French Riviera: Monaco – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite

French Riviera: Monaco – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite


Just below sits Monaco. With barely one square mile
of territory, it’s one of the world’s
smallest countries. Of its 30,000 residents,
less than 10,000 are true Monegasques,
as locals are called. Many of the rest
call Monaco home because there’s
no income tax. Despite overdevelopment, high
prices and mobs of tourists, a visit here is
a Riviera must. And Monaco is a work
in progress. The district of Fontvieille
was reclaimed from the sea. It bristles with luxury
high-rise condos. The new breakwater, constructed elsewhere and towed in, enables cruise
ships to dock. And cars still race,
as they have since 1929, around the principality in one of the world’s
most famous auto races, the Grand Prix of Monaco. The miniscule principality
has always been tiny, but it used to be less tiny. In the 1860s, it lost most
of its territory to France. But the prince built a casino
and managed to connect his domain to the rest
of the Riviera with a new road
and a train line. Humble Monaco was suddenly
on the grand tour map, the place for the vacationing
aristocracy to play. Today, the people of Monaco
have about the world’s highest per capita income, with
plush apartments to match. Its famous casino
allows the wealthy to enjoy losing money
in extreme comfort. If Monaco is a business,
the prince is its CEO. While the casino generates
only a small part of the state’s revenue,
its many banks, which provide an attractive way to protect
your money from the tax man, earn much more. There is no income tax here,
but the prince collects plenty of money in value-added
taxes, real estate taxes and corporate taxes. Nearly all of Monaco’s sights
are packed in a Cinderella neighborhood
atop its fortified hill. Its impressive aquarium, which proudly crowns the
cliff like a palace, was directed by Jacques
Cousteau for 17 years. A medieval castle sat where
Monaco’s palace sits today. The palace guards protect the
ruling Grimaldi family 24/7 and they change
with the pageantry of an important nation. Every day at about noon, tourists pack the square
to witness the spectacle. [ Marching music playing ] The palace square features a
statue of Francois Grimaldi, a renegade Italian
who captured Monaco disguised as a
monk in 1297. This first ruler of Monaco
established the dynasty that still rules
the principality. Today, over 700 years later, the current prince
is his direct descendant. Monaco’s cathedral
holds the tombs of centuries of Grimaldis,
the most-visited one: that of Princess Grace. The glamorous romance
and marriage of the American actress
Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier added to Monaco’s
fairy-tale mystique. Grace Kelly came to Monaco
in the 1950s to star in a movie. She fell in love
with the prince, married him
and adopted the country. Tragically, Monaco’s much-loved
Princess Grace died in a car accident
on the Corniche in 1982.

32 thoughts on “French Riviera: Monaco – Rick Steves’ Europe Travel Guide – Travel Bite

  1. I like the countryside around the town/city but am no so keen on the built up area. Interesting to visit though of course. Thanks for the videos. I enjoy them. Best wishes from England.

  2. Weird Monaco fact I ran into a couple of days ago – it's the world's most densely populated country.

  3. It's amazing how young you look in this video Rick, as compared to the way you look now. Did you drink some special youth concoction or is this just another re-upload of one of your older videos?

  4. I wish someone was allowed to film Monaco palace. You are an excellent choice for it. Also when are you going back for a trip around russia? Way overdue.

  5. One of the major things I want to do in Europe is to visit Monaco and walk the path of the Grand Prix circuit. I’d love to go to that race but that’s a very pricey ticket and I’ve learned that F1 races are better on TV than in person.

  6. Hey Rick, I'm in Oslo and just saw a coach go past me with your name on the front. Are you in Oslo now?

  7. I invite you to visit my country and come to Bangladesh and create a video footage on the history and heritage of Bangladesh !! Hope you enjoy coming here !! I want you to come to my country !! If you want to do this about my country then I will receive you from the airport and bring you to my house !! As long as you are in Bangladesh, wherever you go, I will take you around and feed you and keep you in the best places and show them !! And take you to the biggest beach in the world !! If you agree with my proposal, let me know!

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