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The tiny (under 2 square kilometres) wealthy city-state of Monaco is located along the French Riviera and is considered a playground for the international jet-set crowd. There are multitudes of luxury condos, yachts, and celebrity spotting is one of the pastimes that you can partake in. The shopping, clubs, and food are all outstanding.  Despite its small size, Monaco packs in an impressive density of sights and attractions.

The quarter of Monte-Carlo is potentially the most famous. Many world-class events take place here (tennis, racing, boxing, soccer, fashion, etc…), but the Monte-Carlo Casino may be the most well known as an iconic gambling spot.
Monaco-Ville contains the Palace with its daily changing of the Royal Guard and some excellent views of Italy and France. During the summer, the state apartments are also open to visitors. There is also an impressive Oceanographic Museum (formerly directed by Jacques Cousteau) that contains a shark aquarium and the Monaco Cathedral which contains the tomb of Princess Grace (Kelly)

To escape from the bustle head to one of the gardens. These include the peaceful Japanese Garden, the Princess Grace rose garden and the Exotic Garden.
Travel Tips from people who've been to Monaco
Monaco is a small country in Europe, and the distinction between the State and City of Monaco is purely theoretical. The state in fact consists of only one municipality (commune). According to the constitution of 1911, the principality was subdivided into three municipalities:

    * Monaco (Monaco-Ville), the old city on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean, known as the Rock of Monaco, or simply le Rocher (the Rock), where the palace is located
    * Monte Carlo, the principal residential and resort area with the Monte Carlo Casino in the east and northeast
    * La Condamine, the northwest section including the port area.

The three municipalities were merged into one in 1954 (after accusations that the government was acting according to the motto "divide and conquer"), and they had the status of wards (quartiers) thereafter.

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

Subsequently, three additional wards were created:

    * Saint Michel, from a part of Monte Carlo
    * La Colle, from a part of La Condamine
    * Les Révoires, from a part of La Condamine

An additional ward is planned by new land reclamation, to be settled from 2014:

    * Le Portier
Monaco first gained its name from the nearby Phocaean Greek colony, in the sixth century, which referred to the Ligurians as Monoikos, from the Greek Μόνοικος "single house", from μόνος "alone, single" + οίκος "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 by a man, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the "House" of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos.[4]

Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was re-founded in 1228 as a colony of Genoa. Monaco has been ruled by the House of Grimaldi since 1297, when Francesco Grimaldi ("Malizia", Italian for "The Malicious") and his men captured the fortress protecting the famous Rock of Monaco while he was dressed as a Franciscan monk - a monaco in Italian, although this is a coincidence as the area was already known by this name.
A statue of François Grimaldi says "il Malizia" (the Shrewd) guised as a monk with a sword under his frock before the Prince's Palace of Monaco.
A statue of François Grimaldi says "il Malizia" (the Shrewd) guised as a monk with a sword under his frock before the Prince's Palace of Monaco.

In 1793, French Revolutionary forces captured Monaco, and it remained under French control until 1814. The principality was re-established that year, 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, Sardinia ceded to France the surrounding county of Nice (as well as Savoy). During this time there was unrest in the towns of Menton and Roquebrune, which declared independence, hoping for annexation by Sardinia. The unrest continued until the ruling prince gave up his claim to the two towns (some 95% of the country), and they were ceded to France in return for four million francs. This transfer and Monaco's sovereignty was recognised by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861.

Until the adoption of the 1911 constitution, the princes of Monaco were absolute rulers. In July 1918, a treaty was signed providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, part of the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque international policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests.

In 1943, the Italian army invaded and occupied Monaco, setting up a Fascist administration. Shortly thereafter, following Mussolini's collapse in Italy, the Nazi German Wehrmacht occupied Monaco and began the deportation of the Jewish population. Among them was René Blum (Paris, 13 March 1878 - Auschwitz, 30 April 1943), who founded the Ballet de l'Opera in Monte Carlo. He was held in the Drancy deportation camp outside Paris, France from whence he was then shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp where he died.
Rainier III, Prince of Monaco until 2005 (31 May 1923(1923-05-31) to 6 April 2005)
Rainier III, Prince of Monaco until 2005
(31 May 1923(1923-05-31) to 6 April 2005)

Rainier III until 2005 acceded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. A new constitution, proclaimed in 1962, abolished capital punishment, provided for women's suffrage, and established a Supreme Court of Monaco to guarantee fundamental liberties. In 1993, the Principality of Monaco became a member of the United Nations, with full voting rights.

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, Prince Rainier III, too ill to exercise his duties, relinquished them onto his only son and heir, Prince Albert Alexandre Louis. Prince Rainier died on 6 April 2005, after a reign of 56 years, and his son succeeded 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 Monaco cathedral, where his father had been buried three months earlier. His accession to the Monegasque throne was a two-step event, with a further ceremony, drawing heads of state for an elaborate levée, held on 19 November 2005 at the historic palace in Monaco-Ville. Albert II is also the son of the late Princess Grace, previously known as the actress, Grace Kelly.

[edit] Law and government
View of the Port of Hercules, La Condamine, Monaco
View of the Port of Hercules, La Condamine, Monaco

Monaco has been governed as a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Sovereign Prince of Monaco as head of state. The executive branch consists of a Minister of State (the head of government), who presides over a four-member Council of Government (the Cabinet). Until 2002, the Minister of State was a French citizen appointed by the prince from among candidates proposed by the French government; since the constitution amendment in 2002, the Minister of State can be French or Monegasque. Under the 1962 constitution, the prince shares his power with the unicameral National Council (parliament). The twenty-four members of this legislative body are elected from lists by universal suffrage for five-year terms. The principality's local affairs are directed by the Communal Council, which consists of fifteen elected members and is presided over by the mayor.

[edit] Economy
Fontvieille and its new harbour
Fontvieille and its new harbour

One of Monaco's main sources of income is tourism; each year many are attracted to its casino and pleasant climate. In 2001, a major new construction project extended the pier used by cruise ships in the main harbour. The principality has successfully sought to diversify 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 owned by the state; it now owns 45%, while the remaining 55% is owned by Cable and Wireless (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 but is very closely linked to it 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 franc coins, the Monegasque franc. Monaco has acquired the right to mint euro coins with Monegasque designs on their national side.

[edit] Tax haven

Monaco levies no income tax on individuals. 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 less well-known business people.
Monte Carlo Casino
Monte Carlo Casino

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

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued in 1998 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[5] and denounced it in its last report[6] (as well as Andorra, the Principality of Liechtenstein, Liberia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands) underlining its lack of co-operation as regards financial information disclosure and availability.

In 2000, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) underlined that Monaco suffers a great lack of adequate resources.[7] The Principality is no longer blamed in the FATF 2005 report,[8] as well as all other territories in 2006.[9]

Since 2003, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has identified Monaco, along with 36 other territories, as a tax haven.[10]

The Council of Europe also decided to issue reports naming tax havens. Twenty-two territories, Monaco included, were thus evaluated between 1998 and 2000 on a first round. Monaco is the only territory that refuses to perform the second round, initially forecast between 2001 and 2003, whereas the 21 other territories are implementing the third and last round, planned between 2005 and 2007.[11]
Sport and entertainment

[edit] Football

Football in Monaco is overwhelmingly dominated by AS Monaco FC, a club which plays in the French League, which they have won on seven occasions. The club plays their games at the Stade Louis II.

There is also a Monaco national football team who play matches against other small nations, islands and dependencies. They are currently seeking membership of FIFA which would allow them to attempt to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

Every year Monaco plays host to the UEFA Super Cup and the draw for the UEFA Champions League.

[edit] Monaco Grand Prix
Formation lap for the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.
Formation lap for the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix.

Since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held annually in the streets of Monaco. It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world, along with the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The erecting of the circuit takes six weeks to complete, and the removal after the race another three weeks. The circuit has many elevation changes and tight corners, along with a tunnel. This together with being incredibly narrow make it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track. Only two drivers have ever crashed into the harbour, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in the 1955 Grand Prix (Ascari would lose his life four days later at Monza). The other was Paul Hawkins during the 1965 Grand Prix.

[edit] Monte Carlo Rally

The Monte Carlo Rally has been held since 1911, having originally been held at the behest of Albert I, Prince of Monaco, and is, like the principality's Grand Prix, organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco. It has long been considered to be one of the toughest and most prestigious events in rallying and since 1973 has been the opening round of the World Rally Championship.

[edit] Rugby

Monaco national rugby team currently is at 78 in International Rugby Board ranking.

[edit] Other Sports

The Monte Carlo Masters is currently held annually in neighbouring Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, as a professional tournament for men as part of tennis' ATP Masters Series. The tournament has been held since 1897. Golf's Monte Carlo Open was also held at the Monte Carlo Golf Club at Mont Agel in France between 1984 and 1992. Monaco has also competed in the Olympics, although, as of 2008, no athlete from Monaco has ever won an Olympic medal.

[edit] Nightlife

Monaco has enjoyed a strong reputation for providing a wide variety of evening activities for all ages, ranging from its famous casino to one of the most extravagant and expensive nightclubs in the World, Jimmy'z situated on Avenue Princesse Grace. Recently, a number of competitors have sprung up, including Karement (forming a part of the Grimaldi Forum).

[edit] Education

[edit] Primary and secondary schools

Monaco has ten state-operated schools, including seven nursery and primary schools, one secondary school (Collège Charles III), one lycée that provides general and technological training (Lycée Albert 1er), and one lycée that provides vocational and hotel training.[12] There are also two grant-aided denominational private schools (including Institution François d'Assise Nicolas Barré and Ecole des Sœurs Dominicaines) and one international school (International School of Monaco).

[edit] Colleges and universities

    * International University of Monaco

[edit] Demographics

    Main article: Demographics of Monaco

Monaco's population is unusual in that the native Monegasques are a minority in their own country. The largest proportion of residents are French nationals (47%), followed by Monegasque (16%), and Italians (16%). The remaining 21% belong to one of the other 125 nationalities that make up Monaco's international population.

[edit] Languages

French is the sole official language of Monaco. Other languages spoken in the principality include Italian, English, and the two indigenous languages, Monégasque (a local variety of Ligurian) and Occitan. About 99 percent of the population is literate. The Monégasque language is expected to experience a revival in the near future following a recent decision to teach it to all children in Monaco's schools.

[edit] Religion
Cathedral of Monaco
Cathedral of Monaco

[edit] Christian - Roman Catholic

The official religion is Roman Catholicism, with freedom of other religions guaranteed by the constitution. There are five Catholic parish churches in Monaco and one cathedral presided over by an archbishop.

[edit] Christian - Anglican

There is one Anglican church (St. Paul's Church), located in the Avenue de Grande Bretagne in Monte Carlo. In 2007 this had a formal membership of 135 Anglicans resident in the principality, but was also serving a considerably larger number of Anglicans temporarily in the country, mostly as tourists. The church site also accommodates an English-language library of over 3,000 books.[13]

[edit] Jewish

The Association Culturelle Israelite de Monaco (founded 1948) is a converted house containing a synagogue, a community Hebrew school, and a kosher food shop, located in Monte Carlo. The community (approximately 1,500 strong) mainly consists of retired Jews from Britain (40%) and North Africa. Half the population is Ashkenazi, while the other half are Sephardic.[14]

[edit] Security

    See also: Law enforcement in Monaco
    See also: Military of Monaco

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 the largest police force (515 police officers for 32,000 people) and police presence in the world. Its police includes a specialist unit which operates patrol and surveillance boats. There is also a small military consisting of a (mainly ceremonial) bodyguard unit for the Prince and his palace called the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince which numbers 112 officers and men and is equipped with modern weapons such as M-16 rifles and 9 mm pistols, and a militarized (and armed) fire and civil defence Corps.

The Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (Prince's Company of Carabiniers) is the main ceremonial unit of the military force of Monaco. It was created by Prince Honoré IV in 1817 for the protection of the Principality and the Princely family. The company numbers exactly 121 officers and men; while the NCOs and soldiers are local, the officers have generally served in the French Army. Together with the local fire service, the Carabiniers form Monaco's total public forces. In addition to their guard duties, the company patrols the Principality's beaches and coastal waters, as well as duties around the Palace in Monaco-Ville.

[edit] Flag

The flag of Monaco reflects the heraldic colours of the Grimaldi family. It is one of the world's oldest national flag designs. The flag of Monaco is identical to that of Indonesia (except for the ratio of height to width).[15]

[edit] Transport

    Main article: Transport in Monaco

Several train systems serve Monaco.

Monaco is served by Monaco - Fontvieille Heliport. The closest airport is Cote d'Azur Airport in Nice, France. Some airlines marketed Monaco via Nice Airport.[16]
A wide view of La Condamine, Monaco
A wide view of La Condamine, Monaco

[edit] See also

    * List of rulers of Monaco
    * Railway line and station
    * Communications in Monaco
    * Foreign relations of Monaco
    * International University of Monaco
    * Military of Monaco
    * Music of Monaco
    * Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra

        

    * AS Monaco FC, local football team.
          o Stade Louis II, the team's home stadium.
    * Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo
    * List of radio stations in Monaco
    * Oceanographic Museum
    * Association des Guides et Scouts de Monaco
    * Prince's Palace of Monaco

    



[edit] References

   1. ^ "History & Heritage". Council of Government. Retrieved on 2008-05-22.
   2. ^ "CONSTITUTION DE LA PRINCIPAUTE". Council of Government. Retrieved on 2008-05-22.
   3. ^ Per capita purchasing power parity GDP (US dept. of State 2006 est.): $30,000 [1]
   4. ^ Strabo, Geography, Gaul, 4.6.3 at LacusCurtious
   5. ^ Declaration of April 18th, 2004, by the representative of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration Gabriel Makhlouf regarding the list of alleged tax havens non-cooperatives countries comparable
   6. ^ Stage Report 2004: Project of OECD on the detrimental tax practices, OECD, Paris, 2004
   7. ^ Review to Identify Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories: Increasing the Worldwide Effectiveness of Anti-Money Laundering Measures, FATF, Paris, 2000
   8. ^ Review to Identify Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories: Increasing the Worldwide Effectiveness of Anti-Money Laundering Measures, FATF, Paris, 2005
   9. ^ Review to Identify Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories: Increasing the Worldwide Effectiveness of Anti-Money Laundering Measures, FATF, Paris, 2006
  10. ^ « Financial Centres with Significant Offshore Activities » in Offshore Financial Centres. The Assessment Program. A Progress Report Supplementary Information, IMF, Washington, 2005
  11. ^ First Mutual Evaluation Report on the Principality of Monaco, Moneyval, Strasbourg, 2003
  12. ^ http://www.gouv.mc/devwww/wwwnew.nsf/d0c95819dd9f2e3dc1256f9c003b549c/4f4037377865aa6bc125701800280dd1!OpenDocument&Highlight=0,Schools
  13. ^ See the website of St Paul's Church, Monaco.
  14. ^ Details at Jewish Virtual Library
  15. ^ Monaco Flag - World Flags 101 - Monacan Flags
  16. ^ "Route Map" in 1993, Trans World Airlines

Good tip?
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never ever go to the restaurant called "le marathon". it's situated in "47, rue grimaldi" near the railway station monaco-monte carlo.
the food there is not only expensive like everywhere else in monaco or nice, but it's also extremely disgusting. i've never seen such a disgusting "steak" in my whole life. while eating it, you can never be sure that it actually stays down your stomach. the so called "beer" costs 8 euros (!) and it shouldn't be called anyway, because it's just something like a beer-coloured water.
the smell in the restaurant isn't the greatest either, the whole restaurant has the smell of urine.
so never go there, you will regret it!
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Apurva
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85
572

Its about casinos, cars and cash... come here to get a glimpse of these... or else to get the thrill of visiting another country within a country, in this case France (along the lines of San Marino within Italy or Gibraltar within Spain) with its own telephone cards, stamps and the like... though the general character of the place is quite like the French Riviera cities...

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