30+ Facts About Life in Monaco Where There’s a Millionaire Around Every Corner
The sea, sports cars, yachts, and palm trees, these are the things you think of when you hear someone talk about “Monaco.” This place can be easily called a paradise for millionaires and celebrities. The Principality of Monaco is a tiny but very prosperous country. Besides, it has a rich history, a variety of entertainment, and excellent weather almost all year round. But what is hidden behind such a beautiful and alluring “façade”?
At Bright Side, we decided to find out what life is like in this tiny and luxurious country.
- Monaco is a sovereign city-state and microstate on the French Riviera, close to the Italian region of Liguria. It’s one of the few countries that have a border with just one country (in Monaco’s case, it’s France). But visas are not required between these 2 countries. By the way, formally, Monaco is not a member of the European Union, but they do use the euro as their currency.
- Monaco has been governed under a constitutional monarchy since 1911, with the Sovereign Prince of Monaco as head of state. Currently, Monaco is ruled by the House of Grimaldi, with Prince Albert II, the son of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly, as its head. For a long time, Albert was not officially married, although he did have children. However, he married Charlene Wittstock, a former South African swimmer, in 2011. 3 years later, the couple had twins — a girl and a boy, who became the heir to the throne.
- In 2002, a new treaty between France and Monaco specified that, should there be no heirs to carry on the Grimaldi dynasty, the principality would still remain an independent nation rather than revert to France. Monaco’s military defense, however, is still the responsibility of France.
- Of course, the lives of monarchs in Monaco are always under the watchful eyes of their subjects. Last year, Princess Charlene shocked everyone with her new hairstyle that had shaved temples. In an interview, she said that this haircut was her decision, “I wanted it for a long time, the style pleases me. That’s all.” Of course, this look on royalty provoked all kinds of comments but, as Charlene noted, “We’re in 2021, and in these times which are so troubling, so difficult, there are other, much more important subjects which deserve our attention.”
- Monaco is the second-smallest country by area in the world, only Vatican City is smaller. Its area is just 0.81 square miles, meaning that you can explore the entire principality on foot. At the same time, Monaco is the most densely populated sovereign state in the world.
- Today the principality is divided into 3 municipalities: Monaco-Ville, the old city and the seat of the government of the principality that is on a rocky promontory extending into the Mediterranean, Monte Carlo, the principal residential and resort area with the Monte Carlo Casino in the east and northeast, and La Condamine, the southwestern section that includes the port area, Port Hercules.
- Monaco has the world’s highest GDP nominal per capita and the world’s lowest poverty rate. It also has an unemployment rate of 2%, with over 48,000 workers who commute from France and Italy each day. Also, the country has the highest number of millionaires and billionaires per capita in the world.
- The principality attracts wealthy people from all over the world because there is no income tax and low taxes on business. However, things are not that simple. Currently, there are about 38 thousand residents living in Monaco, while, according to 2020 data, only 9,573 people were citizens of this tiny country.
- The fact is that it’s really difficult to gain citizenship and a passport from Monaco. The majority of people living there have residence permits. The subjects of the principality are called Monegasques. There are quite a few famous people among the Monegasques. For example, brothers Charles and Arthur Leclerc, who are Formula One racing drivers (see the photo below).
- In the principality, you can neither gain immediate citizenship by the right of birth on its territory, nor by marriage to a Monegasque. Being a citizen of Monaco is a privilege to be earned. Only the Prince of Monaco decides who can get a passport to his country.
- A foreign woman that has been married to a Monegasque for 10 years is allowed to apply for citizenship, provided they still live with their spouse. In cases of widowhood, a woman can apply if she proves she didn’t remarry.
- If you have lived in the territory of the principality for at least 10 years after turning 18, then you can also apply to the prince with a request for naturalization. People doing this must also give up any foreign nationality and no longer be tasked with performing national service abroad.
- He will then decide whether the applicant’s personality is worthy of this favor. To do this, he must receive recommendations from 3 government sources: the Mayor of Monaco, the Minister of State, and the President of the National Council. At the same time, neither the applicant’s wealth nor their status can guarantee citizenship. However, if a candidate is actively involved in charity work, this can work in their favor.
- In 2020, there were more women than men among Monaco’s citizens: 5,222 versus 4,351.
- To reside in Monaco, you must have an account with a local bank, and an impressive deposit is required to open it. But before you open an account, a bank employee will carefully check the sources of your funds. Without a bank account, you won’t be able to rent an apartment or get a SIM card.
- Moreover, there are no classic bank branches: their doors are always closed, and to get inside, you need to ring a special bell. The bank’s clients have a personal banker who performs the responsibilities of a financial advisor and manages their accounts. For example, they can pay apartment bills at your request. But you won’t be able to receive SMS notifications about the operations performed, since funds are debited with delays of up to several weeks.
- By the way, if someone sends you a certain amount of money, it won’t be credited immediately. First, you will have to provide the bank with information about the source of this money, the sender, etc. For example, if you sold a car, you have to show a sales contract. If you received a payment, you will be asked to attach an employment contract.
- In Monaco, you can often find cars that have parking tickets on their windshield! Locals say this is done on purpose. The fact is that according to the law, a resident of the principality must spend at least 6 months on its territory in order to receive tax benefits. However, many wealthy people like to travel and move around the world, so they often only create the appearance of their presence in Monaco. For example, they ask their driver to park their car improperly in the city, so that later the owner will receive a fine, which will confirm the fact that they were in Monaco. Also, sometimes the driver is left with the keys to the apartment so that they can turn on the light and run the water there from time to time.
- Many people pay attention to how a person looks. There is a certain dress code in the principality. For example, you can only wear a swimsuit or walk shirtless on the beach. You can also only remove your shoes on the beach, otherwise you will be fined. You’re prohibited to wear shorts in some hotels and other public places. Also, you may not be allowed into many places when wearing a backpack or sneakers.
- The principality has 10 public schools, 2 private schools, and one international school. Public schools are free here. Children attend school for 12 years, and the learning process is divided into 4 stages: primary school, secondary school, college, and lyceum. Meaning, that during the last few years, children focus on the subjects that will be useful to them in their future careers. Children spend quite a lot of time at school — from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- By the way, all students study the Monegasque dialect. The problem is that there are much fewer Monegasques living in the country than there are French, and only the older generation speaks Monegasque now. So, if children don’t study it at school, the language may disappear.
- There is one university in Monaco. The teaching is conducted in English there. It specializes in training managers for international premium companies. One of the most popular areas is Luxury Management. After graduation, you can become a manager in a premium car dealership, a manager of a 5-star hotel, or a specialist in the procurement of luxury clothing or jewelry.
- The minimum salary in Monaco is €1,300 per month, the median salary is €4,410 per month. This is not a lot, considering the fact that real estate prices in 2018 reached €100,000 per 1 square meter.
- At the same time, social housing is provided in Monaco. However, only citizens of the principality, the Monegasques, can use this privilege. Many of these apartments have 2 levels. The kitchen, living room, and a bedroom are located downstairs, more bedrooms are located upstairs. You can’t sell this apartment, but you can buy it out from the state at a special price. The number of rooms, as a rule, corresponds to the number of people living in the apartment. For example, if a couple has 2 children, then they are supposed to have a 4-room apartment, but when the children leave, the parents will have to move to a 2-room apartment.
- When children turn 18, they are entitled to their own housing. To do this, they need to make a request and wait a few years.
- Of course, you can always rent an apartment. However, this can only be done through an agency. A tenant wouldn’t communicate or meet with the owner of the apartment — all issues would be resolved through an agent. The agency will take up to 3 monthly payments for their services, and you will also need to make a deposit. In general, it’s customary to pay a year’s rent in advance, but you can agree on regular payments every 3 months. Monthly payments are not accepted here. On average, renting an apartment costs about €3,500 per month.
- Every year, since 1929, Monaco has hosted one of the most popular competitions in motorsports — the Monaco Grand Prix, which is part of the Formula One World Championship. The track runs through the streets of the city. It takes 6 weeks to prepare it, and another 3 weeks to dismantle it after the race. The circuit is narrow and tight and its tunnel, tight corners, and many elevation changes make it perhaps the most demanding Formula One track. One of the drivers compared it to cycling around your living room.
- The principality also has an opera house, a symphony orchestra, and a classical ballet company. Due to their rich social life, the people of Monaco prefer an elegant style when it comes to their looks. If you see a girl with pink or green hair on the street, she will most likely be a tourist. A local resident prefers a more classic look. In fact, it became a news story when Princess Charlene of Monaco got a “half-hawk” buzz cut.
- Monaco has a very high level of security — many people don’t even lock their cars. There are 2 reasons for this. First, there is a rather high concentration of police officers per capita (about 515 officers per 38,000 residents). Second, a huge number of CCTV cameras (more than 1,000 units) are located on the territory of the country.
- There is a very low percentage of crime there: 1 car theft per year, 1 murder every 10 years. And the most sensational case was the theft of a jeweler’s painting, which, of course, was quickly found.
- At the same time, you will have to interact with the police in rather unexpected situations in Monaco. For example, if you need to buy medicine after 8 p.m., you must call the police first to be escorted to the pharmacy. The country has a system of duty pharmacies, and to open them, you need the presence of a law enforcement officer.
- Monaco exhibits a wide range of architecture, but the principality’s signature style, particularly in Monte Carlo, is that of the Belle Époque, which is characterized by the presence of a large number of decorative elements including turrets, balconies, pinnacles, multi-colored ceramics, and caryatids. In the 1970s, Prince Rainier III banned high-rise development in the principality. His successor, Prince Albert II, overturned this Sovereign Order.
- Nowadays, due to the new development, free space in the principality is becoming scarce, so the authorities began to implement a project to create artificial islands around Monaco — like in the UAE.
What do you think about Monaco? Would you want to live there, or, at least, visit this country? Tell us in the comments below.