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Monaco Information


The principality of Monaco and city of Monte Carlo lie on the southern Mediterranean Sea coast of France, near the border with Italy, in Southern Europe. It is the second smallest independent state in the world (after the Vatican) and is almost entirely urban. With no natural resources to exploit other than its location and climate, the principality has become a resort for tourists and a tax haven for businesses. Monaco is six times the size of the Vatican.

Though it has lost the title of world's most densely populated city to Macau, it remains by far the world's most densely populated independent country with second place Singapore lagging some 10,000 people per square kilometre behind.

Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with a railroad linkup to France and the opening of a casino. Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have made Monaco world famous as a tourist and recreation center.

Things To Do


    *  If your wallet permits it, try your luck in the Grand Casino and gamble alongside the world's richest and often most famous. You'll need your passport to enter, and the fees for entry range enormously depending on what room you are going to - often from 30€ right up into the hundreds The dress code inside is extremely strict - men are required to wear coats and ties, and casual or 'tennis' shoes are forbidden. The gaming rooms themselves are spectacular, with stained glass, paintings, and sculptures everywhere. There are two other more Americanized casinos in Monte Carlo. Neither of these has an admission fee, and the dress code is more casual.

    * Formula One Grand Prix. It is possible to walk round the route of the circuit when the Grand Prix is not being held. Tourist office maps have the route clearly marked on their maps, although aficianados will not need this! A good place to start is at Place Ste. Dévote. The route will require you to cross the road at several occasions, so please be wary of traffic (it is especially difficult to cross at Portier and Rascasse, and there is no path at all on the start/finish straight). Driving the circuit is sometimes possible although you may find your route blocked just after the tunnel. There is a route you can take that doesn't deviate too much, however. Always remember to drive according to the speed limits and lines on the road! It is often possible to find an exclusive company at the marina-side that will let you take a trip round the famous steep climbs and hairpin corners of the Monaco course in a performance vehicle - often a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, however, this is costly.

    * The opera house also known as the Salle Garnier [9] was built by the famous architect Charles Garnier. The auditorium of the opera house is decorated in red and gold and has frescoes and sculptures all around the auditorium. Looking up to the ceiling of the auditorium, the visitor will be blown away by the superb paintings. The opera house is flamboyant but at the same time very beautiful. There have been some of the most superior international performances of ballet, opera and concerts held in the opera house for more than a century; consider taking in a show during your visit... but expect to pay top dollar!

Shopping


Shopping in Monte Carlo is usually quite exclusive and is certainly no place for a budget holiday. There are plenty of places to melt the credit card alongside Europe's high rollers. The chic clothes shops are in the Golden Circle, framed by Avenue Monte Carlo, Avenue des Beaux-Arts and Allees Lumieres, where Hermes, Christian Dior, Gucci and Prada all have a presence. The area on and around Place du Casino is home to high-end jewellers such as Bulgari, Cartier and Chopard. You will find, however. that most tourists will simply enjoy wandering the area and window shopping, even if you don't buy anything. The normal shopping hours are from 9:00 to noon and 3:00 to 7:00 pm.

For a more cultured take on shopping in Monte Carlo, try the Condamine Market. The market, which can be found in the Place d'Armes, has been in existence since 1880 and is lively and attractive - many hours can be spent simply wandering around, bargaining for souvenirs from the many tiny shops, boutiques and friendly locals. If, however, you're shopping tastes are more modern, just a short walk along the esplanade is the rue Princess Caroline pedestrian mall.

The Fontvieille Shopping Centre is also a more "normal" shopping experience with 36 shops selling electronic goods, CDs, furniture, and clothes as well as a Carrefour supermarket. The tourist office also issue a useful free shopping guide to the city.

Driving in Monaco


Monaco is famously well-heeled, and it contains perhaps the world's greatest concentration of luxury and sports cars on its roads. If you would like to join them, check out the offerings from our luxury car suppliers above.