Stage town for the eighth time.

City-state and principality

Population: 39,500 (Monegasques)  

Specialities: barbagiuan (ravioli)

Personalities : Grimaldi family (Prince Albert II, Caroline de Monaco, Stéphanie de Monaco, Charlotte de Casiraghi, Prince Rainier III, Grace Kelly, Prince Louis II, Prince Albert 1er ), Léo Ferré (singer), Armand Gatti (theatre), Stella Amondi (pianist), Charles Leclerc (F1 driver), Daniel Elena (rally co-driver), Danièle Thompson (scriptwriter), Alain Ducasse (chef) and a host of famous residents, including cycling champions such as Tadej Pogacar, Egan Bernal, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte, Peter Sagan and Philippe Gilbert.

Sport: AS Monaco (football, Ligue 1), Monte Carlo Country Club (tennis). Competitions: Monaco Grand Prix (F1), Monte Carlo Rally (rally), Monte Carlo Masters (tennis), Herculis Meeting (athletics), Monaco Marathon, Mare Nostrum (swimming), Monte Carlo Jumping. 

Economy: Monaco derives most of its income from services, commerce and real estate, which generate around 40,000 jobs. Tourism is only the third largest source of revenue, and the Monte Carlo casino contributes less than 4% to the state budget. Monaco's largest private employer is SBM Offshore, a petroleum engineering company. Manufacturing accounts for 6.2% of the Principality's GDP.

Festivals: Sainte-Dévote Festival (27 January) / Prince's Day (19 November) / Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival / Monte-Carlo Television Festival / Top marques (Motor Show) / Printemps des Arts (April)  

Motto: With God's help  

Websites / social /



Monaco, home to almost fifty professional cyclists, has hosted the Tour de France seven times since 1939, but the race's most memorable passage through the principality was in 1964. On that day, Raymond Poulidor thought he had won the race in the final but made his effort one lap too early. Jacques Anquetil took advantage of this blunder to win the race and pocket a crucial minute's bonus in the final classification, since he was 55 seconds ahead of Poupou in Paris! The Grand Départ of the 2009 Tour took place in Monaco, with Fabian Cancellara winning the inaugural time trial ahead of Alberto Contador and Bradley Wiggins.



  • Princely Palace of Monaco

Construction: 1191

History: the Palace of Monaco, commonly known as the Princely Palace, has been the official residence of the Prince of Monaco since 1297. It is located at the top of the Monaco Rock, sixty metres above the Mediterranean Sea. Originally built as a fortress for the Republic of Genoa, the building has been bombarded and besieged by numerous foreign forces over the course of its history. Since the end of the 13th century, it has been the home of the House of Grimaldi, the family that conquered the area in 1297. The Grimaldis governed the principality as feudal lords and since the 17th century as sovereign princes. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Palace and its occupants became the glamorous, jet-setting symbol associated with the glitz and glamour of Monte Carlo and the Côte d'Azur. Today, the palace is the residence of Albert II, Prince of Monaco.

Characteristics:  the Palace is open to tourists (open daily from June to September, from 9.30 am to 6 pm and in October, from 10 am to 5 pm): the 17th-century "Grands Appartements", including the Hercules Gallery, the Italian Gallery, the Louis XV Salon, the Mazarin Salon, the Throne Room, the Palatine Chapel and the York Room, which contains a Louis XIV-style table adorned with a marble mosaic and on which all the official acts of the sovereign family are traditionally signed. The Saint Mary's Tower, where the banner indicating the sovereign's presence in the palace flies, the clock tower, the courtyard of honour covered in a geometric mix of pebbles and flagstones and its seventeenth-century staircase, as well as the sumptuous frescoes by Genoese artists from the sixteenth century.

Special features: the palace is much more than a tourist attraction and museum. It remains a fully functional palace and the seat of Monaco's government. It employs around 270 people in 18 different trades (gardeners, painters, masons, cooks and, in particular, 110 carabinieri).  

  • Monaco Grand Prix

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the oldest and most prestigious F1 races in the world, held in the Principality of Monaco on an urban circuit designed in 1929 by Antony Noghès, son of the president of the Automobile Club de Monaco, under the auspices of Prince Louis II of Monaco. It was organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco, founded under the name of Sport Vélocipédique de Monaco in 1890, which also organises the Monte-Carlo car rally. The inaugural race was won on 14 April 1929 by William Grover-Williams, driving an official Bugatti made by the Molsheim-based manufacturer. Since then, the principality has gone fourteen years without a Grand Prix. The Monaco Grand Prix was the second round of the first Formula 1 World Championship, on 21 May 1950. The record holder for victories in the event remains Brazilian Ayrton Senna, who won six times between 1987 and 1993.  

  • Casino de Monte-Carlo

Construction: 1878-1879

Style: Art Nouveau.

History: The current building was designed by Charles Garnier, who also built the adjoining Monte-Carlo Opera House. It follows on from the first casino, which was inaugurated on this site in 1863 by Prince Charles III of Monaco and François Blanc, founder of the Société des Bains de Mer de Monaco. Today, the Société des Bains de Mer, now Groupe Monte-Carlo SBM, still owns and operates the Monte-Carlo casino.  

  • Hotel de Paris

Built: 1864.

Style: Art Nouveau.

History: this prestigious palace was founded on the site of the Casino de Monte-Carlo by Prince Charles III of Monaco and François Blanc, based on plans by French architect Godinot de la Bretonnerie. It was inaugurated in 1864, next to the future Café de Paris (1868), Casino de Monte-Carlo and Opéra de Monte-Carlo (1879), and Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo (1896). The facades designed by architect Édouard-Jean Niermans date from 1909-1910, and feature frescoes by painter Paul Gervais. Additions were made to the building in 1920 and again in 1959-1960. After an auction of the old furniture in 2015, the hotel has been renovated until September 2018.   

Characteristics:  the hotel has 113 rooms, 96 of which are suites, including the Rainier III and Princess Grace suites, the most prestigious, furnished with furniture from the princely palace. The hotel has three restaurants, the most famous of which is the Louis XIV, run since 1987 by Alain Ducasse and awarded three Michelin stars.

Special features: the vast entrance hall is adorned with an equestrian statue of King Louis XIV, whose horse's lustrous right knee is reputed to bring gambling luck to those who rub it.  

  • Cathedral of Notre-Dame Immaculée

Construction: 1875 to 1903.

Style: Romanesque-Byzantine.

History: the cathedral was built on the ruins of the church of Saint-Nicolas, itself built in 1252 and destroyed in 1874. In the alley next to the building, you can see a bell from the former church of Saint-Nicolas, cast in 1484, which was rung for the liberation of the country (expulsion of the Spanish garrison) by Prince Honoré II Grimaldi in 1641. The foundation stone of the current cathedral was laid on 6 January 1875 and the work was completed on 12 November 1903. It was consecrated in 1911.

Characteristics:  this Romanesque-Byzantine cathedral was built in white La Turbie stone from 1875 by Prince Charles III on the site of the former church of Saint-Nicolas and dedicated to Notre Dame de l'Immaculée Conception. It is 72-metres long, 22-metres wide and 18-metres high.

Special features: in the ambulatory, the cathedral contains the tombs of most of the princes buried there, including those of Rainier III and his wife Princess Grace (who were married in the cathedral in 1956).  

  • Oceanographic Museum

Built: 1889

Opening: 1910.

Style: neo-baroque.

History: after undertaking many years of research and oceanographic expeditions around the world from the age of 22 (in 1870), Prince Albert I decided in 1885 to create a marine biology laboratory. The idea matured after the great success of the presentation of his scientific collections at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1889, with the idea of showcasing his collections and disseminating new knowledge about the sea and its rich biodiversity.

Characteristics:  The plans for this imposing, monumental and spectacular neo-baroque palace-museum, dedicated to the Mediterranean Sea and oceanography, were drawn up at the end of the 19th century by French architect Paul Delefortrie. This 6,000 m2 monument is the most imposing on the Rock (along with the Palace of Monaco and Notre-Dame-Immaculée Cathedral). Built into the side of a cliff 85 m high, it comprises around a hundred tanks housing a major collection of 350 species of fish, over 6,000 specimens and more than 600,000 visitors a year.

Special features: to mark its centenary, in 2010 the museum presented an exhibition of visual and pictorial works by the British artist Damien Hirst: Cornucopia. More than 60 works are on display, ranging from paintings on canvas to marine animals in formaldehyde and prehistoric animal skeletons. The highlight of the visit was the 33-tonne aquarium containing a great white shark at the entrance to the museum.

Trivia: 1905, the first helicopter flight in history took place in Monaco's oceanographic museum, at the instigation of the Prince and Maurice Léger, a French engineer and helicopter inventor.  

  • New national museum

Opening: 2008.

Characteristics:  the new National Museum of Monaco showcases the Principality's heritage and presents contemporary art through temporary exhibitions in its two buildings: Villa Paloma and Villa Sauber. Villa Sauber is one of the last Belle Époque villas in Monaco. In the early 1900s, it belonged to the Blanc family, who played an important role in the development of the Société des Bains de Mer and the casino. In 1904, English painter Robert Sauber bought the villa from Edmond Blanc and set up his studio there. Villa Paloma was built in 1913 by American Edward N. Dickerson and renamed Villa Paloma in 1932. Purchased by the Monaco State in 1995 and dedicated to the New National Museum in 2008, the villa was then refurbished to provide 875 m2 of exhibition space.


  • Barbagiuan

Monaco's unmissable culinary speciality is barbagiuan. This is a small turnover or large ravioli filled with stuffing and fried in oil. The stuffing is made from chard or spinach leaves (squash in winter), rice, leeks and onions.


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