Located in the southwestern end of Europe, Monaco is an autonomous city-state and the world’s second smallest country. This small country is 0.8 square miles (1.95 square kilometers) in size, or approximately the same size as Central Park in New York City. It is the smallest state in the world after Vatican City.
The geographical position of Monaco which sits atop a narrow coastal area with its three sides surrounded by France and its southern side facing the Mediterranean Sea makes it an ideal destination for tourists and nature lovers.
The climate is mild year-round, with an average low temperature of 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius) and an average maximum high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius).
Monaco is divided into four neighborhoods: Monaco-Ville, the old original city, which is on a rocky promontory extending into the sea; La Condamine, along the port; Monte-Carlo, the main resort, residential and tourist area; and Fontvieille, a newly constructed area on land reclaimed from the sea.
French is the official language, but Italian and English are also spoken frequently. Monegasque, a language derived from both French and Italian, is spoken by native residents of Monaco, although only about 22 percent of the population claims direct Monegasque descent.
Overall Monaco has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Differences in social stratification are not immediately obvious. The principality’s popularity as an exclusive resort and tax haven has led to the development of a very wealthy social class. Material symbols of wealth such as luxury goods, expensive cars, and exclusive shops are visible everywhere. Monaco’s coastal position has also made it a popular port for luxury yachts. The tourist industry necessitates a large workforce, as do Monaco’s light industrial concerns, but more than half the people employed in these sectors do not live in Monaco.
Monaco’s high average income and individual wealth, as well as its very small size, make it a country with minimal class distinctions. The principality’s status as a tax haven makes it an attractive place to establish residence for wealthy people from all over the world. A significant number of residents are from a variety of nationalities, and several are celebrities, helping to make Monaco synonymous with wealth, power and prestige the world over.
The Grand Prix de Monaco, a Formula 1 car race held in the streets of Monte Carlo, is one of the principality’s most famous cultural events and attracts thousands of spectators.
The Monte Carlo Ballet and the Monte Carlo Opera are world-renowned. The Monte Carlo Ballet gained international fame in the 1920s when the choreographer Sergey Diaghilev was based there with his Ballets Russes. Monaco is also home to the International Circus Festival held every February and the International Fireworks held in July.
The casino is well known for its historic beauty. Designed by Charles Garnier, the casino was constructed in 1863 and offers a wide variety of table games. Certainly it is one of the most comfy and classy casinos known in the world. It houses five gaming rooms, thirty-five tables and 316 slots. It has a theatre (for opera and ballet concerts), restaurant and garden. It also hosts trente et quarante, bacrat, blackjack and craps.
Business related to tourism accounts for the majority of commercial activities. Hotels, restaurants, shops, gambling, and services related to Monaco’s port provide both employment and revenue for the principality.
Monaco is influenced by the country’s unusual blending of roles as an international tax haven, exclusive resort destination in combination with the Monegasque traditions. The Monegasque are proud of the country’s history and residents strive to maintain the quality of life that exists there. The principality attracts people from a variety of nationalities who are nevertheless united by a high level of personal wealth.