Principality of  Monaco
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Seven Centuries of History.

The Principality of Monaco lies on the southern Mediterranean Sea coast of France, near the border with Italy. It is the second smallest independent state in the world (after the Vatican) and is almost entirely urban.  Monaco covers an area of 1,95 km2, 31 hectares of which have been entirely reclaimed from the sea over the last 40 years. Monaco welcomes 32020 inhabitants, more than 83% of whom are foreigners. Nationals call "Monégasques" number about 5000 and the French represent about 40% of the population.

Monaco is a sovereign and independent state. It has its own government and the head of state is the Prince Albert II. The Constitution of 1962 defines the nature of the government as a constitutional hereditary monarchy.
The Catholic religion is the State religion, but freedom of worship is guaranteed by the Constitution. (Other faiths are also represented)

The beginning:
The ancient history of Monaco probably began with the Ligurian tribe called "Monoïkos" in the 6 century BC. In the year 122 BC the Romans settled in Provence, who were thought to have used the natural harbor to go and fight in Greece. In 1162 the Emperor of the West, Frederic Barbarossa granted maritime dominion of the region to the Republic of Genoa. In the late 13th century, with the Genoa was rife with internal strife and the Grimaldi family (originally from Genoa) was forced to take refuge in Provence. During this period one of the main genoves family called the Ghibellines built a castle on the Rock of Monaco. And it's this fortress that was seized by ruse (he was disguised as a monk) on the 8th January 1297 by the Guelph François Grimaldi. Monaco has been ruled by his family ever since; although they were dispossessed during the French Revolution the Grimaldis have preserved their independence through a mixture of good luck and cunning diplomacy. 

For seven centuries the Grimaldi family has presided over the Principality of Monaco. This rare dynastic longevity is proof of national unity between the Princes and the Monegasque people.

Important dates :

1489: The King of France Charle VII and the Duke of Savoy recognise the independence of Monaco.

1612: Honoré II, Lord of Monaco takes the title of Prince.

1793: After the French Revolution and the King of France death, Monaco became a simple town of France. The Prince and his family were arrested and lost their wealth.

30th May 1814: The Treaty of Paris restored the right of the Grimaldis.

1861, 2nd February: Monaco is restored as an independent principality.

1866 : The "plateau des Spélughes" is renamed Monte-Carlo under the reign of the Prince Charles III.

1869: Inhabitants of Monaco became exempt from personal taxes.

1881: Creation of the red and white national flag.

1911, June 5th: Prince Albert I promulgated the first Constitution .

1918, June 18th:  Treaty of Versailles. France accepts to assure to Monaco "the defense of its independence and its sovereignty and guarantees the integrity of its territory" In return "the Prince of Monaco undertakes, for its part, to exercise its rights of sovereignty in complete conformity with the political, military, naval and economic interests of France."

1929: First Grand Prix of Monaco.

1949: accession of Prince Rainier III to the throne.

1956, April: the Prince Rainier married Miss Grace Patricia Kelly.

1982: Death of Princess Grace in a car accident.

1993: The Principality became member of the United Nations.

1997: 700th Anniversary of the Grimaldi Dynasty.

2002, October 24th:  Signature of a new version of the 1918 treaty with France

2005, April 6th: Death of the Prince Rainier III, the Prince Albert II immediately succeeded him.

2005, July 12th: Accession of the Prince Albert II.


Places of Interest:

Monaco Town / "The Rock":

The old town of Monaco
- The Prince's Palace with the Changing of the Guard which occurs daily at 11:55 a.m.
You can visit the State Apartments during summer. The Palace also welcomes the Museum of Napoleonic Souvenirs and Collection of the Palace's Historic Archives.

- Oceanographic Museum and Aquarium: world-famous research institute founded in 1910, Jacques Cousteau headed it for many years. You can see Cousteau's diving gear and explore the vast aquarium during with "the sharks lagoon".

- Monaco Cathedral: Built in 1875, it houses the tombs of the former Princes of Monaco.

- Saint-Martin Gardens

Monte Carlo:

- Casino of Monte Carlo. Belle Époque monument built in 1878 by Charles Garnier. More than gambling rooms you will visit the "Atrium" paved in marble and the Opera called "Salle Garnier".

- Café de Paris: Brasserie and Gaming rooms.

- Casino Gardens

- National Museum: dolls and automats are the main draw at this museum, which is housed in a villa designed by Charles Garnier surrounded by a rose garden.

- Japanese Garden: 7000m2 of gardens designed by a Shinto Priest right next to the Grimaldi Forum and the Sea.

La Condamine:

- Sainte Devote Church: Little chapel dedicated to the Patron Saint of Monaco.

- The harbour and the new Jetty: Pleasant walk between Mega yachts or the F1 Grand Prix starting grid.

- Aquavision: 55-minute boat trip with underwater vision.


- Exotic Garden, Observatory Caves and Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology: acres of cacti and other succulent plant varieties on a rocky mountainside testifying of Monaco's micro-climate. 60 meters below you'll find the caves full of stalagmites and stalagtites and finally you can visit the prehistoric museum retracing the important steps of human race history.


- Several Museums on the "Terrasse de Fontvieille": Top cars museum, naval museum, stamps and coins museum.

-Princess Grace Rose Garden: 4000 rose trees and more than 150 varieties are represented in this quiet garden.

- Louis II Stadium: Setting of international contests as the UEFA Super Cup or the IAAF Herculis meeting, but especially the home of the ASMFC, the soccer team of Monaco.

- Helipad: possibility to discover Monaco and the Riviera during an helicopter trip.


After you day sightseeings you will surely enjoy Monaco by night and discover Monte-Carlo Nigthlife.

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