Nov 022013
Trish and I visited this principality that is second in size to the Vatican.    After leaving the railway station, we were immediately overwhelmed by the wealth.  Villas rose up from a harbour that was a berth to enormous yachts.  The royal palace was easily distinguished and Trish and I got up there by a series of lifts and escalators.  We left our car behind in Menton and caught the train which was a fifteen minute ride.  To get to the castle of Prince Albert and his South African wife, Charlene, there are three ways: helicopter, car or take the elevators and escalators.
Trish and I had only a day to get a sense or brief look at the Principality of Monoco.  One of the spouses of an earlier monarch had the idea of building a casino – the rich followed enticed by tax havens and other privileges.
October is ‘off season’ and Trish and I saw just one Ferrari car parked outside.

Located at the south western part of Europe, Monaco is an autonomous city-state and the world’s second smallest country. The geographical position of Monaco which sits atop a narrow coastal area with its three sides surrounded by Franceand its southern side facing the Mediterranean Sea makes it an ideal destination for tourists and nature lovers. But aside from the well-renowned Monaco grand prix and the flamboyant Monte-Carlo casino complex, there are other facts which are little known about Monaco. Read on and find out!

1. No Taxes, No Gambling

Known as Europe’s tax haven, each and every individual citizens of Monaco enjoys a tax-free lifestyle since the 1870s. For decades, Monaco lived off solely on itscasinos. At present, Monaco’s current efforts to diversify its economy have made tourism its number one source of income and casino profits only at five percent.

Fun fact: Citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble, nor even visit the casinos.

2. No Airplanes

You may take the train, your helicopter or your yacht (if you have one) if you want to go to Monaco but please, no private jets (if you have one as well.) There are no airports in Monaco. Don’t have enough change to ride the train? Cote d’Azur Airport in Nice, France is just a 30-minute ride to Monaco’s capital.

Fun fact: During weekdays, there’s only an interval of 20 minutes per helicopter flight in Monaco’s heliport. This just shows how busy the economy of Monaco is.

3. International Citizens of Monaco

There are at least 32,000 registered citizens in Monaco. Only 6,000 areMonégasque passport holders or Monaco locals, roughly 19 percent of the whole population. The remaining percent of the population are FrenchItalians, and 125 other nationalities which are living in Monaco.

Fun fact: Monaco has been ruled by the descendants of François Grimaldi, a Genoese leader of the Guelphs for over 712 years. This explains why the majority of Monaco’s citizens are Roman Catholic.

4. A Year Round of Activities

It’s suitable to visit Monaco anytime of the year. There’s an event going on every month. From glamorous balls (The Princess of Hanover’s Rose Ball in March); exclusive outdoor concerts by the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra (Concert at the Prince’s Palace in July); to sporting events such as Tennis Masters Series(April), the celebrated Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix (May), and International Marathon (November); There’s an activity of interest for everyone in the whole family!

5. James Bond’s Playground

The elegant façade and panache interiors of the Monte-Carlo Casino had been a filming location of three James Bond Films namely “Casino Royal”, GoldenEye, and Never Say Never Again.” I wouldn’t be surprised if one day they choose to shoot a new James Bond film at Monte-Carlo Casino. It’s just that classy! Tip: You need to be at least 18 years of age and not a local of Monaco to be accepted as a guest at the Monte-Carlo Casino.


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