The words “Monte-Carlo” have long been associated with wealth, luxury, and extravagance. Monte-Carlo has been the setting for movies, including two James Bond movies and one Hitchcock film, has inspired car designs, and has even inspired imitation hotels in Las Vegas. Officially an administrative district located in the French Riviera, the Mediterranean coastline of France, Monte-Carlo is not actually a part of France but a part of a sovereign nation, the Principality of Monaco. While the little nation of Monaco might be the second smallest in the world, the fame it’s earned for its casinos is very big.
A Short History of Monaco’s Most Famous District
Monaco has been inhabited and fought over since ancient Greek and Roman times. During the 13th century, the area that is today Monaco was conquered by the Grimaldi family, a powerful clan from Genoa, Italy. The Grimaldis have ruled Monaco in some fashion ever since.
In the 19th century, the Grimaldis fell upon hard times. Revolting towns threatened to destroy the Grimaldi family once and for all. Princess Caroline, who was the real “power behind the throne” during her husband Prince Florestan’s rule in the 1860s, urged the development of a spa and resort in Monte-Carlo in order to save the House of Grimaldi from bankruptcy. It was a strange idea at the time; Monte-Carlo was an almost backwards area that didn’t even have roads connecting it to Nice, the nearest sizable French city. The Monte-Carlo Casino was not immediately successful, but by 1878 it was making a handsome profit for the little nation.
Monte-Carlo and Its Casinos Today
Monte-Carlo’s casino completely transformed Monaco into one of the world’s foremost hotspots for luxurious vacations and fun. Besides being home to the Monte-Carlo Casino, it’s also home to the European Poker Tour Grand Final, the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, the Monte-Carlo Rally, multiple boxing championship bouts, and the Monte-Carlo Masters tennis tournament.
The area is rife with luxury resort hotels, including the famous 5-star Hotel de Paris, where guests enjoy access to a private beach, a world-famous spa, and multiple restaurants featuring fine dining.
Although visitors to Monte-Carlo can enjoy the Mediterranean Sea, the Monte-Carlo Opera House, many unique museums, and the Monte-Carlo Cathedral, most visitors to the area come for the gambling. The Monte-Carlo Casino, also known as the Casino de Monte-Carlo, is certainly the most famous and oldest casino in Monte-Carlo, but it is not the only one. There are four other casinos in Monte-Carlo, including the Cafe de Paris, which, without a formal dress code, is known as the most relaxed of the casinos; The Sun, the Monte Carlo Bay, and the Monte Carlo Sporting are the other three casinos in the area. Together, the five casinos have made Monaco the richest nation on Earth.
Don’t Pass Up the Chance to See Monte-Carlo
The country of Monaco may be only roughly one square mile, but its influence on Europe and on popular culture around the world is no small matter. If you’re planning a trip to the South of France, don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind destination.
Written by: K. Singleton