Monte Carlo Port

Mediterranean Cruise

Monaco is something of an anomaly in today’s democratic world. Monarchies worldwide have either dissolved completely or they have seen their once absolute power reduced to ceremonial titles. But the Principality of Monaco presses on, with the Grimaldi Dynasty having been in control of these 370 acres since 1297. Although France did manage to annex Monaco in the late 1700’s, the Grimaldi family recovered rule in 1814.

Prince Rainier III is the current ruler of Monaco. His marriage to famous actress Grace Kelly in 1956 was a worldwide event, and elevated Monaco to a sort of fantasyland, with storybook romances and a jolly ruler. Princess Grace had three children, Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, and Princess Stephanie. Grace died tragically in a car accident in 1982, and the mere mention of the accident still conjures up painful memories for locals.

Of particular concern to the people of Monaco is the bachelor status of Prince Albert. A treaty signed almost 100 years ago states that Monaco would become a territory under French protection if the ruling family were to run out of heirs. Albert is still not married, which has the locals a little nervous.

Almost all of the country’s economy is centered around gambling and tourism. Not surprisingly, the economy is doing fine. Mercedes and BMW’s are common here, and the public transportation system is flush with electronic displays keeping track of the buses and trains. Even the train station in Monte Carlo would pass as a tourist attraction in some places. There is no income tax in Monaco, which has made the Principality the chosen home of many of the world’s wealthiest people.






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