Not too many places in the world say opulence, wealth, and prestige more so than the tiny Principality of Monaco. For years this has been the prime destination for the jet-set, the movers and shakers, and the world's elite. Many of whom have their own little private beaches at Lavartto Beach.
There's no checkpoint at the border, which lies between the French and Italian Riviera, that checks your bank statement before letting you in. They might, however, check your passport--and the same entry requirements for France apply here.
But, thanks to its "discreet banking" (oh, that's a great term for keeping your cash away from the tax collector) it's been a haven for the wealthy. This is why Monaco is all about the glitz and glamour, the yachts, and expensive cars.
It'll even cost you to enter its famous Grand Casino in the capital of Monte Carlo. You must carry your passport with you to enter (after paying, of course), since no one under 21 is allowed in. This is the James Bond kind of casino, full of High Rollers.
Within the Grand Casino are a number of restaurants and it offers nightly entertainment. Some say it's over the top, but this is Monaco--everything is over the top.
How Monaco manages to do it, considering it's not even 2 square kilometers, is amazing. And it's still run by the same family more than 700 years later. No one in Monaco's Royal Family is probably more famous than Princess Grace, an actress from Philadelphia who married her Prince Charming. In Monte Carlo's Romanesque Cathedral, by the way.
A number of sites have her name on them, but none may be more beautiful than the Princess Grace Rose Garden. This isn't the only Gardens in town, try to see the St. Martin Gardens and Japanese Gardens too, if you can.
Princess Grace and her husband lived in the Place du Palais, built in 1215. Some say the Throne Room and Courtyard are the most beautiful places in the palace, but the view of the water is also spectacular.
Monaco might be full of the world's wealthy, but for anyone out there with a less full wallet can be rich in knowledge. Monaco boats a good number of museums, like the Stamp & Coin Museum (Monaco's stamps are highly prized by collectors), the Oceanographic Museum (with Aquarium), and a Wax Museum await.
And as with any place that caters to those with some extra cash to throw around, there are spas. After a nice spa treatment, get dressed up for a night at the Opera House.
You won't want to dress up too much for the annual Monaco Grand Prix, where drivers careen around the small winding streets. Too crowded an event for you? Consider taking a helicopter ride, giving you a birds-eye view of the Mediterranean and Monaco.
A fun way of seeing the Old Town of Monte Carlo is the Azur Express, giving tours in four languages. French, English, and Italian are all widely spoken around here--but the tour does it in German, too.
In any language the glitz of Monaco shines on.
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