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Collection: Capitals in Europe, City-States, Constitutional Monarchies, Countries in Europe, French-Speaking Countries and Territories, Italian-Speaking Countries and Territories, Liberal Democracies, Massalian Colonies, Member States of the Council of Europe, Member States of the Organisation Internationale De La Francophonie, Member States of the Union for the Mediterranean, Member States of the United Nations, Monaco, Port Cities of the Mediterranean Sea, Principalities, Romance Countries and Territories, States and Territories Established in 1297, Western Europe
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Flag Coat of arms
Motto: "Deo Juvante" (Latin)
"With God's Help"
Anthem: Hymne Monégasque
English: Monégasque Anthem
Location of  Monaco  (green)

in Europe  (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

Largest Quartier Monte Carlo
Official languages French[3]
Common languages
Ethnic groups
Religion Roman Catholicism
  • Monégasque
  • Monacan[c]
Government Unitary parliamentary constitutional principality
 -  Monarch Albert II
 -  Minister of State Michel Roger
 -  President of the National Council Laurent Nouvion (REM)
Legislature National Council
 -  House of Grimaldi 1297 
 -  Franco-Monegasque Treaty 1861 
 -  Constitution 1911 
 -  Total 2.02 km2 (248th)
0.78 sq mi
 -  Water (%) negligible[4]
 -  2011 estimate 36,371[5] (217th)
 -  2008 census 35,352[4]
 -  Density 18,005/km2 (1st)
49,217/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2010[b] estimate
 -  Total $4.694 billion[6][7] (156th)
 -  Per capita $132,571[6][7] (1st)
GDP (nominal) 2010[b] estimate
 -  Total $5.424 billion[6] (148th)
 -  Per capita $153,177[6] (1st)
Currency Euro () (EUR)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 -  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the Driving side[8]
Calling code +377
ISO 3166 code MC
Internet TLD .mc
a. ^ Monaco is a city-state. However, government offices are located in the Quartier of Monaco-Ville.
b. ^ GDP per capita calculations include non-resident workers from France and Italy.
c. ^ Monacan is the term for residents.

Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco (French: Principauté de Monaco (French pronunciation: ​); Monégasque: Principatu de Múnegu; Italian: Principato di Monaco; Occitan: Principat de Mónegue), is a sovereign city-state and microstate, located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered by France on three sides; one side borders the Mediterranean Sea. Monaco has an area of 2.02 km2 (0.78 sq mi) and a population of 36,371; Monaco is the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Monaco has a land border of 4.4 km (2.7 mi), a coastline of 4.1 km (2.5 mi), and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 m (5,577 and 1,145 ft). The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires Ward, which is 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level. Monaco's most populous Quartier is Monte Carlo and the most populous Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins. Through land reclamation, Monaco's land mass has expanded by twenty percent.

Monaco is a principality governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state. Although Prince Albert II is a constitutional monarch, he wields immense political power.[9] The House of Grimaldi have ruled Monaco, with brief interruptions, since 1297.[10] The official language is French, but Monégasque, Italian, and English are widely spoken and understood.[note 1] The state's sovereignty was officially recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861, with Monaco becoming a full United Nations voting member in 1993. Despite Monaco's independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is the responsibility of France. However, Monaco does maintain two small military units.

Economic development was spurred in the late 19th century with the opening of its first casino, Monte Carlo, and a railway connection to Paris.[11] Since then, the principality's mild climate, splendid scenery, and gambling facilities have contributed to Monaco's status as a premier tourist destination and recreation center for the rich and famous. However, in more recent years Monaco has become a major banking center and has successfully sought to diversify its economy into the services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries. The state has no income tax, low business taxes, and is well known for being a tax haven.

Monaco is not formally a part of the European Union (EU), but it participates in certain EU policies, including customs and border controls. Through its relationship with France, Monaco uses the euro as its sole currency. Monaco joined the Council of Europe in 2004.


  • History 1
    • Arrival of the Grimaldis 1.1
    • 20th century 1.2
  • Governance 2
    • Administrative divisions 2.1
      • Traditional quarters and modern geographic areas 2.1.1
      • Wards 2.1.2
    • Security 2.2
  • Geography 3
    • Climate 3.1
  • Economy 4
    • Gambling industry 4.1
    • Tax haven 4.2
    • Numismatics 4.3
  • Demographics 5
    • Language 5.1
    • Religion 5.2
      • Roman Catholic 5.2.1
      • Anglican 5.2.2
      • Jewish 5.2.3
  • Sport 6
    • Formula One 6.1
    • Monte Carlo Rally 6.2
    • Football 6.3
    • Rugby 6.4
    • Other sports 6.5
  • Culture 7
    • Music 7.1
  • Education 8
    • Primary and secondary schools 8.1
    • Colleges and universities 8.2
  • Flag 9
  • Transport 10
  • See also 11
  • Notes 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


Statue of François Grimaldi, "il Malizia" ("the Cunning"), disguised as a monk with a dagger hidden under the cloak of his habit

Monaco's name comes from the 6th century BC nearby Phocaean Greek colony. Referred to by the Ligurians as Monoikos, from the Greek "μόνοικος", "single house", from "μόνος" (monos) "alone, single"[12] + "οἶκος" (oikos) "house",[13] which bears the sense of a people either settled in a "single habitation" or of "living apart" from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away the previous gods.[14] As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos. Because the only temple of this area was the "House" of Hercules, the city was called Monoikos.[15][16]

Arrival of the Grimaldis

Following a land grant from Emperor Henry VI in 1191, Monaco was refounded in 1215 as a colony of Genoa.[17][18] Monaco was first ruled by a member of the House of Grimaldi in 1297, when Francesco Grimaldi, known as "Il Malizia" (translated from Italian either as "The Malicious One" or "The Cunning One"), and his men captured the fortress protecting the Rock of Monaco while dressed as a Franciscan monk – a Monaco in Italian, although this is a coincidence as the area was already known by this name.[19] Francesco, however, was evicted only a few years afterwards by the Genovese forces, and the struggle over "the Rock" continued for another century.[20]

In 1419, the Grimaldis purchased Monaco from the crown of Aragon and became the official and undisputed rulers of "the Rock of Monaco", and in 1612 Honore II began to style himself "Prince" of Monaco.[21] In the 1630s, Honore II sought French protection against the Spanish forces and was eventually, in 1642, received at the court of Louis XIII as "Duc et Pair Etranger".[22] The princes of Monaco thus became vassals of the French kings while at the same time remaining sovereign princes.[23] Though successive princes and their families spent most of their lives in Paris, and intermarried with French and Italian nobilities, the House of Grimaldi is Italian. The principality continued its existence as a protectorate of France until the French Revolution.[24]

In 1793, Revolutionary forces captured Monaco and it remained under direct French control until 1814, when the Grimaldis returned to the throne.[22] The principality was reestablished that year, only to be designated a protectorate of the Kingdom of Sardinia by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.[25] Monaco remained in this position until 1860 when, by the Treaty of Turin, the Sardinian forces pulled out of the principality and the surrounding county of Nice (as well as Savoy) was ceded to France.[26] Monaco became a French protectorate once again. Prior to this time there was unrest in Menton and Roquebrune where the townspeople had become weary of heavy taxation by the Grimaldis. They declared their independence, hoping for annexation by Sardinia; France protested. The unrest continued until Charles III gave up his claim to the two mainland towns (some 95% of the principality at the time) which had been ruled by the Grimaldis for over 500 years.[27] These were ceded to France in return for 4,100,000 francs.[28] The transfer and Monaco's sovereignty was recognized by the Franco-Monegasque Treaty of 1861. In 1869, the principality stopped collecting income tax from its residents—an indulgence the Grimaldis could afford to entertain thanks solely to the extraordinary success of the casino.[29] This made Monaco not only a playground for the rich, but a favored place for them to live.[30]

20th century

Mayor of Monaco announcing concessions ending absolute monarchy of Prince Albert I in 1910

Until the Monegasque Revolution of 1910 forced the adoption of the 1911 constitution, the princes of Monaco were absolute rulers.[31] The new constitution, however, barely reduced the autocratic rule of the Grimaldis and Albert I soon suspended it.

In July 1918, the Franco-Monegasque Treaty was signed, providing for limited French protection over Monaco. The treaty, endorsed in 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles, established that Monegasque international policy would be aligned with French political, military, and economic interests, and resolved the Monaco Succession Crisis.[32]

In 1943, the Italian Army invaded and occupied Monaco, forming a Fascist administration.[33] Shortly thereafter, following the collapse of Mussolini, the German Wehrmacht occupied Monaco and the Nazi deportation of the Jewish population began. René Blum, the prominent French Jew who founded the Ballet de l'Opera in Monte Carlo, was arrested in his Paris home and held in the Drancy deportation camp outside Paris, thence he was then transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was later killed.[34] Blum's colleague Raoul Gunsbourg, the director of the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, helped by the French Resistance, escaped arrest and fled to Switzerland.[35] In August 1944, the Germans executed René Borghini, Joseph-Henri Lajoux and Esther Poggio, who were Resistance leaders.

Grace Kelly brought attention to Monaco through her marriage to Prince Rainier III

Rainier III, who ruled until 2005, succeeded to the throne following the death of his grandfather, Prince Louis II, in 1949. On 19 April 1956, Prince Rainier married the American actress Grace Kelly; the event was widely televised and covered in the popular press, focusing the world's attention on the tiny principality.[36]

A 1962 amendment to the constitution abolished capital punishment, provided for women's suffrage, and established a Supreme Court of Monaco to guarantee fundamental liberties. In 1993, the Principality of Monaco became a member of the United Nations, with full voting rights.[26][37]

In 1963, a crisis developed when Charles de Gaulle blockaded Monaco, angered by its status as a tax haven for wealthy French. The 2014 movie Grace of Monaco is loosely based on this crisis.[38]

In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco specified that, should there be no heirs to carry on the Grimaldi dynasty, the principality would still remain an independent nation rather than revert to France. Monaco's military defence, however, is still the responsibility of France.[39][40]

On 31 March 2005, Prince Rainier III, who was too ill to exercise his duties, relinquished them to his only son and heir, Prince Albert II.[41] Prince Rainier died on 6 April 2005 after a reign of 56 years. His son Prince Albert II succeeded him and was thereafter titled Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

Following a period of official mourning Prince Albert II formally assumed the princely crown on 12 July 2005,[42] in a celebration that began with a solemn Mass at Saint Nicholas Cathedral, where his father had been buried three months earlier. His accession to the Monégasque throne was a two-step event with a further ceremony, drawing heads of state for an elaborate Levée, held on 18 November 2005, at the historic Prince's Palace in Monaco-Ville.[43]


Monaco has been governed under a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Sovereign Prince of Monaco as head of state.[44] The executive branch consists of a Minister of State as the head of government, who presides over a five-member Council of Government.[45] Until 2002, the Minister of State was a French citizen appointed by the prince from among candidates proposed by the French government; since a constitutional amendment in 2002, the Minister of State can be French or Monegasque.[17] However, Prince Albert II appointed, on 3 March 2010, the Frenchman Michel Roger as Minister of State.[46]

Under the 1962 constitution, the prince shares his veto power with the unicameral National Council.[47] The 24 members of the National Council are elected for five-year terms; 16 are chosen through a majority electoral system and 8 by proportional representation.[48] All legislation requires the approval of the National Council, which is currently dominated by the central-right Union of Monaco (UPM), who hold twenty-one seats.[48] The only other party represented in the National Council is the right-wing Rally and Issues for Monaco (REM), which holds just three seats.[48] The principality's city affairs are directed by the Communal Council,[49] which consists of fourteen elected members and is presided over by a mayor.[50] Unlike the National Council, councillors are elected for four-year terms,[51] and are strictly non-partisan, however, oppositions inside the council frequently form.[49][52]

Administrative divisions

Wards of Monaco

Monaco is the second smallest country (by area) in the world; only Vatican City is smaller.[53] Monaco is also the world's second smallest monarchy,[54] and is the most densely populated country in the world.[55] The state consists of only one municipality (commune). There is no geographical distinction between the State and City of Monaco, although responsibilities of the government (state-level) and of the municipality (city-level) are different.[46] According to the constitution of 1911, the principality was subdivided into three municipalities:[56]

The municipalities were merged into one in 1917, after accusations that the government was acting according to the motto "divide and conquer," and they were accorded the status of Wards or Quartiers thereafter.

  • Fontvieille, was added as a fourth ward, a newly constructed area claimed from the sea in the 1970s;
  • Moneghetti, became the fifth ward, created from part of La Condamine;
  • Larvotto, became the sixth ward, created from part of Monte Carlo;
  • La Rousse/Saint Roman (including Le Ténao), became the seventh ward, also created from part of Monte Carlo.
Directly ahead is La Condamine, to the right with the smaller harbor is Fontvieille, with the "The Rock" (the old town, fortress, and Palace) jutting out between the two harbors; to the left with the high-rise buildings is La Rousse/Saint Roman

Subsequently, three additional wards were created:

An additional ward was planned by new land reclamation to be settled beginning in 2014;[57] but Prince Albert II announced in his 2009 New Year Speech that he had ended plans due to the current economic climate.[58] However, Prince Albert II in mid-2010 firmly restarted the program.[59][60]

Traditional quarters and modern geographic areas

The four traditional Quartiers of Monaco are: Monaco-Ville, La Condamine, Monte Carlo and Fontvieille.[61][62] However, the suburb of Moneghetti, the high-level part of La Condamine, is generally seen today as an effective fifth Quartier of the Monaco, having a very distinct atmosphere and topography when compared with low-level La Condamine.[63]


Currently Monaco is subdivided into ten Wards, with their official numbers; either Fontvieille II or Le Portier, would become the effective eleventh ward, if built:[60][64][65]

No. Ward Area
of 2008)
Former municipality of Monaco
05 Monaco-Ville 0.19 1,034 5597 19 Old City
Former municipality of Monte Carlo
01 Monte Carlo/Spélugues (Bd. Des Moulins-Av. de la Madone) 0.30 3,834 10779 20 Casino and resort area
02 La Rousse/Saint Roman (Annonciade-Château Périgord) 0.13 3,223 30633 17 Northeast area, includes Le Ténao
03 Larvotto/Bas Moulins (Larvotto-Bd Psse Grace) 0.34 5,443 16570 17 Eastern beach area
10 Saint Michel (Psse Charlotte-Park Palace) 0.16 3,907 26768 24 Central residential area
Former municipality of La Condamine
04 La Condamine 0.28 3,947 16213 28 Northwest port area
07 La Colle (Plati-Pasteur-Bd Charles III) 0.11 2,829 15005 15 On the western border with Cap d'Ail
08 Les Révoires (Hector Otto-Honoré Labande) 0.09 2,545 33203 11 Contains the Jardin Exotique de Monaco
09 Moneghetti/ Bd de Belgique (Bd Rainier III-Bd de Belgique) 0.10 3,003 28051 17 Central-north residential area
New land reclaimed from the sea
06 Fontvieille 0.35 3,901 10156 10 Started 1981
11(1) Fontvieille II 0.08(1) - 6(1) Development to commence in 2013[64]
11(1) Le Portier 0.05(1) - 4(1) Project relaunched in 2012[66]
10 Monaco[67][68] 2.05 35,352 16217 178  
World (land only, excluding Antarctica) 134,940,000 7,173,868,900 53 info dated July 5, 2014 from, population density
(1) Not included in the total, as it is only proposed

Note: for statistical purposes, the Wards of Monaco are further subdivided into 178 city blocks (îlots), which are comparable to the census blocks in the United States.[67]


Palace guard in Monaco, just before the Changing of the Guard

The wider defence of the nation is provided by France. Monaco has no navy or air force, but on both a per-capita and per-area basis, Monaco has one of the largest police forces (515 police officers for 35,000 people) and police presences in the world.[69] Its police includes a specialist unit which operates patrol and surveillance boats.[70]

There is also a small military force. This consists of a bodyguard unit for the Prince and the palace in Monaco-Ville called the Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince (Prince's Company of Carabiniers), which is equipped with modern weapons such as M16A2 rifles and 9 mm pistols (Glock 17),[71] and which together with the militarized, armed fire and civil defence Corps (Sapeurs-Pompiers) forms Monaco's total public forces.[72] The Compagnie des Carabiniers du Prince was created by Prince Honoré IV in 1817 for the protection of the Principality and the Princely family. The company numbers exactly 116 officers and men; while the NCOs and soldiers are local, the officers have generally served in the French Army. In addition to their guard duties as described, the Carabiniers patrol the Principality's beaches and coastal waters.[73]


Satellite view of Monaco, with the Monégasque-French border shown in yellow
Elevation profile of Monaco

Monaco is a sovereign city state, with 5 Quartiers and 10 Wards,[74] located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It is bordered by France on three sides, with one side bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Its center is about 16 km (9.9 mi) from Italy and only 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of Nice, France.[37] It has an area of 2.02 km2 (0.78 sq mi) or 202 hectares (500 acres) and a population of 36,371,[5] making Monaco the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world.[37] The country has a land border of only 4.4 km (2.7 mi), a coastline of 4.1 km (2.5 mi), a maritime claim that extends 22.2 kilometres (13.8 mi), and a width that varies between 1,700 and 349 m (5,577 and 1,145 ft).[75][76]

The highest point in the country is a narrow pathway named Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel, in the Les Révoires district, 161 metres (528 feet) above sea level.[77] The lowest point in the country is the Mediterranean Sea, at sea level.[78] Saint-Jean is the longest flowing body of water, around 0.19 km (0.12 miles) in length, and Fontvieille is the largest lake, approximately 0.5 ha (1.24 acres) in size.[79] Monaco's most populated Quartier is Monte Carlo, and the most populated Ward is Larvotto/Bas Moulins.[67] After a recent expansion of Port Hercules,[80] Monaco's total area grew to 2.02 km2 (0.78 sq mi) or 202 hectares (500 acres);[67] consequently, new plans have been approved to extend the district of Fontvieille by 0.08 km2 (0.031 sq mi) or 8 hectares (20 acres), with land reclaimed from the Mediterranean Sea. Current land reclamation projects include extending the district of Fontvieille.[81][82][83][80][84] There are two ports in Monaco, Hercules and Fontvieille, as well as the neighboring French port of Cap d'Ail.[85] Monaco's only natural resource is fishing;[86] with almost the entire country being an urban area, Monaco lacks any sort of commercial agriculture industry.


Monaco has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa), which is influenced by the oceanic climate and the humid subtropical climate. As a result, it has warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.[87] Cool and rainy interludes can interrupt the dry summer season, the average length of which is also shorter. Summer afternoons are infrequently hot (indeed, temperatures > 30 °C or 86 °F are rare) as the atmosphere is temperate because of constant sea breezes. On the other hand, the nights are very mild, due to the fairly high temperature of the sea in summer. Generally, temperatures do not drop below 20 °C (68 °F) in this season. In the winter, frosts and snowfalls are extremely rare and generally occur once or twice every ten years.[88][89]

Climate data for Monaco
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.2
Average low °C (°F) 8.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 82.7
Avg. precipitation days 6.8 6.4 6.1 6.3 5.2 4.1 1.9 3.1 4.0 5.8 7.0 6.0 62.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 148.8 152.6 201.5 228.0 269.7 297.0 341.0 306.9 240.0 204.6 156.0 142.6 2,668.7
Source: Monaco website[90]


Fontvieille and its new harbour

Monaco boasts the world's highest GDP nominal per capita at US$153,177, GDP PPP per capita at $132,571 and GNI per capita at $183,150.[6][91][92] It also has an unemployment rate of 2%,[93] with over 48,000 workers who commute from France and Italy each day.[67][94] According to the CIA World Factbook, Monaco has the world's lowest poverty rate[95] and the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world.[96][97] For the fourth year in a row, Monaco in 2012 had the world's most expensive real estate market, at $58,300 per square metre.[98][99][100]

One of Monaco's main sources of income is tourism. Each year many foreigners are attracted to its casino (which citizens are prohibited from) and pleasant climate.[76][101] It has also become a major banking center, holding over 100 billion worth of funds.[102] The principality has successfully sought to diversify its economic base into services and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries, such as cosmetics and biothermics.[95]

The state retains monopolies in numerous sectors, including tobacco and the postal service. The telephone network (Monaco Telecom) used to be fully owned by the state; it now owns only 45%, while the remaining 55% is owned by both Cable & Wireless Communications (49%) and Compagnie Monégasque de Banque (6%). It is still, however, a monopoly. Living standards are high, roughly comparable to those in prosperous French metropolitan areas.[103]

Monaco is not a member of the European Union. However, it is very closely linked via a customs union with France and, as such, its currency is the same as that of France, the euro. Before 2002, Monaco minted its own coins, the Monegasque franc. Monaco has acquired the right to mint euro coins with Monegasque designs on its national side.

Gambling industry

The plan for casino gambling was mooted during the reign of Florestan I in 1846. Under Louis-Philippe's petite-bourgeois regime, however, a dignitary such as a Prince of Monaco was not allowed to operate a gambling house.[17] All this changed in the dissolute Second French Empire under Napoleon III. The House of Grimaldi was in dire need to generate cash. Menton and Roquebrune, which had been main source of income for the Grimaldis for centuries, now accustomed to a much improved standard of living and lenient taxation thanks to Sardinian intervention, clamored for financial and political concession, even for separation. The Grimaldis hoped the newly legal industry would help alleviate the difficulties they faced, above all the crushing debt the family had incurred, but Monaco's first casino would not be ready to operate until after Charles III assumed the throne in 1856.

The grantee of the princely concession (licence) was unable to attract enough business to sustain the operation and, after relocating the casino several times, sold the concession to French casino magnates François and Louis Blanc for 1.7 million francs. The Blancs had already set up a highly successful casino (in fact the biggest in Europe) in Bad-Homburg in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Homburg, a small German principality comparable to Monaco, and quickly petitioned Charles III to rename a depressed seaside area known as "Les Spelegures (Den of Thieves)" to "Monte Carlo (Mount Charles)."[104] They then constructed their casino in the newly dubbed "Monte Carlo" and cleared out the area's less-than-savory elements to make the neighborhood surrounding the establishment more conducive to tourism.

The Blancs opened Le Grand Casino de Monte Carlo in 1858 and the casino benefited from the tourist traffic the newly built French railway system created.[105] Due to the combination of the casino and the railroads, Monaco finally recovered from the previous half century of economic slump and the principality's success attracted other businesses.[106] In the years following the casino's opening Monaco founded its Oceanographic Museum and the Monte Carlo Opera House, 46 hotels sprang up and the number of jewelers operating in Monaco increased by nearly 500 percent. By 1869, the casino was making such a vast sum of money that the principality could afford not to collect tax from the Monegasques: a master stroke that was to attract affluent residents from all over Europe.

Today, Société des bains de mer de Monaco, which owns Le Grand Casino, still operates in the original building the Blancs constructed and has since been joined by several other casinos, including the Le Casino Café de Paris, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club & Casino and the Sun Casino. The most recent addition in Monte Carlo is the Monte Carlo Bay Casino, which sits on 4 hectares of the Mediterranean Sea and, among other things, offers 145 slot machines, all equipped with "ticket-in, ticket-out" (TITO); it is the first Mediterranean casino to use this technology.[107]

Tax haven

Monaco levies no income tax on individuals.[108][109] The absence of a personal income tax in the principality has attracted to it a considerable number of wealthy "tax refugee" residents from European countries who derive the majority of their income from activity outside Monaco; celebrities such as Formula One drivers attract most of the attention, but the vast majority of them are lesser-known business people.[97][110]

In 1998, the tax havens' financial systems.[111] Monaco did not appear in the list of these territories until 2004, when OECD became indignant regarding the Monegasque situation and denounced it in its last report, as well as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Liberia and the Marshall Islands, underlining its lack of co-operation regarding financial information disclosure and availability.[112][113]

In 2000, a report by the French parliamentarians, Arnaud Montebourg and Vincent Peillon, alleged that Monaco had relaxed policies with respect to money laundering, including within its famed casino, and that the government of Monaco had been placing political pressure on the judiciary, so that alleged crimes were not being properly investigated.[114]

In 2000, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) stated: "The anti-money laundering system in Monaco is comprehensive. However, difficulties have been encountered with Monaco by countries in international investigations on serious crimes that appear to be linked also with tax matters. In addition, the FIU of Monaco (SICCFIN) suffers a great lack of adequate resources. The authorities of Monaco have stated that they will provide additional resources to SICCFIN."[115] The Principality is no longer blamed in the 2005 FATF report, as well as all other territories.[116][117] However, since 2003, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has identified Monaco, along with 36 other territories, as a tax haven.[118]

The Council of Europe also decided to issue reports naming tax havens. Twenty-two territories, including Monaco, were thus evaluated between 1998 and 2000 on a first round. Monaco is the only territory that refuses to perform the second round, initially forecast between 2001 and 2003, whereas the 21 other territories are implementing the third and last round, planned between 2005 and 2007.[119]

However, Monaco has high social insurance taxes payable by both employer and employee. The employer's contribution is between 28%–40% (averaging 35%) of gross salary including benefits and the employee pays a further 10%–14% (averaging 13%).[120]


1978 Monégasque franc coin with an effigy of Rainier III

In Monaco, the euro was introduced in 2002, having been preceded by the Monégasque franc.[121] In preparation for this date, the minting of the new euro coins started as early as 2001. Like Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, and Spain, Monaco decided to put the minting date on its coins. This is why the first euro coins from Monaco have the year 2001 on them, instead of 2002, like the other countries of the Eurozone that decided to put the year of first circulation (2002) on their coins.[122][123] Three different designs were selected for the Monégasque coins.[124] However, In 2006, the design was changed after the death of ruling Prince Rainier to have the effigy of Prince Albert.[124][125]

Monaco also has a rich and valuable collection of collectors' coins, with face value ranging from €5 to €100.[126] These coins are a legacy of an old national practice of minting silver and gold commemorative coins.[127][128] Unlike normal issues, these coins are not legal tender in all the Eurozone.[129] The same practice concerning commemorative coins is exercised by all eurozone countries.


Sunset in Monte Carlo

Monaco's population is unusual in that the native Monegasques are a minority in their own country comprising 21.6% of the population. The largest group are French nationals at 28.4%, followed by Monegasque (21.6%), Italian (18.7%), British (7.5%), Belgian (2.8%), German (2.5%), Swiss (2.5%) and US nationals (1.2%).[130]

Naturalized citizens of Monaco are called Monacans, while Monegasque is the proper term for describing someone who was born in Monaco.[131] Monaco has the world's highest life expectancy at nearly 90 years.[132]


The official language of Monaco is French, while Italian is spoken by the principality's sizable community from Italy. English is used by American, British, Canadian, and Irish residents. The traditional national language is Monégasque, now spoken by only a minority of residents. It is a romance language and resembles Ligurian, which is spoken in Genoa. In Monaco-Ville, street signs are printed in both French and Monégasque.[133][134]


Religion in Monaco (2012)[135][note 2]
No Religion

Roman Catholic

The official religion is Roman Catholicism, with freedom of other religions guaranteed by the constitution.[135] There are five Roman Catholic parish churches in Monaco and one cathedral, which is the seat of the archbishop of Monaco. The diocese, which has existed since the mid-nineteenth century, was raised to an archbishopric in 1981 as the Archdiocese of Monaco. The patron saint is Saint Devota.

Christians comprise a total of 83.2% of Monaco's population.[135]


There is one Anglican church (St. Paul's Church), located in the Avenue de Grande Bretagne in Monte Carlo. In 2007 this had a formal membership of 135 Anglicans resident in the principality, but was also serving a considerably larger number of Anglicans temporarily in the country, mostly as tourists. The church site also accommodates an English-language library of over 3,000 books.[136] The church is part of the Anglican Diocese in Europe.


The Association Culturelle Israélite de Monaco (founded 1948) is a converted house containing a synagogue, a community Hebrew school, and a kosher food shop, located in Monte Carlo.[137] The community (approximately 1,000) mainly consists of retired Jews from Britain (40%) and North Africa. Two thirds of the Jewish population there are Sephardic, mainly from North Africa, while the other third is Ashkenazi.[138]


Formula One

Formation lap for the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix

Since 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held annually in the streets of Monaco.[139] It is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. The erection of the Circuit de Monaco takes six weeks to complete and the removal after the race takes another three weeks.[139] The circuit is incredibly narrow and tight and its tunnel, tight corners and many elevation changes make it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track.[140]

Despite the challenging nature of the course it has only had one fatality, Lorenzo Bandini, who crashed, burned and died three days later from his injuries in 1967.[141] Two other drivers had lucky escapes after they crashed into the harbour, the most famous being Alberto Ascari in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix and Paul Hawkins, during the 1965 race.[139]

Monte Carlo Rally

Since 1911 part of the Automobile Club de Monaco. It has long been considered to be one of the toughest and most prestigious events in rallying and from 1973 to 2008 was the opening round of the World Rally Championship (WRC).[142] From 2009 until 2011, the rally served as the opening round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge.[143] The rally returned to the WRC calendar in 2012 and has been held annually since.[144]


Monaco hosts two major football teams in the principality; men's football club AS Monaco FC and women's football club OS Monaco. AS Monaco plays at the Stade Louis II and competes in Ligue 1, the first division of French football. The club is historically one of the most successful clubs in France. However, it suffered relegation in the 2010–11 season. Because of the popular appeal of living in Monaco and the lack of income tax, many international stars have played for the club, such as French World Cup-winners Thierry Henry, Fabien Barthez and David Trezeguet. The club reached the 2004 UEFA Champions League Final, with a team including Dado Pršo, Fernando Morientes, Jérôme Rothen, Akis Zikos and Ludovic Giuly, but lost 3–0 to Portuguese team F.C. Porto. The Stade Louis II also played host to the annual UEFA Super Cup (1998-2012) between the winners of the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.

The women's team, OS Monaco, competes in the women's French football league system. The club currently plays in the local regional league deep down in the league system, however once played in the Division 1 Féminine in the 1994–95 season, but were quickly relegated. Current French women's international goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi had a short stint at the club before going to the Clairefontaine academy.

The Monaco national football team represents the nation in association football and is controlled by the Monégasque Football Federation, the governing body for football in Monaco. However, Monaco is one of only two sovereign states in Europe (along with Vatican City) that is not a member of UEFA and so does not take part in any UEFA European Football Championship or FIFA World Cup competitions. The team play their home matches in the Stade Louis II.


Monaco's national rugby team, as of October 2013, is 91st in the International Rugby Board rankings.[145]

Other sports

View of Port of Hercules, in the La Condamine district

The Monte-Carlo Masters is held annually in neighbouring Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, as a professional tournament for men as part of tennis' ATP Masters Series.[146] The tournament has been held since 1897. Golf's Monte Carlo Open was also held at the Monte Carlo Golf Club at Mont Agel in France between 1984 and 1992. Monaco has also competed in the Olympic Games, although, as of 2012, no athlete from Monaco has ever won an Olympic medal.

The 2009 Tour de France, the world's premier bicycle race, started from Monaco with a 15 km (9 mi) closed-circuit individual time trial starting and finishing there on the first day, and the 182 km (113 mi) second leg starting there on the following day and ending in Brignoles, France.[147]

Monaco also stage part of the Global Champions Tour (International Show-jumping). Acknowledged as the most glamorous of the series, Monaco will be hosting the world's most celebrated riders, including Monaco's own Charlotte Casiraghi, in a setting facing out over the world's most beautiful yachts, and framed by the Port Hercule and Prince's palace.[148] In 2009, the Monaco stage of the Global Champions tour took place between 25–27 June.

The Monaco Marathon is the only marathon in the world to pass through three separate countries, those of Monaco, France and Italy, before the finish at the Stade Louis II.

The Monaco Ironman 70.3 triathlon race is an annual event with over 1000 athletes competing and attracts top professional athletes from around the world. The race includes a 1.9 km (1.2 mi) swim, 90 km (56 mi) bike ride and 21.1 km (13.1 mi) run.

Since 1993, the headquarters of the International Association of Athletics Federations,[149] the world governing body of athletics, is located in Monaco.[150] An IAAF Diamond League meet is annually held at Stade Louis II.[151]

A municipal sports complex, the Rainier III Nautical Stadium in the Port Hercules district consists of a heated saltwater Olympic-size swimming pool, diving boards, and a slide.[152] The pool is converted into an ice rink from December to March.[152]

From 10-12 July 2014 Monaco inaugurated the Solar1 Monte Carlo Cup, a series of ocean races exclusively for solar powered boats.[153],[154]



The Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra was established in 1863. Monte Carlo also has a ballet and an opera.[155]


Primary and secondary schools

Monaco has ten state-operated schools, including: seven nursery and primary schools; one secondary school, Collège Charles III;[156] one lycée that provides general and technological training, Lycée Albert 1er;[157] and one lycée that provides vocational and hotel training, Lycée technique et hôtelier de Monte-Carlo.[158] There are also two grant-aided denominational private schools, Institution François d'Assise Nicolas Barré and Ecole des Sœurs Dominicaines, and one international school, the International School of Monaco.[159][160]

Colleges and universities

There is one university located in Monaco, namely the International University of Monaco (IUM), an English-language school specializing in business education and operated by the Institut des hautes études économiques et commerciales (INSEEC) group of schools.


The flag of Monaco is one of the world's oldest national flag designs. The flag of Monaco is identical to the flag of Indonesia, except for the ratio of height to width.[161]


The Monaco-KOCHI station is served by the SNCF, the French national rail system. The Monaco Heliport provides helicopter service to the closest airport, Côte d'Azur Airport in Nice, France.

Panoramic view of La Condamine, Monaco

See also


  1. ^ For further information, see languages of Monaco.
  2. ^ Percentage based on a 35,000 person population.


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External links

  • Official Government Portal
  • Official website of the Prince's Palace of Monaco
  • Chief of State and Cabinet Members
General information
  • Monaco entry at The World Factbook
  • Monaco from UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • Monaco at DMOZ
  • Monaco from the BBC News
  • Monaco information about Monaco
  • History of Monaco: Primary documents
  • Geographic data related to Monaco at OpenStreetMap
  • Official website for Tourism
  • Your Monaco Monaco travel guide
  • Discovery of Monaco
  • Monaco Job Portal
  • Order of the doctors of Monaco (French)
  • French Monaco Web portail (French)
  • La Principauté – Le premier journal d'actualité de Monaco
  • Monaco Today, a daily newsletter in English,
  • English news portal
  • The Monaco Times – a regular feature in The Riviera Times is the English language newspaper for the French – Italian Riviera and the Principality of Monaco provides monthly local news and information about business, art and culture, people and lifestyle, events and also the real estate market.
  • Monaco-IQ Monaco information and news aggregator
  • Monte-Carlo Italian Monte-Carlo unofficial portal
  • International School of Monaco

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