Majestic Guide – Monaco

A paradise on earth sits on a little more than two square kilometres where the sun, yachts and supercars abound. A place which some of the wealthiest people in the world chose to call home. Welcome to Monaco. The Principality of Monaco and its legendary rock have something to dream about, and it is real. The prestige and reputation of this beautiful province, enclosed in the French department of the Alpes-Maritimes, extend well beyond its borders, so well in fact, that each year tens of thousands tourists from all around the world, engulf the narrow streets of the princely rock. An enchanting site that will no longer be a secret, from its most luxurious hotels to its emblematic Monte Carlo Casino. Not forgetting its boutique’s restaurants, millionaire apartments and its spots for relaxation and pleasure.


The Rock of Monaco has been a home for the area’s early humans from the end of the Paleolithic period, around 400,000 BC, evidence of which has been found in a cave in St. Judist’s Gardens.
During the 6th-century BC, Greek colonists from Phocaeans, Massalia (modern-day Marseille) founded the colony of Monoikos (The name of the settlement derives from the local worship of the Greek demigod Hercules, also later adopted by the Romans).
After the Gallic Wars, Monoikos, which served as a stopping-point for Julius Caesar on his way to campaign in Greece, fell under the Roman control as part of the Alpes-Maritimes province (Gallia Transalpina).

House of Grimaldi.

The Grimaldis, descended from Otto Canella and taking their name from his son Grimaldo, are an ancient and prominent Guelphic Genoese family.
Francesco Grimaldi seized the Rock of Monaco in 1297, establishing the Grimaldi dynasty, under the sovereignty of the Republic of Genoa. The Grimaldis acquired Menton in 1346 and Roquebrune in 1355, expanding their territories.
Honoré II, Prince of Monaco, secured recognition of his independent sovereignty from Spain in 1633 and then from Louis XIII of France by the Treaty of Péronne in 1641. Since then, the area has remained under the control of the Grimaldi family to the present days.

Rainier Louis Henri Maxence Bertrand Grimaldi was born in May 1923 to Prince Pierre and Princess Charlotte. Rainier was the royal couple’s only son and thus, the natural heir to the throne. The Prince reigned for almost 56 years, making him one of the longest ruling monarchs in the history of Europe.
In 1944, Rainier joined the Free French Army to fight against the forces of Nazi Germany. Rainier served with distinction and honour, his relentless courage was recognised by the award of the Croix de Guerre – France’s military cross and was given the rank of Chevalier in the French Legion of Honour in 1947. Following his decommission from the French Army, he was promoted by the French government to a captain in April of 1949 and to a colonel in December of 1954.
After his grandfather’s tragic passing in 1949, Prince Rainier III succeeded to the rule of Monaco and married Grace Kelly in 1956.

Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly wedding ceremony.

Prince Rainier III played a significant role in bringing economic prosperity to the region, and his wife played a large part in promoting the arts and attracting glamour to the small nation. Together they had three children, Stephanie, Caroline and Albert.
Prince Rainier III successfully reformed Monaco’s constitution, improving the economy and reducing its reliance on gambling from 9 per cent of the revenue to three per cent today.
Prince Rainier III was a well-respected monarch and ruled Monaco until he passed in 2005, leaving his son, Prince Albert II, to succeed to the throne.

The ruling Grimaldi family is arguably the most respected royal family in the world and has played a significant role in promoting culture and arts in Monaco. Visitors will find an amazing array of world-class galleries and music performances throughout the year, many of them are directly supported by the royal family. The family has set-up many foundations and charities to promote various causes, which include the Princess Grace Foundation, the Prince Pierre Foundation (promoting culture and arts) and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (protecting the environment).

Prince Rainer III with his children Stephanie, Caroline and Albert

While the principality is the second smallest nation in the world, it punches far above its weight in terms of influence.
Principality finances projects all around the world, from forest preservation to solar energy. In his desire to defend the planet, Prince Albert invests in sustainable development more than 3 million euro a year through his foundation.
On 23 October 2009, Prince Albert became a second person to be awarded the Roger Revelle Prize for his efforts in protecting the environment and advancing scientific research.

Monaco Red Cross Ball is the most important charitable soiree in Europe, and the most glamorous, the Principality’s red cross raises on this event half of funds it needs to look after the disadvantaged.
First held in 1948, it was Princess Grace who, in the 1960s, made the gala into a social event not to be missed. On behalf of the Red Cross, she dove into her address book and invited all her Hollywood friends. Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Roger Moore, Josephine Baker, Shirley Bassey are among the stars that have appeared on stage. The red cross gala became a magnet for the jet set which can mingle with a princely family.
It’s also the evening when Princess Grace chooses for her son Albert to make his entry into society. In the summer of 1974, the heir to the throne attends with his parents for the first time. He sits to the right of Princess Grace, a place he will not quit for the next 8 years. When his mother died in 1982, his father took the helm.
And today it’s the Prince that presides the gala soiree, directing the show.

During her lifetime, Princess Grace was also committed to helping emerging artists realise their career goals. Following her death in 1982, Prince Rainier III established the Princess Grace Foundation-USA as a tribute to her legacy. Since then, and until his death in 2005, Prince Rainier has been active in the oversight and direction of the organisation. The children of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier continue their strong relationship with the country of their mother’s birth. The Princess Grace Foundation benefits a lot from their commitment to its objectives. The Foundation continues its mission to support performing artists in honour of Princess Grace.

Smaller than New York’s Central Park, this graceful destination is bordered by France and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. With its ancient streets full of exotic cars and a natural harbour filled with super yachts.

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View of Monaco. French Riviera

The landscape is beautiful especially with the famous Monaco square.
The nerve centre of the principality, the Place du Casino, is surrounded by three legendary buildings: The Hôtel de Paris, the Café de Paris and Casino de Monte-Carlo.

Although Casino de Monte-Carlo is open for tours during the daytime, the real James Bond magic begins here as the sun goes down and the fortune wheels start to spin.
This architectural jewel, with its wickedly decadent Opera Hall, was dreamt by the wife of Prince Florestan I in the late 19th century. With gambling being illegal in Italy and France, the Casino became a triumph.
Known as a “health spa” to shield it from the church criticism, the cream of European aristocracy flocked to try their luck with lady fortune. Times may have changed but not the nature of Monte Carlo.
Guests from all around the world are still lured here by the balmy weather and a calendar packed with star-studded events.
Monte Carlo Casino is where you’ll find many powerful engines roaring all day long.

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Monte Carlo casino

But while some people find real pleasure in smelling the exhaust fumes of supercars, others prefer, instead, to breathe the sea air. In the Larvotto district, the roaring engines are replaced by the sound of the lapping waves on the beach. Between exploring the sea depths or walking along the champions promenade, there’s always something to do.

Unless you prefer to wander along Princess Grace Avenue where various exhibitions are held, and restaurants, car showrooms and boutiques are located.
The Grimaldi forum where Les Ballets de Monte Carlo and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra regularly perform. This is also the venue where the “EVER” Monaco exhibition held annually.

The Principality of Monaco is the second smallest independent state in the world. In an area of two square kilometres, gardens and parks occupy 470,000 square metres, that is more than 20% of the country’s territory.
The Exotic Garden, the Princess Grace Rose Garden, the Little Africa Gardens, the St Martin Gardens and the Japanese Garden are amongst the best known, but Monaco has many other public and private green spaces.

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The Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Gardens.
This surprising 7000 square meters green space is an authentic work of art, harmoniously blending stone, water and vegetation, where a zen atmosphere reigns. This green sanctuary is a rich mix of Japanese tradition and Mediterranean touches, the result of close collaboration between gardeners from Monaco and Japan.
It’s also undoubtedly worth following the Heritage Trees Trail. Conceived by the Department of Urban Amenities, the Prince Albert II Foundation and the Tourist and Convention Authority, it will give you a complete view of the Principality’s green heritage.

The Prince’s palace is a must-see attraction when you visit Monaco. Erected on a fortress established by the Genoese in 1215. The prince’s palace houses splendour that retraces seven centuries of uninterrupted sovereignty.
Open each year between March 31st and October 14th. Excluding Formula One Grand Prix weekend the grand apartments are accessible to the curious visitor. From the palace square, there is a breathtaking view of Monaco. On the left, it’s Le port Hercule that dominates, on the right, it’s the District of Fontvieille that reveals all its qualities.

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Prince’s palace

Overlooking the Principality of Monaco at 1,150 metres, like a balcony hanging over the Mediterranean Sea, the little town of La Turbie seems to float in the sky, dominated by its immense Trophée d’Auguste (35 metres high).
Built 2,000 years ago by the Romans to the glory of Emperor Augustus, the conqueror of the last Ligurian tribes, the Trophée d’Auguste originally stood 49 metres high and was topped by a colossal statue of the Emperor.

Trophée d’Auguste

Located at La Turbie, on the Alpis Summa, the border between Gaul and Italy and a strategic point on the Aurelian Way, it glorified the unity and power of the Roman Empire. It was used as a stronghold in the 12th century, dismantled by Louis XIV, and was then transformed into a stone quarry. It was subsequently restored by a generous American philanthropist Edward Tuck.

It is the jewel of the town, and a visit to the Trophée and its small Auguste museum is a must.
Today, only a fraction of the tower, with its columns and niches where the statues where placed remained intact. Nonetheless, these imposing remains are still very impressive.
At the foot of the Trophée, the hamlet of La Turbie has preserved the magic of its glorious past virtually intact, in a harmonious mixture of medieval, classical and baroque styles.

La Turbie village

At the top of Caip Ferrat, discover the Villa built during the “Belle Epoque” by Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, with its magnificent art collections, and its splendid gardens.
The audio-guided tour tells the story of Béatrice de Rothschild and provides a fascinating overview of the grand salons and private apartments of the Baroness and her collections.
Famous gardens look out over the sea. Take a stroll through the 9 gardens decorated with columns, waterfalls, ornamental ponds, flowerbeds, and rare species of trees: the Spanish, Florentine, Stone, Japanese, Exotic, Rose, Provençal, French, and Sèvres gardens.
Musical fountains bring the French garden to life every 20 minutes.

Built on the side of Monaco’s fabulous Rocher, the Oceanographic Museum founded by Prince Albert I, Prince Albert II of Monaco’s great-great-grandfather, has been watching over the oceans for more than a century. The Museum is famous all around the globe for its expertise and has more than 6,000 specimens on display.

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Oceanographic Museum of Monaco

From its flourishes on the façades to the décor along the halls, all the aspects of the Museum’s architecture evoke the marine world. Since it was opened in 1910, the Museum, 6,5 square kilometres of which are accessible to the public, has been a global benchmark for loving, preserving and raising awareness of the oceans.

True to its founder’s determination to “bring crashing together the two driving forces of civilisation: art and science”, this Temple of the Sea also opens its doors to contemporary art and hosts major exhibitions such as those created by the artists Damien Hirst, Huang Yong Ping, Mark Dion, Marc Quinn and most recently Philippe Pasqua.

Living in Monaco

Well, why Monaco?
First of all, the quality of life. There you have the sea, the sun, the mountains and all the luxury and cosmopolitan environment., political and economic stability.

Something that is very important for families is the educational system.
Monaco’s educational system meets all the international standards and considered to be one of the best in Europe. The government has implemented a mandatory education for children 6-16 years old.
One of the most acclaimed international schools in the Principality is the International School of Monaco where the majority of expat children are enrolled.
You should also check the Lycée Albert Premier, a very prestigious local school founded in 1910.

The Cost For Residency In Monaco

The cost of Monaco’s residency really lies in the expense of renting a flat added to the overall cost of living in Monaco. Unlike other countries, offering residency programs, applying for residency in Monaco doesn’t require an applicant to invest a specified sum of money in Monaco, nor it is compulsory to purchase a property as a lease contract is enough.
Applicants should bring the documents listed below to ensure smooth processing of their application:

  • Valid passport.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Marriage certificate(s).
  • Any previous divorce certificate.
  • An extract from the criminal record issued by the authorities of the 2 last countries in which you have resided in the past 5 years, before your arrival in Monaco.
  • A registered lease for the Monaco apartment.
  • A new electricity contract for the Monaco apartment.
  • Documents to show evidence of sufficient funds.
  • The official Monaco residency application forms completed and duly signed.
  • Health report for the applicants of 70 years and older.

To complete the Monaco residency process, an official interview will be arranged during which, all the required will be submitted. After that, the Monaco residency application will be processed and approved. This will take approximately 8 weeks for the EU citizens and 16 – 20 weeks for non-EU citizens.

The cost of living

Average rental prices:
If you are moving to Monaco and planning to rent an apartment, we advise not to go during a high peak tourist season, because the accommodation prices go as much as three times the regular price. If you’re familiar with the renting process in Europe, there will be no difficulties, but if it’s your first experience and you don’t speak French, you will need an assistance of a real estate agent.
Rental prices in Monte Carlo are one of the highest, due to the area’s prime location.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly apartment, the bordering towns of France would be a great option. Beausoleil, Cap d’Ail, Eze and Roquebrune Cap Martin offer apartments that are more affordable than the ones in Monaco, without compromising quality.

One-bedroom apartment city centre – USD6,000 – 7,200 pcm
One-bedroom apartment Outside city centre – USD4,200 – 5,000 pcm
Three-bedroom apartment city centre – USD16,400 – 17,500 pcm
Three-bedroom apartment Outside city centre – USD12,000 – USD$14,000 pcm

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Monaco apartments

There are, however, no seasons when it comes to buying real estate in Monaco. In summer or winter, the demand for real estate is incessant, and apartments are sold at prices that are sometimes surreal.

In Monaco, the average cost for essential services (water, electricity, gas and garbage collection) is around €200. Internet connection is approximately €45 per month. A local prepaid mobile call is about €0.20 per minute.

Opening a bank account in Monaco can be completed within a day, and several methods of payment such as chequebooks and debit cards will be available within one week from the date the account was opened.
Persons interested in opening a bank account in Monaco can do so either as a resident of Monaco or as a NON-resident (subject to each bank’s policy). The minimum amount required for a non-Monaco resident to open an account varies from bank to bank. The range can be from €50 to €500,000 (subject to the bank’s policy).

Doing business in Monaco

One of the advantages of Monaco is its tax system. In fact, the Principality chose to abolish its income tax in 1869 — almost two centuries ago – making it the first sovereign zero-tax jurisdiction in Europe.

Something that is very important when it comes to investments is political and economic stability. In fact, almost 83 per cent of investors ranked the political stability at the top of the list, and 63 per cent ranked the economic stability at the top of their list. Principality of Monaco is currently the only country in the eurozone not to be in debt.
So in fact, when investing, either short-term or long-term, it’s vital to try to invest in the politically and economically stable region, and Monaco is a country which can offer you something that none of the other countries in the eurozone can. Principality of Monaco is also the only country in the eurozone not to be in debt.

If you set up a business in Monaco, you can also qualify for residency after obtaining an official document authorising the establishment of your business in the country. Keep in mind, that with a population of roughly 40,000, your best bet is to market to the 50,000+ tourists who visit the country each year.

Even though companies incorporated in Monaco are exempt from taxes, enterprises that have more than 25% of their company revenue derived from outside the country are taxed at a rate of 33.3%. The same rate applies to profits earned from any kind of intellectual property, no matter where the revenue is made.

There is also a value-added tax (VAT) that follows the same rates as in France. The current rate for most goods and services is 19.6%, but there is a reduced 10% rate for specific products, a 5.5% rate for basic needs such as food and transportation, and a special 2.1% rate for media, medicine, and cultural performances.

Finally, when gifted to beneficiaries in the direct line (parents, spouse, or children) there is no gift or inheritance tax. However, if assets located in Monaco are gifted to a brother or a sister of a resident of Monaco, there is an 8% tax due; and if gifted to someone unrelated to a resident of Monaco, there is a 16% tax due.

Business support organisations in Monaco:

There are two chambers in the Principality. The Junior Chamber Monaco is part of the Junior Chamber International organisation, but membership is for 18-40-year-olds only.

For older entrepreneurs, the Chambre de Development Economique (CDE) or Monaco Chamber of Commerce helps companies planning to invest in Monaco. The website includes some statistics about Principality’s economy.

There are many associations instituted in Monaco that help businesses and entrepreneurs to network and share ideas. Here are just a few:

The Association des Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises de Monaco (AFCE) is Monaco’s branch of the Femmes Chefs d’Entreprises (FCEM), founded in France in 1945. It’s an organisation that brings together women entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The Institute of Directors Monaco (IoD Monaco) frequently organises meetings and conferences. Membership is open to individuals who are directors.

[ READ A GUIDE TO DOING BUSINESS IN MONACO]

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