Monaco is a tiny principality on the Côte d’Azur. Its destiny changed radically when the casino was opened in 1863. Today, it promotes its image as an upmarket, glamorous destination.
Geography: A rocky promontory overlooking a narrow coastal strip that has been enlarged through land reclamation.
Climate: Mediterranean. Summers are hot and dry; days with 12 hours of sunshine are not uncommon. Winters are mild and sunny.
People and Society: Less than 20% of residents are Monégasques. Around a third are French, the rest Italian, American, British, Belgian, and many others. Nationals enjoy considerable privileges, including housing subsidies to protect them from Monaco’s high property prices, and the right of first refusal before a job can be offered to a foreigner. Women have equal status, but only acquired the vote in 1962.
The Economy: Tourism, gambling, financial services. Banking secrecy laws and tax-haven conditions attract foreign investment. Close links and customs union with France (but not in EU). No resources: depends on imports.
Insight: High-profile social and sporting events attract large crowds each spring, including the Rose Ball, Tennis Open, and Grand Prix
Official Name: Principality of Monaco
Date of Formation: 1861
Total Area: 0.75 sq. miles (1.95 sq. km)
Density: 42,667 people per sq. mile
Languages: French*, Italian, Monégasque
Religions: Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 6%, other 5%
Ethnic Mix: French 32%, other 29%, Italian 20%, Monégasque 19%
Government: Mixed monarchical– parliamentary system
Currency: Euro = 100 cents