It used to be the meeting place for aristocrats and artists.
French Riviera or Cote D’azur is the exact same thing, the Mediterranean coastline of southeast France. That includes also the sovereign state of Monaco, the hot spot for rich people.
This coast began its “career” in tourism pretty early in the 18th century when lots of aristocrats, especially British, used to spend their winter holidays here. One century later, when the railway arrived, the place became more popular between upper classes from Great Britain, Russia and some other countries. We talk about Queen Victoria, Prince of Wales, Rothschild Family or extremely famous artists like Matisse or Picasso spending their holidays here.
There has to be no major surprise for anyone that French Riviera, especially Monaco is an expensive destination. It is actually how they won their reputation, by being the hot spot for people with money. This is the reason why you’ll always pay double or triple or sometimes more for a glass of champagne or a coffee when having it on Cote D’azur. “When Grand Prix Formula One takes place, prices will exceed your wildest imagination”, a guy from the hotel told me this when we were talking about tourism in Monte Carlo. History of the entire coastline is very interesting and worth being read about.
Most densely populated country in the world
Monaco is a small part of the French Riviera; they call it a city-state or microstate. It is the second smallest and the most densely populated country in the world. Wherever your eyes turn to, buildings will surround you, one upon the other. Majority of them were raised between the 60’s and 80’s when another pick of the glory was happening. First question that will pop in your mind when being in Monte Carlo is why do people come here? Well, place is nice, Mother Nature was really generous with this part of France too. It became like this because of its notoriety and the thing is you don’t go to Monaco when you feel like being isolated and want some privacy. In my opinion you go there when some show off is required, in one way or another. Place was so urbanized because of its fiscal incentives and the desire of many people for having their official address here.
A parade of the most expensive cars
I remember this round about from the small city I used to live in. It is in fact the old center of the city where some terraces were arranged and was becoming the perfect spot for showing people what’s your “status”. You go there to show your car, your clothes, and your money. Well, I think I’ve seen something similar in Monte Carlo, but of course at another level. There is this small roundabout in front of Monte Carlo Casino and one terrace where you pay 20 euros for a glass of champagne just to enjoy the spectacle offered by the most expensive cars passing by: Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bentley, Bugatti and so on. So, when you want to see all these cars together you sit by that terrace. I am not saying it is a wrong thing to do, when you have this car just jump in and roll to Monte Carlo.
5 things that you can really enjoy in Monte Carlo
There are some things that I really enjoyed in Monte Carlo:
- French Mediterranean cuisine is exquisite. My guess is that many celebrity chefs are coming here to present their mastery. We had an entire article about places you must try when it comes to food (here)
- Drive a sports car. When you don’t own a sports car, like Ferrari, being in Monte Carlo is a great opportunity to try one. It won’t take your adrenaline at maximum because there are some speed limits you need to obey, but even though can be a nice thing to do.
- Have lunch or dinner up on the coast, highest place you find a terrace. Chateau Eza for example: takes your breath away.
- Stay at Fairmont hotel and order breakfast in the room. They treat you so nice. That’s a spoiling moment!
- Spend an hour at the Casino, can be fun!
The merit of Monaco being still a “wanted” place for rich people and having its glory goes to its leader, I think. They definitely knew how to preserve the monarchy and stay sovereign. They attracted the highest number of millionaires and billionaires and seem to have the world’s lowest poverty rate. I’ve read this article in a rich people magazine while being in Monte Carlo and the “debate” was about how much of the wealth is being inherited in our days and how much is just made overnight (I remember it was 20% to 80% compared to 80%-20% decades ago). The article was even going further and some how blaming “the newly rich people” for interfering with “old aristocrats” and ruining the reputation. Well, the truth could be somewhere in the middle and finding it out is not our job. Our thing to do is travel as much as we can and come in front of you with our experiences so that your planning of a beautiful holiday becomes much easier.