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Hotels of Monaco

A hotel in Monaco is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Monaco hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Monaco are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Monaco hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Monaco hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Monaco have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels in Monaco
An upscale full service hotel facility in Monaco that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Monaco hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels in Monaco
Full service Monaco hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels in Monaco
Boutique hotels of Monaco are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Monaco boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Monaco may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels in Monaco
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Monaco travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Monaco focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels in Monaco
Small to medium-sized Monaco hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Monaco traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Monaco hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs in Monaco
A bed and breakfast in Monaco is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Monaco bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Monaco B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels in Monaco
Monaco hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Monaco hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Monaco
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Monaco hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Monaco lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs in Monaco
Monaco timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Monaco often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Monaco on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels in Monaco
A Monaco motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Monaco for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Monaco motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation in Monaco

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Principality of Monaco
Principauté de Monaco (French)
Flag of Monaco
Coat of arms of Monaco
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Deo Juvante" (Latin)
"With God's Help"
Anthem: Hymne Monégasque
English: Monégasque Anthem
Location of  Monaco  (green)in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]
Location of Monaco (green)

in Europe (dark grey) – [Legend]

Capital Monaco (city-state)
 / 43.733; 7.417
Largest Quartier Monte Carlo
Official languages French
Common languages
  • Monégasque
  • Italian
  • Occitan
Ethnic groups
  • French
  • Monégasque
  • Italian
Religion Christianity
Demonym
  • Monégasque
  • Monacan
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy
• Prince
Albert II
• Minister of State
Serge Telle
Legislature National Council
Independence
• House of Grimaldi (under the sovereignty of the Republic of Genoa)
1297
• from the French Empire
17 May 1814
• from occupation of the Sixth Coalition
17 June 1814
• Franco-Monegasque Treaty
1861
• Constitution
1911
Area
• Total
2.02 km (0.78 sq mi) (248th)
• Water (%)
negligible
Population
• 2015 estimate
38,400 (217th)
• 2016 census
37,308
• Density
18,713/km (48,466.4/sq mi) (1st)
GDP (PPP) 2010 estimate
• Total
$3.000 billion (156th)
• Per capita
$78,700 (9th)
GDP (nominal) 2014 estimate
• Total
$5.424 billion (148th)
• Per capita
$187,649 (1st)
HDI (2015 estimate) Increase 1.000
very high
Currency Euro (€) (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
• Summer (DST)
CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code +377
ISO 3166 code MC
Internet TLD .mc
  1. Government offices are however, located in the Quartier of Monaco-Ville.
  2. GDP per capita calculations include non-resident workers from France and Italy.
  3. Monacan is the term for residents.

Monaco (Listen/ˈmɒnək/; French pronunciation: ​[mɔna'ko]), officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco), is a sovereign city-state, country and microstate, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. France borders the country on three sides while the other side borders the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco has an area of 2.02 km (0.78 sq mi) and a population of about 38,400 according to the last census of 2016. With 19,009 inhabitants per km², it is the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco has a land border of 5.47 km (3.40 mi), a coastline of 3.83 km (2.38 mi), and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 m (1,859 and 382 yd). The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires Ward, which is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level. Monaco's most populous Quartier is Monte Carlo and the most populous Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. Through land reclamation, Monaco's land mass has expanded by twenty percent; in 2005, it had an area of only 1.974 km (0.762 sq mi). Monaco is known as a playground for the rich and famous, due to its tax laws. In 2014, it was noted about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires, more than in Zürich or Geneva.

Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power. The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297. The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood. The state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full United Nations voting member in 1993. Despite Monaco's independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units.

Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with the opening of the country's first casino, Monte Carlo, and a railway connection to Paris. Since then, Monaco's mild climate, scenery, and gambling facilities have contributed to the principality's status as a tourist destination and recreation center for the rich. In more recent years, Monaco has become a major banking center and has sought to diversify its economy into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries. The state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven. It is also the host of the annual street circuit motor race Monaco Grand Prix, one of the original Grands Prix of Formula One.

Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union (EU), but it participates in certain EU policies, including customs and border controls. Through its relationship with France, Monaco uses the euro as its sole currency (prior to this it used the Monégasque franc). Monaco joined the Council of Europe in 2004. It is a member of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

Monaco: History

Monaco in Roman Liguria in Italy, 1st century BC.

Monaco's name comes from the nearby 6th-century BC Phocaean Greek colony. Referred to by the Ligurians as Monoikos, from the Greek "μόνοικος", "single house", from "μόνος" (monos) "alone, single" + "οἶκος" (oikos) "house", which bears the sense of a people either settled in a "single habitation" or of "living apart" from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods. As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the "House" of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos. It ended up in the hands of the Holy Roman Empire, which gave it to the Genoese. An ousted branch of a Genoese family, the Grimaldi, contested it for a hundred years before actually gaining control. Though the Republic of Genoa would last until the 19th century, they allowed the Grimaldi family to keep Monaco, and, likewise, both France and Spain left it alone for hundreds of years. France did not annex it until the French Revolution, but after the defeat of Napoleon it was put under the care of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In the 19th century, when Sardinia became a part of Italy, the region came under French influence again but France allowed it to remain independent. Like France, Monaco was over-run by the Axis powers during the Second World War and for a short time was administered by Italy, then the Third Reich, before finally being liberated. Although the occupation lasted for just a short time, it meant the deportation of the Jewish population and execution of several resistance members from Monaco. Since then Monaco has been independent. It has taken some steps towards integration with the European Union.

Monaco: Arrival of the Grimaldi family

Rainier I of Grimaldi, victor of the naval battle at Zierikzee and first sovereign Grimaldi ruler of Monaco

Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was refounded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa. Monaco was first ruled by a member of the House of Grimaldi in 1297, when Francesco Grimaldi, known as "Il Malizia" (translated from Italian either as "The Malicious One" or "The Cunning One"), and his men captured the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco while dressed as Franciscan monks – a monaco in Italian, although this is a coincidence as the area was already known by this name. Francesco, however, was evicted only a few years afterwards by the Genovese forces, and the struggle over "the Rock" continued for another century. The Grimaldi family was Genoese and the struggle was something of a family feud. However, the Genoese became engaged in other conflicts, and in the late 1300s Genoa became involved in a conflict with the Crown of Aragon over Corsica. The Crown of Aragon eventually became a part of Spain through marriage (see modern day Catalonia) and other parts drifted into various pieces of other kingdoms and nations.

Monaco: 1400–1800

Monaco in 1494.

In 1419, the Grimaldi family purchased Monaco from the Crown of Aragon and became the official and undisputed rulers of "the Rock of Monaco". In 1612 Honoré II began to style himself "Prince" of Monaco. In the 1630s, he sought French protection against the Spanish forces and, in 1642, was received at the court of Louis XIII "Duc et Pair Etranger". The princes of Monaco thus became vassals of the French kings while at the same time remaining sovereign princes. Though successive princes and their families spent most of their lives in Paris, and intermarried with French and Italian nobilities, the House of Grimaldi is Italian. The principality continued its existence as a protectorate of France until the French Revolution.

In 1793, Revolutionary forces captured Monaco and it remained under direct French control until 1814, when the Grimaldi family returned to the throne.

Monaco: 19th century

French annexion in 1860.

Between 1793 and 1814 Monaco was occupied by the French (in this period much of Europe had been overrun by the French under command of Napoleon). The principality was reestablished in 1814 only to be designated a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Monaco remained in this position until 1860 when, by the Treaty of Turin, the Sardinian forces pulled out of the principality and the surrounding county of Nice (as well as Savoy) was ceded to France. Monaco became a French protectorate once again. Before this time there was unrest in Menton and Roquebrune, where the townspeople had become weary of heavy taxation by the Grimaldi family. They declared their independence, hoping for annexation by Sardinia. France protested. The unrest continued until Charles III gave up his claim to the two mainland towns (some 95% of the principality at the time) that had been ruled by the Grimaldi family for over 500 years. These were ceded to France in return for 4,100,000 francs. The transfer and Monaco's sovereignty were recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. In 1869, the principality stopped collecting income tax from its residents-an indulgence the Grimaldi family could afford to entertain thanks solely to the extraordinary success of the casino. This made Monaco not only a playground for the rich, but a favored place for them to live.

Monaco: 20th century

Mayor of Monaco announcing concessions ending absolute monarchy of Prince Albert I in 1910

Until the Monegasque Revolution of 1910 forced the adoption of the 1911 constitution, the princes of Monaco were absolute rulers. The new constitution, however, barely reduced the autocratic rule of the Grimaldi family and Prince Albert I soon suspended it during the First World War.

In July 1918, the Franco-Monegasque Treaty was signed, providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, endorsed in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque international policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests, and resolved the Monaco Succession Crisis.

Grace Kelly brought attention to Monaco through her marriage to Prince Rainier III.

In 1943, the Italian Army invaded and occupied Monaco, forming a fascist administration. Shortly thereafter, following the collapse of Mussolini, the German Wehrmacht occupied Monaco and the Nazi deportation of the Jewish population began. René Blum, the prominent French Jew who founded the Ballet de l'Opera in Monte Carlo, was arrested in his Paris home and held in the Drancy deportation camp outside the French capital before being transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was later killed. Blum's colleague Raoul Gunsbourg, the director of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, helped by the French Resistance, escaped arrest and fled to Switzerland. In August 1944, the Germans executed René Borghini, Joseph-Henri Lajoux and Esther Poggio, who were Resistance leaders.

Rainier III, who ruled until 2005, succeeded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. On 19 April 1956, Prince Rainier married the American actress Grace Kelly; the event was widely televised and covered in the popular press, focusing the world's attention on the tiny principality.

A 1962 amendment to the constitution abolished capital punishment, provided for women's suffrage, and established a Supreme Court of Monaco to guarantee fundamental liberties.

In 1963, a crisis developed when Charles de Gaulle blockaded Monaco, angered by its status as a tax haven for wealthy French. The 2014 film Grace of Monaco is loosely based on this crisis.

In 1993, the Principality of Monaco became a member of the United Nations, with full voting rights.

Monaco: 21st century

Buildings in Monaco (2008)

In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco specified that, should there be no heirs to carry on the Grimaldi dynasty, the principality would still remain an independent nation rather than revert to France. Monaco's military defence, however, is still the responsibility of France.

On 31 March 2005, Rainier III, who was too ill to exercise his duties, relinquished them to his only son and heir, Albert. He died six days later, after a reign of 56 years, with his son succeeding him as Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

Following a period of official mourning, Prince Albert II formally assumed the princely crown on 12 July 2005, in a celebration that began with a solemn Mass at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, where his father had been buried three months earlier. His accession to the Monégasque throne was a two-step event with a further ceremony, drawing heads of state for an elaborate reception, held on 18 November 2005, at the historic Prince's Palace in Monaco-Ville.

On 27 August 2015, Albert II apologised for Monaco's role during World War II in facilitating the deportation of a total of 90 Jews and resistance fighters, of whom only nine survived. "We committed the irreparable in handing over to the neighbouring authorities women, men and a child who had taken refuge with us to escape the persecutions they had suffered in France," Albert said at a ceremony in which a monument to the victims was unveiled at the Monaco cemetery. "In distress, they came specifically to take shelter with us, thinking they would find neutrality."

In 2015, Monaco unanimously approved a modest land reclamation expansion intended primarily for some desperately needed housing and a small green/park area. Monaco had previously considered an expansion in 2008, but called it off. The plan is for about six hectares of apartment buildings, parks, shops and offices for about 1 billion euros for the land. The development will be adjacent to the Larvotto district and also will include a small marina. There were four main proposals, and the final mix of use will be finalised as the development progresses. The name for the new district is Anse du Portier.

Panoramic view of Monaco from the Tête de Chien in 2017

Monaco: Government

Albert II, Prince of Monaco

Monaco has been governed under a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Sovereign Prince of Monaco as head of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State as the head of government, who presides over a five-member Council of Government. Until 2002, the Minister of State was a French citizen appointed by the prince from among candidates proposed by the French government; since a constitutional amendment in 2002, the Minister of State can be French or Monegasque. However, Prince Albert II appointed, on 3 March 2010, the Frenchman Michel Roger as Minister of State.

Under the 1962 constitution, the prince shares his veto power with the unicameral National Council. The 24 members of the National Council are elected for five-year terms; 16 are chosen through a majority electoral system and 8 by proportional representation. All legislation requires the approval of the National Council, which is currently dominated by the conservative Rally and Issues for Monaco (REM) party which holds twenty seats. Union Monégasque holds three seats while Renaissance holds one seat. The principality's city affairs are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of fourteen elected members and is presided over by a mayor. Unlike the National Council, councillors are elected for four-year terms, and are strictly non-partisan, however, oppositions inside the council frequently form.

Monaco: Administrative divisions

In the center is La Condamine. At right with the smaller harbor is Fontvieille, with "The Rock" (the old town, fortress, and Palace) jutting out between the two harbors. At left are the high-rise buildings is La Rousse/Saint Roman.
Wards of Monaco

Monaco is the second smallest country by area in the world; only Vatican City is smaller. Monaco is also the world's second smallest monarchy, and is the most densely populated country in the world. The state consists of only one municipality (commune). There is no geographical distinction between the State and City of Monaco, although responsibilities of the government (state-level) and of the municipality (city-level) are different. According to the constitution of 1911, the principality was subdivided into three municipalities:

  • Monaco-Ville, the old city on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean, known as the Rock of Monaco, or simply "The Rock";
  • Monte Carlo, the principal residential and resort area with the Monte Carlo Casino in the east and northeast;
  • La Condamine, the southwestern section including the port area, Port Hercules.

The municipalities were merged into one in 1917, after accusations that the government was acting according to the motto "divide and conquer," and they were accorded the status of Wards or Quartiers thereafter.

  • Fontvieille was added as a fourth ward, a newly constructed area claimed from the sea in the 1970s;
  • Moneghetti became the fifth ward, created from part of La Condamine;
  • Larvotto became the sixth ward, created from part of Monte Carlo;
  • La Rousse/Saint Roman (including Le Ténao) became the seventh ward, also created from part of Monte Carlo.

Subsequently, three additional wards were created:

  • Saint Michel, created from part of Monte Carlo;
  • La Colle, created from part of La Condamine;
  • Les Révoires, also created from part of La Condamine.

An additional ward was planned by new land reclamation to be settled beginning in 2014 but Prince Albert II announced in his 2009 New Year Speech that he had ended plans due to the current economic climate. However, Prince Albert II in mid-2010 firmly restarted the program. In 2015, a new development called Anse du Portier was announced.

Monaco: Traditional quarters and modern geographic areas

The four traditional Quartiers of Monaco are: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo and Fontvieille. However, the suburb of Moneghetti, the high-level part of La Condamine, is generally seen today as an effective fifth Quartier of the Monaco, having a very distinct atmosphere and topography when compared with low-level La Condamine.

Monaco: Wards

Currently Monaco is subdivided into ten wards, with their official numbers; either Fontvieille II or Le Portier, would become the effective eleventh ward, if built:

Ward Area
(km²)
Population
(Census
of 2008)
Density
(km²)
City
Blocks
(îlots)
Remarks
Former municipality of Monaco
Monaco-Ville 0.19 1,034 5,442 19 Old City
Former municipality of Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo/Spélugues (Bd. Des Moulins-Av. de la Madone) 0.30 3,834 12,780 20 Casino and resort area
La Rousse/Saint Roman (Annonciade-Château Périgord) 0.13 3,223 24,792 17 Northeast area, includes Le Ténao
Larvotto/Bas Moulins (Larvotto-Bd Psse Grace) 0.34 5,443 16,009 17 Eastern beach area
Saint Michel (Psse Charlotte-Park Palace) 0.16 3,907 24,419 24 Central residential area
Former municipality of La Condamine
La Condamine 0.28 3,947 14,096 28 Northwest port area
La Colle (Plati-Pasteur-Bd Charles III) 0.11 2,829 25,718 15 On the western border with Cap d'Ail
Les Révoires (Hector Otto-Honoré Labande) 0.09 2,545 28,278 11 Contains the Jardin Exotique de Monaco
Moneghetti/ Bd de Belgique (Bd Rainier III-Bd de Belgique) 0.10 3,003 30,030 17 Central-north residential area
New land reclaimed from the sea
Fontvieille 0.35 3,901 11,146 10 Started 1981
Monaco 2.05 33,666 16,422 178
Not included in the total, as it is only proposed

Note: for statistical purposes, the Wards of Monaco are further subdivided into 178 city blocks (îlots), which are comparable to the census blocks in the United States.

  • Other possible expansions are Le Portier, a project relaunched in 2012
  • Another possibility was Fontvieille II Development to commence in 2013
Land reclamation in Monaco since 1861

Monaco: Security

Palace guard in Monaco, just before the changing of the guard

The wider defence of the nation is provided by France. Monaco has no navy or air force, but on both a per-capita and per-area basis, Monaco has one of the largest police forces (515 police officers for about 36,000 people) and police presences in the world. Its police includes a special unit which operates patrol and surveillance boats.

There is also a small military force. This consists of a bodyguard unit for the Prince and the palace in Monaco-Ville called the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (Prince's Company of Carabiniers), which is equipped with weapons such as M16A2 rifles and 9 mm pistols (Glock 17), and which together with the militarized, armed fire and civil defence Corps (Sapeurs-Pompiers) forms Monaco's total public forces. The Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince was created by Prince Honoré IV in 1817 for the protection of the Principality and the Princely family. The company numbers exactly 116 officers and men; while the NCOs and soldiers are local, the officers have generally served in the French Army. In addition to their guard duties as described, the Carabiniers patrol the Principality's beaches and coastal waters.

Monaco: Geography

Satellite view of Monaco, with the Monégasque-French border shown in yellow

Monaco is a sovereign city state, with 5 Quartiers and 10 Wards, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered by France's Alpes-Maritimes département on three sides, with one side bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Its center is about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Italy and only 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of Nice, France. It has an area of 2.02 km (0.78 sq mi) or 202 hectares (500 acres) and a population of 38,400, making Monaco the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. The country has a land border of only 5.47 km (3.40 mi), a coastline of 3.83 km (2.38 mi), a maritime claim that extends 22.2 kilometres (13.8 mi), and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 m (5,577 and 1,145 ft).

The highest point in the country is at the access to the Patio Palace residential building (Jardin Exotique district) from the D6007 (Moyenne Corniche street) at 164.4 metres (539 feet) above sea level. The lowest point in the country is the Mediterranean Sea. Saint-Jean is the longest flowing body of water, around 0.19 km (0.12 miles) in length, and Fontvieille is the largest lake, approximately 0.5 ha (1.24 acres) in size. Monaco's most populated Quartier is Monte Carlo, and the most populated Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. After a recent expansion of Port Hercules, Monaco's total area grew to 2.02 km (0.78 sq mi) or 202 hectares (500 acres); consequently, new plans have been approved to extend the district of Fontvieille by 0.08 km (0.031 sq mi) or 8 hectares (20 acres), with land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Sea. Current land reclamation projects include extending the district of Fontvieille. There are two ports in Monaco, Hercules and Port Fontvieille. Monaco's only natural resource is fishing; with almost the entire country being an urban area, Monaco lacks any sort of commercial agriculture industry. There is a neighboring French port called Cap d'Ail that is near Monaco.

Panoramic view of La Condamine, Monaco

Monaco: Architecture

Monaco exhibits a wide range of architecture, but the principality's signature style, particularly in Monte-Carlo, is that of the Belle Epoque. It finds its most florid expression in the 1878-9 Casino and Grand Concert Hall created by Charles Garnier and Jules Dutrou. Decorative elements including turrets, balconies, pinnacles, multi-coloured ceramics and caryatids and borrowed and blended to create a picturesque fantasy of pleasure and luxury, and an alluring expression of how Monaco sought, and still seeks, to portray itself. This capriccio of French, Italian and Spanish elements was incorporated into hacienda villas and apartments. Following major development in the 1970s, Prince Rainier III banned high rise development in the principality. However his successor, Prince Albert II, overturned this Sovereign Order. In recent years the accelerating demolition of Monaco's architectural heritage, including its single-family villas, has created dismay. The principality currently has no heritage protection legislation.

Monaco: Climate

Monaco has a Hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), which is influenced by the oceanic climate and the humid subtropical climate. As a result, it has warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Cool and rainy interludes can interrupt the dry summer season, the average length of which is also shorter. Summer afternoons are infrequently hot (indeed, temperatures greater than 30 °C or 86 °F are rare) as the atmosphere is temperate because of constant sea breezes. On the other hand, the nights are very mild, due to the fairly high temperature of the sea in summer. Generally, temperatures do not drop below 20 °C (68 °F) in this season. In the winter, frosts and snowfalls are extremely rare and generally occur once or twice every ten years.

Climate data for Monaco
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.3
(54.1)
12.5
(54.5)
14.0
(57.2)
16.1
(61)
19.4
(66.9)
23.0
(73.4)
25.8
(78.4)
25.9
(78.6)
23.8
(74.8)
19.9
(67.8)
16.1
(61)
13.4
(56.1)
18.5
(65.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.2
(50.4)
10.4
(50.7)
11.8
(53.2)
13.9
(57)
17.1
(62.8)
20.8
(69.4)
23.5
(74.3)
23.7
(74.7)
21.6
(70.9)
17.8
(64)
14.0
(57.2)
11.4
(52.5)
16.4
(61.5)
Average low °C (°F) 8.1
(46.6)
8.2
(46.8)
9.6
(49.3)
11.6
(52.9)
14.8
(58.6)
18.5
(65.3)
21.2
(70.2)
21.5
(70.7)
19.3
(66.7)
15.6
(60.1)
11.9
(53.4)
9.3
(48.7)
14.1
(57.4)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 82.7
(3.256)
76.4
(3.008)
70.5
(2.776)
62.2
(2.449)
48.6
(1.913)
36.9
(1.453)
15.6
(0.614)
31.3
(1.232)
54.4
(2.142)
108.2
(4.26)
104.2
(4.102)
77.5
(3.051)
768.5
(30.256)
Average precipitation days 6.8 6.4 6.1 6.3 5.2 4.1 1.9 3.1 4.0 5.8 7.0 6.0 62.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 148.8 152.6 201.5 228.0 269.7 297.0 341.0 306.9 240.0 204.6 156.0 142.6 2,668.7
Source: Monaco website
Climate data for Monaco
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average sea temperature °C (°F) 13.4
(56.2)
13.0
(55.5)
13.4
(56.1)
14.6
(58.4)
18.0
(64.3)
21.8
(71.3)
23.1
(73.6)
23.6
(74.4)
22.2
(71.9)
19.6
(67.2)
17.4
(63.3)
14.9
(58.9)
17.9
(64.3)
Source: Weather Atlas

Monaco: Economy

Fontvieille and its new harbour

Monaco has the world's second highest GDP nominal per capita at US$153,177, GDP PPP per capita at $132,571 and GNI per capita at $183,150. It also has an unemployment rate of 2%, with over 48,000 workers who commute from France and Italy each day. According to the CIA World Factbook, Monaco has the world's lowest poverty rate and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world. For the fourth year in a row, Monaco in 2012 had the world's most expensive real estate market, at $58,300 per square metre.

One of Monaco's main sources of income is tourism. Each year many foreigners are attracted to its casino (where citizens are denied entry) and pleasant climate. It has also become a major banking center, holding over €100 billion worth of funds. The principality has successfully sought to diversify its economic base into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries, such as cosmetics and biothermics.

The state retains monopolies in numerous sectors, including tobacco and the postal service. The telephone network (Monaco Telecom) used to be fully owned by the state; it now owns only 45%, while the remaining 55% is owned by both Cable & Wireless Communications (49%) and Compagnie Monégasque de Banque (6%). It is still, however, a monopoly. Living standards are high, roughly comparable to those in prosperous French metropolitan areas.

Monaco is not a member of the European Union. However, it is very closely linked via a customs union with France and, as such, its currency is the same as that of France, the euro. Before 2002, Monaco minted its own coins, the Monegasque franc. Monaco has acquired the right to mint euro coins with Monegasque designs on its national side.

Monaco: Gambling industry

Monte Carlo Casino

The plan for casino gambling was drafted during the reign of Florestan I in 1846. Under Louis-Philippe's petite-bourgeois regime, however, a dignitary such as the Prince of Monaco was not allowed to operate a gambling house. All this changed in the dissolute Second French Empire under Napoleon III. The House of Grimaldi was in dire need of money. The towns of Menton and Roquebrune, which had been the main sources of income for the Grimaldi family for centuries, were now accustomed to a much improved standard of living and lenient taxation thanks to Sardinian intervention and clamored for financial and political concession, even for separation. The Grimaldi family hoped the newly legal industry would help alleviate the difficulties they faced, above all the crushing debt the family had incurred, but Monaco's first casino would not be ready to operate until after Charles III assumed the throne in 1856.

The grantee of the princely concession (licence) was unable to attract enough business to sustain the operation and, after relocating the casino several times, sold the concession to French casino magnates François and Louis Blanc for 1.7 million francs. The Blancs had already set up a highly successful casino (in fact the largest in Europe) in Bad-Homburg in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Homburg, a small German principality comparable to Monaco, and quickly petitioned Charles III to rename a depressed seaside area known as "Les Spelegures (Den of Thieves)" to "Monte Carlo (Mount Charles)." They then constructed their casino in the newly dubbed "Monte Carlo" and cleared out the area's less-than-savory elements to make the neighborhood surrounding the establishment more conducive to tourism.

The Blancs opened Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo in 1858 and the casino benefited from the tourist traffic the newly built French railway system created. Due to the combination of the casino and the railroads, Monaco finally recovered from the previous half-century of economic slump and the principality's success attracted other businesses. In the years following the casino's opening, Monaco founded its Oceanographic Museum and the Monte Carlo Opera House, 46 hotels were built and the number of jewelers operating in Monaco increased by nearly five-fold. By 1869, the casino was making such a vast sum of money that the principality could afford to end tax collection from the Monegasques - a master stroke that was to attract affluent residents from all over Europe.

Today, Société des bains de mer de Monaco, which owns Le Grand Casino, still operates in the original building that the Blancs constructed and has since been joined by several other casinos, including the Le Casino Café de Paris, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club & Casino and the Sun Casino. The most recent addition in Monte Carlo is the Monte Carlo Bay Casino, which sits on 4 hectares of the Mediterranean Sea and, among other things, offers 145 slot machines, all equipped with "ticket-in, ticket-out" (TITO); it is the first Mediterranean casino to use this technology.

Monaco: Taxes

Residential area in Monaco

People use Monaco as a "tax haven" from their own country's taxes because Monaco as an independent country is not obligated to pay taxes to other countries. Monaco levies no income tax on individuals subject to some conditions. The absence of a personal income tax in the principality has attracted to it a considerable number of wealthy "tax refugee" residents from European countries who derive the majority of their income from activity outside Monaco; celebrities such as Formula One drivers attract most of the attention, but the vast majority of them are lesser-known business people. However, due to a bilateral treaty with France, French citizens are still required to pay applicable income and wealth taxes to the French state even if they are resident in Monaco.

In 1998 the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), issued a first report on the consequences of the tax havens' financial systems. Monaco did not appear in the list of these territories until 2004, when OECD became indignant regarding the Monegasque situation and denounced it in its last report, as well as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Liberia and the Marshall Islands, underlining its lack of co-operation regarding financial information disclosure and availability.

In 2000, a report by the French parliamentarians, Arnaud Montebourg and Vincent Peillon, alleged that Monaco had relaxed policies with respect to money laundering, including within its famed casino, and that the government of Monaco had been placing political pressure on the judiciary, so that alleged crimes were not being properly investigated.

In 2000, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) stated: "The anti-money laundering system in Monaco is comprehensive. However, difficulties have been encountered with Monaco by countries in international investigations on serious crimes that appear to be linked also with tax matters. In addition, the FIU of Monaco (SICCFIN) suffers a great lack of adequate resources. The authorities of Monaco have stated that they will provide additional resources to SICCFIN." The Principality is no longer blamed in the 2005 FATF report, as well as all other territories. However, since 2003, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has identified Monaco, along with 36 other territories, as a tax haven.

The Council of Europe also decided to issue reports naming tax havens. Twenty-two territories, including Monaco, were thus evaluated between 1998 and 2000 on a first round. Monaco was the only territory that refused to perform the second round, between 2001 and 2003, whereas the 21 other territories had planned implementing the third and final round, planned between 2005 and 2007.

Monaco has high social insurance taxes payable by both employers and employees. The employers' contributions are between 28%–40% (averaging 35%) of gross salary including benefits, and employees pay a further 10%–14% (averaging 13%).

Monaco: Numismatics

1978 Monégasque franc coin with an effigy of Rainier III

Of interest to numismatists, in Monaco the euro was introduced in 2002, having been preceded by the Monégasque franc. In preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 2001. Like Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, and Spain, Monaco decided to put the minting date on its coins. This is why the first euro coins from Monaco have the year 2001 on them, instead of 2002, like the other countries of the Eurozone that decided to put the year of first circulation (2002) on their coins. Three different designs were selected for the Monégasque coins. However, in 2006, the design was changed after the death of ruling Prince Rainier to have the effigy of Prince Albert.

Monaco also has a rich and valuable collection of collectors' coins, with face value ranging from €5 to €100. These coins are a legacy of an old national practice of minting silver and gold commemorative coins. Unlike normal issues, these coins are not legal tender in all the Eurozone. The same practice concerning commemorative coins is exercised by all eurozone countries.

Monaco: Population

Monaco: Demographics

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 / 43.733; 7.417

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