France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Monte Carlo, Monaco Guide
An independent principality in theory, Monaco and its capital city of Monte Carlo are easy to visit—and interesting—while you're on France's Côte d'Azur.





The tiny Principality of Monaco, sandwiched between Nice and Menton on France's Côte d'Azur (map) is a sovereign, constitutional monarchy ruled by a hereditary prince of the Grimaldi family.

Just over 2 square kilometers (0.78 square miles) in size, with a population of about 36,000, it is the most densely-populated country in the world. With no income tax and low business taxes, it has become a banking and business center, and a tax haven for high-income individuals who want to keep what they receive.

Though a member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe, Monaco is not formally a member of the European Union, although it cooperates in some EU policies and uses the euro as its currency. By treaty, France handles Monaco's defense matters.

Visiting Monaco

For travelers, Monaco is a delightful historical anomaly: a mini-kingdom surrounded by France, but with a different personality and appeal because of its history.

It's simple to include a visit to Monaco in your trip to France's Côte d'Azur: no Customs or Immigration controls when you pass from France into Monaco or vice-versa, no different currency. Pretty much everything is the same as in France...except that you're in Monaco.

Go to Monaco and its central district of Monte Carlo to visit the posh, renowned Casino de Monte-Carlo, to gawk at the huge yachts in its harbors and the expensive cars that pull up to discharge their wealthy passengers at the 5-star, 182-room, celebrity-stuffed Hôtel de Paris right next to the Casino. More...

Monte Carlo, Monaco, France
View of Monte Carlo, Monaco...

The public buses and trains that run along the Côte d'Azur all stop in Monaco, making transport easy. More...

Continue northeastward 16 km (10 miles) on the train or highway and you'll be in Italy.

What to See & Do

Monte Carlo


Côte d'Azur Transport

Côte d'Azur



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The Opera, Monte Carlo, Monaco

Le Grand Théâtre, home of the
Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Monaco.

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