Theme: European Christmas Holiday Country: Monaco Languages: French Unit of Currency: Euro Locations: Monte Carlo Year: 2011 Bucket list: Standing on the starting line of the Grand Prix
DO: STAND ON THE STARTING LINE OF THE GRAND PRIX
- Ice skating within the Maritime Alps that run along the French Rivera
Fast-paced Lifestyle in Monaco:
1) The second smallest country and one of the most safest places in the world – Monaco- was the perfect place to explore a morning and get lost for a few hours. With only a 20 minute train ride from Nice, France it was evident that Nice, France has an amazing location and opens its gates to many cool cities within a suitable distance! Oddly enough, it only took 56 minutes to walk through the entire country, which made this distinctive spot roughly the same size as New York’s Central Park!
The locals referred to this beautiful city as a “city-state,” which meant that the entire population lives in only one city. Monaco is considered one of the jewels of the French Rivera, with it being one of the world’s smallest French speaking countries. I asked a local out of sheer curiosity about their military system. It was emphasized that there were only less than 100 people in the military on active duty and if Monaco does get attacked by another nation than France will defeat those invaders in Monaco’s honor.
2) With a population of less than 33,000 individuals and encompassing over 125 nationalities this creates only 20% of Monégasques. I was intrigued to learn about the luxury that Monaco’s government does not tax their residents; more than half of the population is comprised of wealthy foreigners.
It was rumored that Monaco lived off solely on its well-known flamboyant casinos and not the residents of the country. I later revealed that the rumors were half correct – most of their wealth was contributed by tourism and small percentage of casinos! Now that is quite an effective and efficient government system! Speaking of casinos, in Monaco there is a law enforced that states, “Citizens of Monaco are not allowed to gamble, nor even visit the casinos.”
3) One of the events that everyone was talking about was the Monaco Grand Prix. Strangely enough, it took up to 6 weeks to set up the circuit that twirls through tunnels, narrow roads, and curvature roads, while it takes 3 weeks to remove it! The yellow markings indicated the official starting point of the Grand Prix and jogged the realization that I was standing on an icon of one of the most important events in the country!
4) Ice skating in the sunshine and on the newly frozen ice. I have not skated for years, let alone ice skated! It was definitely one of the more fun activities that I have done on the European Christmas Holiday! With Katy Perry and Taylor Swift jamming out of the speakers, it was a great morning! The Hot Chocolate with chocolate flakes and whip cream (known as “Everest”) was a fabulous addition to my time in Monaco. Not to mention the three cheese filled crepes were a delicious snack before heading back to Nice, France!
5) Random famous fact: the Monte-Carlo Casino was the filming location of three James Bond films – “Casino Royale, Golden Eye, and Never Say Never Again!” Monaco really is a classy destination!
Next stop: Paris, France!