Monaco Facts – The Five Facts You should Know About

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind at that instance the name Monaco is mentioned? Some will immediately think of some rich and obscure European country. To others, it is one of Europe’s top entertainment destination. Meanwhile, racing enthusiasts and sports fanatics will no doubt associate the word to Formula One, owing to the fact that the country hosts the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the most important racing events in the world.

These are all but hints of what the country is about. Knowing these alone creates no more than stereotypes instead of the actual picture of this splendid city state. Below are some facts to help you brush off your own stereotypical depiction and see the country for what it truly is.

  1. Where is Monaco?
  2. For those who have a hard time finding Monaco in the map, the city state is actually located somewhere south of France and is very close to Italy, divided only by a 16 km French corridor. The region the country is in is called the French Riviera or Cote d’Azur, which includes the Mediterranean coasts of France’s south-eastern corner.

  3. Monaco is the second smallest country in the world.
  4. Monaco’s land area is approximately 2.05 km2, which is less than a square mile. This makes the city state around the same size as New York’s Central Park, a few times larger than the Vatican City, and a lot smaller than every other country. This rather small and limited land area is shared by 35,986 residents, awarding the Principality the title of being most densely populated country, apart from being the second smallest.

  5. Monaco is ruled by the House of Grimaldi and is only independent in 1861.
  6. Traditionally, the Principality of Monaco was ruled by princes of the Grimaldi lineage. The dynasty was established by Francois Grimaldi in 1297 after his cunning takeover of the fortress on the Rock of Monaco, continuing to the present with only a few brief interruptions. Despite this, the Principality was ruled in succession by Genoa, France and Sardinia, and only became truly independent in 1861.

  7. Traditionally, Monacans are neither French nor Italian.
  8. The citizens of Monaco are known as Monegasques. The native ones are descendants of settlers from Rhaetia, a region that once existed in Central Europe. Ironically, actual Monegasques comprise only a little over 20% of Monaco’s total number of residents. The rest are foreigners from France, Italy, UK and other countries.

  9. Best of all, Monaco has no income tax.
  10. The Monacan government does not gather income tax from its citizens. This made Monaco a popular tax haven for the wealthy, who will be obliged to pay at least five-digit figures as state contribution elsewhere. Despite the lack of taxes, Monaco offers top-notch standards of living to all its residents. This is exemplified by its large yet effective police force, as well as some amenities that come for free.

These are all but a short summary of Monaco as a whole. Still, the best way to see the big picture of the Principality is to wander into it, then enjoy a nice, one-of-a-kind visit.

Monaco Palace: The Dwelling of the Prince

The Principality of Monaco, like many other major European cities that draw tourists from all over, is a good mix of the old and the new. Stretched in a small, 2.05 km2 area, this independent Monegasque city state sports a contrast between vintage, centuries old structures and stylish modern high rises.

Monaco is divided into ten wards, or a collection of former municipalities. One of the most important, and most famous of these is the Monaco-ville. Perched on what is aptly called Le Rocher or the Rock of Monaco, this district is perhaps the most imposing sight in the Monacan cityscape.

The Palais Princier

Among the mix of old and new architecture perched on the Rock is one that’s very hard to miss. This is the Palais Princier – literally meaning the Prince’s Palace and also known as Monaco Palace – which, as the name suggests, is the residence of the Grimaldi Prince.

The Monaco Palace, contrary to what many would think, is not the seat of Monaco’s government but is merely the Prince of Monaco’s home. Nevertheless, the large edifice serves as the testimony of the wealth and power of the House of Grimaldi for over seven centuries now.

A Brief History of the Prince’s Palace

The Palace started as a Genoese fortress in 1191. It was first captured in 1297 by Francois Grimaldi, who, in the guise of a monk, took the fortress by surprise. The Grimaldi rule was solidified some time after Francois’ death, and fortification was slowly converted into a palace by the next succeeding princes . As there is no suitable land to build a new castle, the palace received various upgrades.

Each augmentation to the Palace reflects the Grimaldis’ and Monaco’s wealth, as well as the political climate of the time. For example, new towers are added for protection during wartime, or the whole place is renovated whenever certain princes get a need for and can afford better aesthetics.

External Characteristics of the Palace

The Prince’s Palace is known to be unique compared to other royal residences elsewhere in Europe. While most are famous for being pompous and lavishly constructed, the Grimaldi residence consistently reflects the appearance of the old fortress it used to be.

Outwardly, the Monaco Palace is, like Monaco itself, a combination of age old and modern architecture and aesthetics. The Renaissance style facade reflects the appearance of what could be a classy hotel, fronting its old medieval fortifications that seem to be left untouched by time.

The Monaco Palace Interiors

The interior meanwhile, contains many rooms, the most notable of which are the 16th century state apartments. Another section of note is the processional route, an enfilade – a series of rooms aligned with each other – and a ceremonial pathway to the throne room that starts from a U-shaped staircase from the court of honor, around which the Palace is built.

The Palace interior reflects plenty of French influences, which are best exemplified by the Gallery of Hercules, which is based on the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles. This can also be seen in what remained of the 18th century upgrades to the state apartments.

If you are planning to go on a vacation to Monaco, you better drop by Monaco-ville and see the magnificent palace for yourself. This edifice is not only a reflection of the Grimaldis’ affluence, but also the history of Monaco itself.

Where is Monaco and How to Get There?

Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, and yet is among the most famous. Well it’s not really a surprise. Despite being barely seen in the map, the Principality of Monaco is packed with sights and entertainment – truly, there’s just a lot of things a visitor can do to make the most of the Principality.

What Brings Folks to Monaco?

Entertainment is the primary reason that drives people to Monaco, fueling the country’s tourist driven economy. Visitors get their dose of recreation by visiting attractions like the Rock and the marina, seeing the Monaco Grand Prix if they happen to come at the right time of the year, or enjoying in Monte Carlo’s entertainment complex. Meanwhile, many people – especially wealthy individuals – come and never leave, owing to the fact that Monaco does not levy income tax from its residents.

You as well might want to travel to Monaco for leisure or to stay there for good. However, if you’re no European or is simply not into world political geography, you’ll inevitably ask the question, “Where is Monaco?”

Exactly Where is Monaco?

If you are looking for Monaco in any world map, you’re guaranteed to have a hard time if you have no idea where on Europe it is. Even if you do find it, you won’t be certain of its exact location. That said, the Principality’s coordinates are 43°43′N 7°25′E.
Not that good with geographic coordinates and is still asking where is Monaco? Well Monaco is simply located somewhere along France’s southeastern coasts, 16 km east of Italy. The region on which Monaco is located is called the French Riviera, which is a geographic division denoting the Mediterranean shoreline along and near southeastern France.

Getting to Monaco

Monaco is very accessible for a small country with no room for sea- and airports. There are several ways to get to Monaco, some of which does not necessarily have to drop you straight into the city state.

  • By road. Western Europe has an excellent road network which you can use to get to Monaco. Purchasing a local road map helps if you plan to go by car, as well as knowledge on which routes to travel cheapest or quickest.
  • By rail. You can hop into Eurostar or National trains from any major European city to Paris, from which you take a TGV train to Nice, France. From Nice, you can ride a local train that heads straight to Monaco.
  • By plane. The Nice Cote d’Azur is the closest airport to the Principality. If you’re planning to fly to Monaco, this should be your drop off point, from which you can ride a taxi, bus, train or chopper to the city state.
  • By ship. You can get to Monaco by sea if you have your own vessel or can afford cruise ships operating around Monaco. Otherwise, you can always sail via a commercial ferry to major ports in southern France, then head to the Principality by road or rail.

Monaco is small and locked in by surrounding terrain, but isn’t that hard to find if you have the right idea of its location. The independent city state is also very accessible, thanks to Europe’s efficient transport system.