All eyes were on the tiny principality of Monaco this weekend as the miniscule city state’s Prince Albert II wed South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock in a civil ceremony at the royal palace.
It was the biggest thing to hit Monaco since Hollywood glamour queen Grace Kelly married Prince Rainer in a ceremony that captured the world’s imagination in 1956. Princess Grace sadly died in a car crash in 1982, ending what many had come to think of as a real life fairy tale.
Monaco is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera, known as Côte d’Azur in French.
Not even two square kilometres (and less than one square mile), it has a population of just under 36,000 people. It is the world’s second smallest country, after Vatican City.
At US$215,163, Monaco has the world’s highest per capita income.
Monaco is a constitutional monarchy. Prince Albert II is head of state.
Inbound tourism is one of Monaco’s key industries. Casino gambling was legalized in 1846. Le Grande Casino de Monte Carlo is its top draw. Other casinos include Le Casino Café de Paris, the Monte Carlo Bay Casino, the Monte Carlo Sporting Club & Casino, and he Sun Casino.
Monaco also has museums, gardens, and walks. It has excellent hotels, fine restaurants, fabulous shopping, and a fascinating array of nightlife. Yachting is another top draw.
The Monte Carlo Rally was launched 100 years ago in 1911. The Monaco Grand Prix has been held in the streets of Monaco since 1955.
Monaco has a mild Mediterranean climate.