Monaco, the Paradise of Gamblers and Tax Haven
Just tell me spontaneously and very quickly 3 catch-words if I say Monaco... I bet you said Formula 1, Casino and tax haven. In fact, Monaco is the State of the celebrities and the super sportsmen who have their residence there in a two-room flat in order not to pay any taxes. Those poor people who can only afford a small apartment...
The Princedom Monaco (Principauté de Monaco) is with 192 ha the second smallest State of the world after the Vatican State. There are some agriculturers cultivating a bigger surface than the one of Monaco. Some decades ago, Monaco only had 160 ha. Thus, Monaco's surface has grown for 20%. As the country limits to France at the east, west and north, the only way to extent is to the sea. Thus, some surface has been taken from the sea.
But Monaco also grows into another direction: upwards, towards the sky. There are increasingly traditional houses and villas demolished for the benefit of huge residential blocks. Monaco has approximately 30.000 inhabitants; but barely 5.000 inhabitants do have the Monegasque citizenship. The remaining 25.000 inhabitants are mainly multi-million big income earners who have their main residence in the tax haven Monaco.
Today, Monaco is a world famous city and a State at the same time. Millions of tourists visit every year the tiny Princedom. Hundreds of millions of television viewers watch every year the big award of Monaco. The yellow press reports on a weekly basis about the Prince and the Princesses. The city lives and blossoms during the whole year. But it was not always so; we will have a look into the past.
History of Monaco
Long before our calculation of times, Monaco was already inhabitated. The old greeks founded in Monaco the trade centre Monoikos; some centuries later, the Romans took over the city. But the actual history of Monaco does not begin until the end of the 13th century. Monaco gained a lot of significance as an object of argument between the two Princedoms of the Provence in France and Genua in Italy. Francesco Grimaldi, who was from a prestigious Patrician family of Genua, took the city and built there a significant Princedom that extended up to Menton.
This resulted in countless conflicts about the city. Monaco has been destroyed several times and rebuilt. Contrary to the current inhabitants of these days, the inhabitants of that time had a very hard time, as Monaco did not have any important sources of income. The income of the fishing drastically sank in the 19th entury, the tax incomes from the neighboured places up to Menton were suspended when these places connected to France; moreover, there was not a good traffic connection from Monaco to Menton in the east and/or Nice in the west.
The rise of Monaco did not come until - who wonders - the legendary casino appeared. In the 19th century, the games of chance as roulette in Italy and France were forbidden, so that numerous gamblers travelled to Monaco in order to lose their money there. but these gamblers are not only rich people but also celebrities up to heads of state.
Thus, the casino provided income and visitors. While in the 19th century, the income of the gambling house filled up the treasury, today, those gainings are less than 5% of the national budget. Today, Monaco is mainly financed by the tourism, congresses and the V.A.T. that is paid as the only tax type by its inhabitants and the tourists. In fact, today, 30.000 inhabitants of the city enjoy the tax exemption; for the State, the incomes from the tourism and the V.A.T. are fully sufficient.
The multi-million inhabitants of the city of course have to be somehow protected in the Princedom Monaco. In no other State there are so many policemen per each inhabitant as it is the case in Monaco. In Monaco, one does not need to be afraid from pickpockets or car burglars. If a grave crime happened in the city, the borders to France would be closed in some minutes and nobody would get out without being checked.
Thus, in Monaco one can confidentially park one's Ferrari with an open folding top on the street. Nobody would dare to do this in Marseille or in Nice.
Today, Monaco is a small State of its own within the big State France. The Princedom Monaco forms together with the surrounding France an economic and customes union. Concerning the external political affairs, Monaco is represented and protected by France.
The state Monaco consists on 4 city districts, of which each has its own sightseeings: at the east, there is Monte-Carlo with its tunneled congress center that became famous by the Formula 1 right at the sea and of course its world famous casino. The harbour of Monace is connected to it; the respective city district is named La Condamine. Right behind it, there is the old Monaco, where the Prince Palace is located on the famous rock. And there is also Fontvieille - the part of the city that once belonged to the sea.
Staying over Night and Going Out in Monaco
I cannot recommend anyone to stay over night in Monaco or to go out there in the evening. In a city, where the millionaires have their provisional residence and where the inhabitants do not pay any taxes, one should not ask for a cheap dinner or look for a cheap accommodation. The prices in this city are simply horrendous - it can be also said: adopted...
But those who afford to stay over night in Monaco and to go out there in the evening will have a good chance to see their favourite celebrity or sportsman at the neighboured table of the restaurant. Maybe it does not have to be a posh dinner, a walk through the city can be enough to see one or two multi-millionaires driving their Ferrari.
In fact, there is no other sport in the world where it is possible to see so many posh vehicles in smallest space as it is the case in Monaco. A Ferrari is almost something common in Monaco. Those who have already gazed at one or two twelve-cylinder-sportscars with 500 HP and more in a car showroom will have a good chance to see it with one's own eyes at close range.
Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz