"Monaco: a sunny place for shady people" Top 5 Page for this destination Monaco by NiceLife

Monaco Travel Guide: 288 reviews and 918 photos


The Principality of Monaco, corporate headquarters of the family Grimaldi Inc (founded 1297) basks in the morning Mediterranean sun. The sun shines equally on the rich and the poor. However the poor are few, so more sunshine for us rich.

With its zero rate of personal income tax, it makes sense to many of the worlds most wealthy individuals to become a resident. Examples include the late Luciano Pavarotti , or so he tried to pursuade the Italian tax authorities, as they pursued him for a share of his world-wide concert earnings. In another sly move the wife of English retail billionaire Philip Green is Monaco resident, and happens to have the business in her name. Other well known residents include Joan Collins, Shirley Bassey, Ringo Star and one time 007 actor Roger Moore, who can still be seen driving around in his Rolls Royce. Actor Jack Nicholson aptly described Monaco as “Alcatraz for the rich”.

Concern for personal safety can be set aside: Monaco has a policeman for every hundred residents - the highest citizen to police ratio in the entire world. Just don't drop litter or run the lights.

Welcome to Monaco. A place of millionaires, fading popstars, yatch-brokers, butlers, investment advisors, policemen, and twenty thousand Japanese tourists each taking pictures of each other taking pictures of each other.

Monaco pays hommage to the Automobile

Collection of classic cars on display at Monte Carlo. Even if you are not a classic car fan, the sight of these beauties might convert you .

The late Prince Rainier had a fine car collection, as befits the home of the Monte Carlo Rally and the Monaco Grand Prix. A fitting tribute to French driving skills - highest road accident mortality in Europe, and the tragic loss of Princess Grace of Monaco, actress Grace Kelly (1928-82, car accident). Suprising not to see also a monument to the other famous victim of French driving skills, Diana Princess of Wales (1961-97, car accident). Perhaps the French driving exam should include a test of the drivers ability to maintain control on a bend at 100mph after consuming a half bottle of pastis.

Driving around Monaco, even the poorest Monegasque sports a high-end Mercedes or a tinted-window black four wheel drive. Porches are commonplace, and Rolls Royces and Bentleys are ten a penny.

Monaco's steep terracing and busy freeway connections along the Riviera mean a luxury car is essential means of transport to many locals. The very idea of walking will send Monaco residents into cardiac arrest (see "Warnings or Dangers" tips) whilst buses are largely the preserve of an army of poorly-paid service workers - nannys, cooks and cleaners - who commute daily to their place of work.

Monaco's Royal Family

Home to the Monaco royal family :

Princess Stephanie
The one with a taste for bodyguards and acrobats. Born 1965 , the youngest child of Prince Rainier became pregnant, aged 26, by her bodyguard, and went on to have a second child by him. She married him in 1995 only to divorced him a year later after the press set him up to be photographed having sex with "Miss Topless Belgium". She had another child in 1998, by another royal bodyguard. Is there something about a repetitive cycle of behaviour here?

Stephanie made headlines in 2002 when she lived with a married elephant tamer. Then in 2003 she married a Portuguese circus acrobat 10 years her junior. Given her life to date, I guess she just felt at home in a circus.

Fearing the wild child doing further damage to the royal family standing, daddy booted her out of the royal palace and had her share of the inheritance cut from over £500m to only £17m.

Princess Caroline
Born 1957. Married playboy banker at age 21, and divorced two years later. Second husband Stefano, an Italian industrialist, was killed in a boat crash in 1990. Since re maried in 1999 to husband number three, Prince Ernst of Hanover, the senior male descendant of King George III of the United Kingdom. Maintains royal pedigree, unlike younger sister.

Late Prince Rainier III
Sovereign of Monaco 1949 - 2005, Married actress Grace Kelly in 1956, who like another princess, met her untimely end in a car crash, in 1982. Rainier III never remarried.

Prince Albert
Recently appointed to the top job following Rainier III's departure. Amongst his many other honours, on a trip to South America in 2002 Albert had bestowed on him the keys to the city on Panama. So if the population of Panama is ever accidentally locked out, they know where a set of spare keys are.

His Serene Highness Prince Albert (don't just love that title?) once Europe's most eligible bachelor (comes fitted with his own country as standard, full service history available) is now officially engaged to Charlene Wittstock, a tall willowy blonde South African Olympic swimmer - think of a cross between the young Grace Kelly and Danish amazon Brigitte Nielson. After the wedding in July 2011, she becomes "Her Serene Highness The Princess of Monaco". Top that, girls.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Temporary refuge from the real world.
  • Cons:Riviera Radio, playing every song you have been trying your best to forget for the last twenty years.
  • In a nutshell:"A sunny place for shady people" (Somerset Maugham)
  • Last visit to Monaco: Jul 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (30)

Comments (24)

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2015 at 6:32 PM

    Great page. Very entertaining. Irene

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Mar 10, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    Nice page

  • KristaB's Profile Photo
    Sep 3, 2010 at 11:58 PM

    Great fun reading, I have to go there end of Sept every year on business and it drives me nuts. Planning one-day escape to Grasse etc.

  • wise23girl's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2009 at 11:45 PM

    Like the way you have written your tip. We were there earlier this year on a day tour from Queen Mary2. Silly me was up a few euros and tried for more!

  • jusdenise93's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2009 at 9:14 PM

    Great page on Monaco, hopefully i'll visit on 2011, Thanks so much for the tips. :) jusdenise93

  • junecorlett's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2009 at 5:49 AM

    I enjoyed your Monaco tips, with a good giggle here and there.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    I enjoy reading your pages, Andrew! Thank you...

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Feb 17, 2009 at 12:08 AM

    Monaco looks great and that was a funny comment on Riviera Radio, hehehe, Greetings from Arizona, Norman :) --- the cathedral where Grace Kelly got married - that would be nice to see...

  • pure1942's Profile Photo
    Sep 11, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    Hey Andrew. Great page on Monaco. Looking forward to people watching at the Cafe de Paris. Thanks for the tips...Brian

  • TravellerMel's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2008 at 8:07 PM

    Wonderful tip on the Cafe de Paris in Monaco - I'll be sure to do that next time, since people watching is one of my favorite pasttimes!

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