"Monaco" Top 5 Page for this destination Monaco by kucha

Monaco Travel Guide: 1,065 reviews and 3,000 photos

Geographically Speaking

Monte Carlo is tiny (less than two miles long) and sits on a large rock named Mont Des Mules overlooking the sea. A road separates Monaco from France, and you hardly realize it when you are moving between the two countries. There are about 30,000 residents of Monaco, of which the citizens, called Monegasques, make up about 25 per cent of the total populace.

The look of Monaco is enough to make you want to stay awhile. The view coming into the sheltered harbor is spectacular. The city is spread out over the rock and into the sea. Because of the limited space, some of the buildings are even constructed right over the water. The streets of the city practically ooze money. Expensive cars and limousines are everywhere. Monte Carlo is definitely a place where the "rich and famous" journey to see and to be seen.

A Bit of History

Growing up, I always thought that because of its small size, Monte Carlo and Monaco were synonymous. There are actually several different areas in Monaco. The old town of Monaco-Ville surrounds the palace on the southwest side of the Monaco harbor. To the west of Monaco-Ville is the new suburb, harbor, and marina of Fontvieille. On the other side of the rock and around the harbor is La Condamine. The resort of Larvotto with its imported sandy beaches is on the east, and Monte Carlo is in the middle of it all.

The history of the ruling Grimaldi family and the surrounding area is fascinating and dates back centuries. The port of Monaco is first mentioned in the records back in 43 BC, when Caesar concentrated his fleet there while waiting in vain for Pompey. In the 12th century, Genoa was granted sovereignty of the entire coastline from Porto Venere to Monaco. After years of struggle, the Grimaldis captured the rock in 1295, but they had to continually defend it from the surrounding warring factions. In 1506 the Monegasques, under Luciano Grimaldi, withstood a four month long siege by a Genoan army ten times their size. (Sounds like a made-for-TV movie in the making or the Monaco version of the Alamo!) Although Monaco officially received full autonomy in 1524, it struggled to remain independent, and at various times was under the influence of Spain, Sardinia, and France.

Royalty

The Grimaldi family is still a very visible royal family. You don't even have to be a reader of the tabloids to know about the Grimaldis. Monaco's aging leader, Prince Ranier, is one of the few autocratic royal leaders left in the world. The relationship between Monaco and France is an interesting one. Any new law passed in France is automatically sent to Prince Ranier. If he likes it, it becomes a law in Monaco. If not, it doesn't!

  • Last visit to Monaco: Apr 2006
  • Intro Updated May 20, 2006
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Reviews (19)

Comments (4)

  • fabrice's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    I miss Monaco I worked there during 6 years

  • laughingsun69's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2008 at 9:57 AM

    I enjoyed reading through your tips and viewing your photos , thanks for shareing :)

  • Nov 28, 2007 at 4:32 AM

    You can enter monaco with your own car, it's not prohibited. We rented a place in Beausoleil and drove every two days to downtown monte-carlo for shopping. However, it's a tiny place and there are a lot of cars so traffic jams are frequent

  • RoyJava's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2006 at 11:44 AM

    My brother used to live and work here, and I never visited him... a shame! Well done Monaco VT pages Kucha, greetzzz RoyJava

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