand Prix races. Betting on the millionaires’ passion for extreme sports was right, and the golden stream flowing into the principality, turned into a real moneyfall, providing the Grimaldi family for several generations to come. It was 1956, when Monaco’s ruler Rainier III married Hollywood film diva Grace Kelly. The media all over the world were breathlessly watching the wedding and the subsequent (rumored, not very happy) family life of the couple.
The best time to go
Monaco is a typical Mediterranean region, where the seasons do not fluctuate with extreme temperatures. Consequently, it is possible to find holidaymakers strolling around the city streets and losing money at the Monte Carlo casino all year round. A special influx of tourists is noted from May to October. Firstly, because this is the best time to swim and get a glamorous tan. And secondly, because in this time period in the Principality a variety of celebrations and social events, from the Monaco Grand Prix to the festival of fireworks take place. There is a high season and a significant disadvantage – filled to capacity hotels, so if you dream to relax on the beach with European beau monde, prepare to book accommodation in late winter.
Early autumn in Monaco is a time of slight decline. The water in the sea slowly cools down and becomes pleasantly invigorating, and the sun gives an elegant golden tan without burning the skin as it sometimes happens in the summer. September is also when the Principality hosts the famous Monaco Yacht Show, where oligarchs flaunt their giant yachts while mere mortals gaze in raptures at the Vanity Fair.
September evening in Monaco
In November the bathing season is declared closed and the Ligurian coast begins to experience dreary rains. The main highlight of the month is November 19, Monaco’s National Day. So if you want to see Albert II and Princess Charlene with your own eyes, try to check out the event, which begins with a celebratory mass in the Cathedral and ends with an opera performance in Monte Carlo (admission only for members of the Princely Family and their entourage). In general, late autumn in this “golden corner” is the best time to have a good time in the nightclubs and lose all the money in the casinos. It’s a bit dull and wet outside, but the bars and gambling houses are cosy and cheerful inside. But only if you have a solid cash reserve.
The closer the Mediterranean winter with its overcast, plus temperatures and dreary rains, the cheaper the accommodation and restaurant menus become in Monaco. Of course, hanging out in the Principality for next to nothing, but if you arrive at the resort in January and February, you can count on a nice discount. In addition, winter – it is necessarily a huge sale and the International Circus Festival.
Important: The most expensive winter month in Monaco is December. On the one hand it attracts tourists to the Principality, and on the other hand it allows hoteliers and restaurateurs to raise prices for their services.
Spring in Monaco is very picturesque and ideal for excursions. To bathe in full during this time, alas, does not work, although in May you can try to dip at the shore. But to get the necessary portion of ultraviolet light, starting in April, is quite possible. Rich Mediterranean spring and festive events, the most noisy of which are the Spring Festival of Arts and the Festival of Comedy Films. So if you love film premieres and dream of getting selfies with Emir Kusturica and the like, stop by the Principality in the spring.
Attractions and Entertainment
Tiny but charming Monaco is a mish-mash of architectural monuments and grandiose places of entertainment, where it is so nice to feel “at home”, throwing around crisp banknotes to the right and to the left. Usually people come to the Principality not for the specific sights, but to touch the legend of the Cote d’Azur and the replicated atmosphere of “dolce vita”, which is available here not only to a bunch of millionaires, but to any buyer of the tour. Still, Monaco has a lot to show a visiting visitor, so try to make the most of the breaks between roulette and hanging out in beach clubs and take a walk (or drive) through the country’s iconic sites.
Streets of the Old Town
Traditionally, the most spectacular buildings are clustered within the state capital, Monaco-Ville, aka the Old Town. The pompous district occupied the rocky part of Cape Saint Antoine and practically soared above the sea, which gave its appearance even more fairy-tale flavor. The first places worth seeing in Monaco-Villa are St Nicholas Cathedral, the Chapel of Divine Mercy whose altar is littered with precious pilgrims’ donations, and the Princely Palace which has been home to the descendants of the trickster Grimaldi for 700 years. A little clarification: everyone is allowed to enter the residence, but only the southern wing of the castle and the state apartments can be viewed from inside. Another must-see of Monaco-Ville is the botanical garden which is called the Exotic Garden. Even if you’re not a big fan of neat rose gardens and giant cacti, try to stay here at least for a while – there aren’t many green squares and recreational areas in the Principality where you can escape the heat.
Saint Nicholas Cathedral Monaco’s Princely Palace
Be sure to walk around Palace Square to catch the marching guard of honor, a hypnotic sight that makes you want to watch more and more. Then visit all the museums in the Old Town – the Monaco Rulers Wax Museum (the brilliant Grace Kelly is also present), the Old Monaco Museum, the Oceanographic Museum and the Napoleon Museum (the southern wing of the royal palace).
Guard of honor on the palace square Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
The Fontvieille district is a more recent attraction than the Princely Nest of Monaco-Ville. Built in the 70s on land reclaimed from the sea, this part of the Principality is considered to be its industrial center, but that does not make it any less interesting. Tourists in Fontvieille are usually attracted by two objects: the Museum of vintage cars, where the bulk of the exhibits (and there are more than a hundred) belonged to Prince Rainier III, and a soccer stadium “Louis II”. The neighborhood is also home to the famous Grimaldi Rocks which are always full of people who want to conquer them.
Fontvieille Stadium Louis II
Chasing after tycoons and movie stars with a camera is best done in the La Condamine district. Firstly, because this is the main marina of the Principality, where the most expensive yachts are moored (Port Hercules). And secondly, because it is a business center of the country, where rushing businessmen from around the world to put their own money. As for sightseeing and sightseeing program the area is also not an outsider. St. Devotee Church, Princess Antoinette Park, Rainier III outdoor pool in the port, which turns into a huge ice rink in winter – these and other attractions belong exclusively to the territory of La Condamine.
Port Hercules Church of Sainte Devotee Open swimming pool Rainier III
The most famous area of the country, which surpassed in popularity even the pretentious Monaco-Ville, is certainly Monte-Carlo. This old-world mecca of gambling, where it is customary to meet a loss without drama and with champagne, and to rejoice in winning with maximum restraint, has an incredible magnetism, which is impossible to resist. By the way, it is forbidden by law for the Principality’s citizens, including representatives of the Grimaldi family, to play roulette, but guests from the rest of the world are always given the green light here.
The Monte Carlo Grand Prix The street in Monte Carlo
The building of the first resort casino is a separate attraction, which had the hand of Charles Garnier himself (the same one who designed the Grand Opéra in Paris). Paradoxically, but in the richest gambling house of Europe you can easily get without a penny in your pocket. Further than the main hall, however, you will not progress, but you can take pictures of the ornate interiors of the room, if you give an oath not to catch the staff in the frame.
Interesting fact: they say that Monte Carlo casinos do not forgive losses, but there is one occasion in their history when an exception was made. In the XIX century Russian officer, who left the local croupiers all his wages, climbed aboard his ship and shot in the direction of the city with the ship’s guns. The frightened casino staff returned the money to the angry customer, but stopped allowing uniformed men at their tables after the incident.
A little piece of Asia in the heart of Europe – the Japanese garden in Monte Carlo. The creation of landscape designers on Princesa Grace street masterly squeezed between apartment complexes and multi-storey new buildings. By the way, it’s the only place in the Principality where there’s no place for the pompousness and the atmosphere of premium exclusivity that permeates even the air in Monaco. So if you’re looking for a place to gather your thoughts, come here and enjoy complete relaxation and tranquillity.
The Japanese Garden in Monte Carlo
Another popular sight in Monte Carlo is the Formula 1 circuit where European drivers have been racing since 1929. Of course it is best to watch the roaring cars in the midst of the championship, but if this is not possible, you can try to repeat the iconic route in a rented car.
Where is Monaco on the map and what is remarkable about the country
Monaco, the bright name of a remarkable place on the world map. What is this place and where is the state of Monaco?
Monaco is not just a point on the map, it is part of a real principality, which is characterized by its small size and natural beauty. It is quite difficult to find Monaco on the map, because its size is 2.02 km². Located on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, the Principality occupies a small part of the land in southern Europe.
To clearly understand where the Principality is located, it is worth imagining the point of intersection along the Mediterranean Sea of the two states: Italy and France. Adjacent to Nice, Monaco is more a city and the surrounding suburbs, rather than an imposing part of the whole Principality.
Monaco is an area with a rugged coastline, surrounded by cliffs. Locals call it, affectionately, “the continuation of the Cote d’Azur”. Its high point is considered to be the cape, protruding from the sea, called Mont Agel.
The Principality and its composition
It includes three administrative districts: Monte Carlo, Monaco and La Condamine. The capital of this tiny state, is Monaco.
There are not many inhabitants in the capital, according to the census, there are 1.3 thousand. However, despite the small territory, the state is quite successful and prosperous.
Climate and weather
Wanting to visit Monaco and figuring out where it is located on the map, it is worth knowing what the climate is like there, and what the weather is worth waiting for there in advance. Monaco has a typical maritime climate. Warm summers and mild winters.
It’s sunny and warm all year round, with around 300 days like this. And you can’t expect a lot of bad weather, as the rainy weather is only in the autumn and lasts two or three days at the most. It’s more of a drizzle than rain.
Summers in Monaco are not hot, the average temperature in midsummer is around 24 degrees. Winter is mild and warm, -8 to +8 degrees. Severe piercing north winds do not happen here. Therefore, tourists constantly come here to rest. This is a well-known European resort.
Under whose protection does the state live.
Monaco is dependent on France and lives by its laws. All its political, economic issues, Monaco carries out, coordinating with France and its interests. The Principality’s prosperous position is due to tourism, construction, media, gambling.
Once you understand where the country of Monaco is on the world map, it is impossible not to point out that to get to the Principality is possible with a Schengen visa.
In Russia, there is no official separate representative office of the Principality, so the request for a visa, it is worth sending visa centers. There are several visa centers in Russia: in Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg and Moscow. You can also apply to the French visa center with this question.
National and language peculiarities
The official national language recognized in the country is French. Most likely, so affected the country by the patronage of France. Although walking through the local streets and stores, you can hear English, Monegasque, Italian and French.
One-fifth of the entire principality is inhabited by the local Monegasque people. They have their own privileges, over the other inhabitants of the country. They have the right to live in the old town without paying taxes at all. It is thanks to the locals in Monaco that cultural practices, family values and traditional local festivals still exist.
Catholics and Protestants live in the Principality. And the Catholics represent 90% of the inhabitants.
Work in Monaco
The success of Monaco attracts many people from other countries not only for a positive and enjoyable holiday, but also in search of work. That is why many job seekers are now trying to find out more about where the Principality of Monaco is and how to get there.
When planning to work in the Principality, or to rest, take your smartphone with you. It will help you navigate as much as possible on the spot and find the important points you need to find a job or a place to rest.
All jobs in Monaco are paid in Euros. It is possible to earn money here in many areas. This can be financial, banking, travel or electronic activity, or the service sector. But employers will have to pay high taxes, it should also be considered.
Mobile services and transport
There are never any difficulties or problems with transport in the Principality. There is a lot of different transport and it operates around the clock: buses with shuttle buses, land and water transport. In addition, it is always possible to use the free escalators, or the compact tourist steam train.
There are no inconveniences in terms of connectivity. The only provider in the Principality, Monaco Telecom, has access and service points everywhere. Wi-fi can be caught anywhere in the Principality. Now, you know exactly where Monaco is on the world map.
Buying a Property
To buy even a small property in Monaco will be quite difficult. New construction is not planned due to the small size of the country, and the presence of their own real estate allows you to get a residence permit for residents of other countries. Even the smallest apartment with miserable area in the Principality is very expensive. And not everyone can afford it.
The resort center of Monaco can be called four cities. These are Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo and Fontvieille. Each town is known for its attractions. One is popular because it is home to the ruling family on the very hill, another is known for the largest casino, the third has the Principality’s main port, and the fourth even has a dam.
Although for a quiet holiday, the areas of the Principality of Saint-Roman or La Colle, where there are luxurious beach areas, are suitable. Or the same Moneghetti and Saint-Michel, popular for their picturesque residential areas.
Museums and interesting places
Knowing where Monaco is, it is also worth knowing the museums and other places to visit there. There is, for example, an unusual museum of figures made of pure wax, where each figure belongs to a member of the princely family.
There is also an old palace, which was founded in 1215. The patroness of the Principality is considered to be the church of St. Devotee, which the locals still worship to this day.
It is impossible not to admire the Chapel of Charity in Monaco, which is an ancient shrine in the center of the City Hall Square. The most important shrine of the Principality is considered the Cathedral in the capital.
For those attracted to the beauty of the herds, the Exotic Garden is worth a visit. Its territory grows several thousand species of tropical plants and flowers.
It is impossible not to mention such a place as the Sculpture Alley. It is a place where there are sculptures of the world’s most famous masters. In almost every interesting place of the Principality you can buy tours, so with their visit you will not have any problems.
What should consider a tourist going on holiday in Monaco
1) Banks in Monaco are open on weekdays, on weekends, they are closed.
2. Using a personal or rented vehicle in Monaco, it is worth knowing that the country has a speed limit. The allowed speed on the road is limited to 50 km per hour.
3. There are regular exhibition races in Monaco. During this period, all prices in the Principality increase by exactly half.
4. Tap water in the Principality is not potable. It is worth buying bottled water.
5. You can see the brightest celebrations in the country on December 25, January 27 and November 19.
After reading the article, you now know where the dwarf state of Monaco is on the map. And why the country is difficult to find on the map, what are the places and rules in the Principality. And you will be able to navigate in the Principality, if you go there for vacation or work.