Monaco cities, attractions and photos
The tiny principality of Monaco
is situated in South-western Europe and lies along the Mediterranean coast, having a common land border only with France
, while the Italian border is some 16km away. With just 1.5 sq. km. of total land area, it is the world’s second smallest independent state after the Vatican
. And yet, it boasts a population of about 33,000, making it the most densely populated sovereign state in the world. Perhaps, the best time to visit Monaco are the months of April–May and September–October, when the weather will be warm and the hordes of tourists will be avoided.
Monaco is a constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. The state’s economy relies almost entirely on services: finance, banking, and above all tourism. Its great popularity as a modern tourist and recreational center is due not only to its prime location and mild climate but also to its gambling facilities, sporting events and cultural activities.
Monaco is known also for its tax haven status. The country is not part of the EU, but there are no border formalities while crossing to and from France. French is the official language, including Monegasque, the national language of the Monegasque people. English and Italian are also widely spoken.
Monaco comprises four districts. The old town of Monaco-Ville
, the capital of Monaco, is set upon a rocky promontory, usually referred to simply as “the Rock”
. This is the site of the royal palace or Place du Palais
, where Monaco’s royal family, the Grimaldis, dwell in. Monaco-Ville also boasts a neo-Romanesque cathedral. Not far from the cathedral, visitors can find the Oceanographic Museum: formerly managed by the underwater explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau. The museum houses an aquarium, and Cousteau’s diving equipment is also on display. A small tourist train called the “Azur Express”, just outside the museum, offers a ride to Monte Carlo
and to its most famous destination: the glamorous Monte Carlo Casino
or Place du Casino. Interesting fact is that the local citizens are not admitted to gamble there.
Just next to the Casino is the historic Café de Paris – one of the most popular restaurants in Monaco, tempting with delicious meals of the finest French cuisine.
is the area around the Port, where banks, open-air markets, and the train station are located.
is the newest of the districts, set aside for new light industrial and residential development.
Monaco is also associated with one of the most important and prestigious Formula One races in the world, The Monaco Grand Prix, and the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters tennis tournament.
Monte Carlo is the most densely populated residential area in Monaco.