When you think of Monte Carlo, there are several iconic things that will undoubtedly come to mind. For some, it’s the ocean, for others it is the grandeur setting- evocative of wealth. Perhaps Princess Grace comes to mind- or the ever-popular Ian Fleming character James Bond. Here are a few fun facts about Monte Carlo.
Monte Carlo is situated in the principality of Monaco. This is a microstate, in the South of France, located along the French Riviera. Monaco’s three land borders are surrounded by France. At less than a mile in total land area, Monaco is the second smallest nation in the world, and the smallest nation with a coastline. The official language is French, although Italian and English are frequently used. Although small in population and size, Monaco is the highest ranked country in one astonishing category. Despite having merely 3500 residents, Monaco’s GNP is superior per capita to any other country on Earth. That’s right- Monaco is the richest country in the world, in terms of per-capita income. This has earned the country the title of “Richest Place on Earth.”
Because of its universally-recognized association with wealth, Monte Carlo has become a haven to the rich and famous. Opulent “super” yachts are often found in the harbor. The Monaco Grand Prix is world-famous for being one of the most prestigious races in motorsports. Luxurious hotels and rare automobiles are commonplace. The pageantry of having a ruling royal family further reinforces the extravagance associated with this tiny country. The House of Grimaldi, and more specifically, Prince Albert, rule Monaco. The son of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace (Grace Kelly), Prince Rainier is one of the wealthiest monarchs, his assets totaling more than one billion dollars, including interest in the Societe des bains de mer de Monaco, also known as the publicly-traded SBM. This includes the Casino de Monte Carlo, the Opera de Monte Carlo, and the Hotel de Paris.
The flagship of Monte Carlo is the Casino de Monte Carlo. Construction on this casino started in 1858. The casino was profitable the following year, although construction was not completed until 1863. Started by Princess Caroline de Grimaldi, the casino was designed to save her family, and the principality of Monaco, from financial ruin. Although expansions have occurred since that time, the casino largely remains true to form today. Table games of roulette, craps, blackjack, baccarat, and more can be found inside on a daily basis.
Did you know that Monte Carlo prohibits its residents from entering in to the casino for play? Identification is required at each entry point, and citizens of Monaco are not permitted inside. This was done to ensure that the citizens of Monaco are not exploited, and that wealth is attracted from tourists.
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