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Monaco is a city-state as well as the second-smallest country in the world after the Vatican. It is located to the south of France on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Since ancient times, this region has been successively occupied by the Ligurians, the Romans and the barbarians. Finally, in 1297, the Genoese Grimaldi family settled here and has been ruling the state since the last 700 years. They also constructed a fort in 1215 at the site where the present city of Monaco stands.

The small city has beautiful scenery and a mild climate, but few natural resources. The economy thus depends on tourism, spas, gaming and banking. It has developed into an international resort of great beauty and luxury, covering an area of 1.95 sq km. In 2009, it had a population of 32,965.

Geography : 
It is surrounded by France on the north, east and west while the Mediterranean Sea lies to the south. It is located on the French Riviera and is only 16 kms away from the Italian Riviera. The city of Monaco is low lying – a scenic landscape on the shores of the Mediterranean.

It enjoys a Mediterranean type of climate. This means it has dry warm summers and cool wet winters. The breeze from the sea helps to maintain a mild climate throughout the year.

How to reach (transport) : 
In order to reach Monaco city by air, you will have to land at the Nice Cote d’Azure, the second airport in France which is connected to all major European cities as well as with North America and the Middle East. From there, you can reach the city either by using the daily bus service or a short helicopter ride.

It is located on the major motorways of Europe and you can travel to Monaco by road from its surrounding countries. In addition, day trains, overnight trains, high speed trains and express trains connect the city with places like Paris, Genoa and Brussels. There are two ports in Monaco city, namely, Port Hercule and Fontvieille. Cruise ships and pleasure boats from all around the world come here throughout the year.

When to visit : 
The uniquely mild climate of the city makes it ideal to visit throughout the year.

Culture (Fairs and Festivals) and Traditions : 
Monaco is probably one of the most hospitable and cosmopolitan countries on earth. The friendly people and the laid back atmosphere with an emphasis on environmental friendly culture have made the city state a favorite destination among the tourists. At one time, it encouraged spas and casinos and soon there grew an atmosphere of gambling. However, the city has been careful to cultivate a friendly image with a high degree of emphasis on safety and security.

A number of festivals are held in different times of the year. These are : 
  • During summer, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic orchestra performs under the starlit sky.
  • The Monaco Red Cross ball is the high point of social functions and is held at the Monte Carlo sporting club.
  • The world amateur theatre festival is held every four years during the summer.
  • National day is celebrated on 19th November with fireworks, concerts and parades.
  • The day of the Sainte Devote is celebrated on 27th January when a small boat is set on fire in the presence of the ruling family.
  • The Formula 1 Grand Prix, one of the oldest and most prestigious racing events in the world, has been organized here since 1929.
  • Other festivals of Monaco which are hugely popular include the International fireworks festival, the International Circus festival, TV festival, etc.

Points of interest (places to visit) : 
Though it is a small city state, there are a number of places for the tourists to visit. These are:
  • The pedestrian streets of the Monaco Ville – a medieval village in the heart of the city. Lined by museums and souvenir shops, this is a great place to stroll through and relax.

  • The Oceanographic museum and aquarium contains more than 4,000 species of fish and 200 species of invertebrates and is an internationally renowned destination.

  • The Place Du Casino is the most important sight of Monaco and you must visit this even if you do not bet anything. The splendidly decorated casinos are a sight to behold and you can always enjoy gambling in moderation, though stakes of every description are available.

  • The Palais Princier is an architectural jewel and a must-see spot of Monaco.

  • The exotic gardens of Monaco are another spectacular sight. Promenades and belvederes on the sea lined by a vast variety of cacti and succulents make this garden a beautiful spot to visit.

Accommodation : 
You cannot enjoy a good holiday without good hotels to stay and there are plenty of choices in Monaco. There are 15 hotels of varied ranges. There are 5-star hotels like Hotel Hermitage, Hotel de Paris, Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo and the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel. The 4-star hotels include Fairmont Monte Carlo, Meridien Beach Plaza, Port Palace and the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel. In addition, there are 3-star hotels like Ambassador and Columbus and some two 2-star hotels. With a total of 2,400 rooms, Monaco offers quality accommodation for tourists of all classes throughout the year.

Last Updated On : October 22, 2013