Flag of Monaco
A sovereign and independent state, the Principality of Monaco has borders on its landward side with several communes of the French Department of the Alpes-Maritimes; from west to east these are Cap d`Ail, la Turbie, Beausoleil and Roquebrune Cap Martin. Seawards, Monaco faces the Mediterranean.
The population of the Principality consists of 29,972 inhabitants, 5,070 of whom are Monιgasques, 12,047 French and 5,000 Italian (according to the last official census in 1990).
Its surface area is 195 hectares, of which nearly 40 were recovered from the sea during the course of the last twenty years. It lies in a narrow coastal strip which sometimes rises vertically upwards with its highest point at 163 meters. Its width varies between 1050 meters and a mere 350 meters. Its coastline is 4100 meters long.
The Principality has only one commune, Monaco, whose limits are the same as those of the state.
Since the very early days, since the Quaternary Era and perhaps even before, the Rock of Monaco has provided a refuge for primitive peoples, traces of whom have been found in a cave in Saint Martin's Gardens.
The first inhabitants of our area, the Ligurians, probably arrived when the immigrant warriors who spoke an Indo-European language first penetrated into Provence and Liguria.
Ancient authors, the historian Diodorus Siculus and the geographer Strabon, described the Ligurians as a race of mountaineers used to the hardest work and practicing an exemplary frugality.
The legend of Heracles (Hercules) and the name of "Monaco"
The opening of the route which runs parallel to the coast from Italy to Spain, together with the construction of the old fortifications which were found there, were attributed by the peoples of the past to the great hero of Greek mythology, Heracles, known to the Romans as Hercules.
Altars were dedicated to him at the main crossroads of the modest road known as "The Road of Hercules". A complete temple was consecrated to him in the Ligurian port of Monaco. Throughout antiquity, this place was known as Port Hercules. Phoecian and Carthagenian sailors contributed to its prosperity.
The name "Monaco", "Monoikos" in Greek, is nearly always associated with that of Hercules by the ancient writers.
In Greek, Heracles Monoikos may mean "Heracles alone" or "Heracles who has only one temple". This is popular etymology. The name "Monoikos" is certainly a native one and must have its origin in the Ligurian language. It does not appear to be the name of a tribe. The coast and the harbor of Monaco were probably the outlet to the sea for a great Ligurian people of the hinterland, the Oratelli of Peille.
While the Roman period lasted, Monaco was part of the Province of the Maritime Alps. Julius Caesar embarked from its harbor on his way to lead his campaign in Greece.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century, the whole region was ravaged by the barbarians ; this period of invasions lasted until the end of the tenth century. After the expulsion of the Saracens in 975, people began, little by little, to return to live on the Ligurian coast.
The history of Monaco is only known in detail from the thirteenth century. The date of 10th June 1215 marks the birth of the future Principality : on that day, the Genoese Ghibellines led by Fulco del Cassello, who had long since seen the strategic importance of the Rock and was aware of the advantages of the harbor, came there to lay the first stone of the fortress, on whose foundations the Prince's Palace lies today. They had previously obtained from the Emperor Henry VI, the successor of Frederick Barbarossa, sovereignty over the whole country and had acquired the land necessary to carry out their project. The fortress was re-inforced by ramparts which their project. The fortress was re-inforced by ramparts which gradually formed a complete girdle right round the Rock. In order to attract residents, they granted new arrivals valuable privileges such as concessions of land and exemptions from taxes. Monaco thus became, in spite of the small area of its territory, an important place whose possession was to become the subject, during the three centuries which followed, of continual strife, capture and recapture by the representatives of the two parties, the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. The Rock of Monaco was in turn in the hands of the Ghibellines, the Dorias and the Spinolas, supporters of the Emperor and the Guelphs, the Fieschis and the Grimaldis, adherents of the Pope.
Among the families of the Genoese aristocracy belonging to the Guelph party, one of the most brilliant was the Grimaldi family ; its most anciently known ancestor was a certain Otto Canella, Consul of Genoa in 1133, whose son was called Grimaldo. It was a branch of this House of Grimaldi which was, after three centuries of struggle, to gain permanent possession of the sovereignty of Monaco.
1270: The outpost of Genoese power at the frontiers of Provence, Monaco remained until the end of the thirteenth century under the control of the authorities of the Republic, but bitter civil warfare reigned between the aristocratic factions of Genoa from 1270 onwards. In the course of these internal struggles, Monaco became on several occasions the place of refuge of one of the great families engaged in the conflict, the Grimaldis. From these beginnings, and after two centuries of persevering effort, a new lordship, a new State came into being.
In 1296, as a result of one of these party quarrels, the Guelphs and with them the Grimaldis were expelled from Genoa and took refuge in Provence. They had a small army which they used against the fortress of Monaco.
On 8th January 1297, the Guelphs led by Franηois Grimaldi, known as "Malizia" ("the Cunning"), seized the fortress. According to one chronicler, Franηois Grimaldi penetrated the walls in the guise of a Franciscan monk. This was the first capture of Monaco by the Grimaldis; the event is commemorated on their coat of arms where the supporters are two monks armed with swords.
In 1301, the Grimaldis lost control of Monaco. They were only to return thirty years later, thanks to the return to power of the Guelph party.
Charles Grimaldi occupied the Rock on 12th September, 1331. In 1341, Charles I acquired the possessions of the Spinolas in Monaco. Historians consider him to be the real founder of the Principality, to which he added land by purchasing the lordships of Menton and Roquebrune, both of which were to remain Monegasque until 1861. Charles I was the son of Rainier I and the father of Rainier II. These three Grimaldis occupied important positions at the court of the King of France and the Count of Provence. Rainier I, who commanded a fleet of galleys, was promoted Admiral of France by Philip the Fair and won a brilliant victory over the Flemish at Zeriksee in 1304. Charles I placed at the service of King Philip IV an army of crossbowmen who took part in the famous battle of Crecy in 1346 and his fleet took part in the siege of Calais. Rainier II, who never entered Monaco, had a glorious career as a sailor in the service of King John the Good and Queen Joan of Naples. His sons Ambrose, Antoine and John were lords of Monaco in 1419; after a division of the land between the three brothers, the Rock and the Condamine were allocated to John who remained sole master of them until his death in 1454.
John I campaigned all his life for the independence of his lordship which the Genoese were not prepared to abandon. His son Catalan outlived his father by a mere three years, leaving as heiress a daughter who married a Grimaldi of the Antibes branch, Lambert. The successful policies of this lord led in 1489 to the recognition of the independence of Monaco by King Charles VIII of France and the Duke of Savoy. It had thus taken nearly two centuries for the Grimaldis to establish their indisputable sovereignty over Monaco.
From then on, the attempts of the Genoese to recapture the fortress were limited to a siege which lasted several months and which was finally repulsed by the garrison in 1507. The independence of Monaco was again confirmed five years later by Louis XII who declared that the lordship was held by God and the sword. In 1512, Louis XII recognized by letters patent the independence of Monaco and a perpetual alliance with the King of France. This policy was continued by John II and Lucien until the death of the latter, assassinated in 1523 by his cousin Bartholomew Doria. He left only one son of tender years, Honori, whose wardship was given to his uncle Augustin, Bishop of Grasse, who was recognized as lord. Augustin did not receive from Franηois I the support that Charles VIII and Louis XII had given to his father and brothers. Following serious disagreements which arose between him and the French authorities, he entered into negotiations with the Emperor Charles V which ended in 1524 with Monaco being placed under the protection of Spain. This was an act whose consequences were to weigh heavily on the financial situation of the country for more than a century. Its instigator, before his death, was able to assess the gravity of the error which he had committed; the Spaniards only partly fulfilled their undertakings and the garrison which they placed in the fortress remained there almost entirely at the expense of the Monigasques.
At the death of his uncle Augustin in 1532, Honori had not yet attained his majority. It was a Grimaldi from Genoa, Stephen, known as "the Governor" who was his guardian and had the government of the lordship granted to himself for his whole lifetime. The reign of Honorι was only peaceful towards its end; those of his two sons, Charles II and Hercules, who reigned one after the other, were also filled with intrigues and conflicts: Hercules was to perish assassinated in 1604. His son Honori was still a minor; his wardship was entrusted to his uncle the Prince of Valdetare who exercised it until 1616. It was he who persuaded his nephew to take the title of "Prince" and "Lord of Monaco" (1612), titles which were recognized by the Spanish Court and passed on to his successors.
The reign of Honori II witnessed the most brilliant period in the history of Monaco. As soon as he had assumed power, the young sovereign adopted as his policy an alliance with France. The discussions which began in 1630 lasted more than ten years. The Prince received the most favorable support from Cardinal Richelieu and he was assisted in Paris by his cousin John Henry Grimaldi, Marquis of Courbons and Lord of Cagnes and by Marshal de Vitry, the governor of Provence. In 1641, in Pironne, King Louis XIII signed a treaty providing Monaco with the friendly protection of France. This agreement confirmed the sovereignty of the Principality, recognized the independence of the country and maintained its rights and privileges.
A French garrison was placed under the direct orders of the Prince who assumed command of it. There remained the problem of the expulsion of the Spanish garrison which continued to occupy the fortress. Several months later, Honorι II managed to organize as a fighting force a certain number of his subjects to whom he distributed arms ; they succeeded in seizing the main posts, thus bringing about the capitulation of the Spaniards. During the course of the following year, the Prince was received at the French Court and obtained all sorts of honors and privileges. The lordships which had been given to his predecessors by Charles V in the Kingdom of Naples were replaced by those which were to become known in the Principality as the "French lands" : the Duchy of Valentinois, the Viscount of Carlat in Auvergne and the Marquisate of Baux with the lordship of Saint-Rιmy in Provence. Honori II returned to the French court twice where he was magnificently entertained by Cardinal Mazarin. The young King Louis XIV was the godfather of his grandson, the future Prince Louis I.
The embellishment of the Prince's Palace during this reign was striking: first came the building of the South Wing, which contains the Great Apartments, today open to tourists. Honori II gathered admirable art collections in his Palace: more than 700 paintings, many of which were signed by the greatest masters, were hung in the galleries; sumptuous furniture, precious tapestries, pieces of silverware and valuable ornaments provided a decor of great artistic worth which was the marvel of the eminent people whom the Prince invited to visit his Palace. Numerous events were staged during this reign, including those in the field of the arts such as the French and Italian ballets, balls were held and great religious ceremonies took place in the Church of Saint Nicholas.
Honori II died in 1662. He had had only one son, Hercules, who had died as a result of an accident in 1651, leaving a son, Louis, and several daughters. Honorι II had the pleasure of witnessing the brilliant alliance of his grandson with Catherine-Charlotte, daughter of Marshal Gramont. The young princess occupied an important post at the French Court.
Her residence in Monaco was only short; however, she used it to found the Convent of the Visitation, which later became a college and today is the Albert I Grammar School.
She then returned to Paris and became Lady in Waiting to the Princess Palatine. Louis I, who had followed her, took part in the War of the United Provinces against England and at the head of his regiment, the Monaco Cavalry, fought in battles which took place in Flanders and Franche Comti. He later returned to Monaco because of his poor health and it was there that Louis XIV came to call him to entrust him with the embassy to the Holy See. His mission was to obtain the support of the Pope to ensure that the succession of the King of Spain, Charles II, should pass to the Dauphin, the son of Maria Theresa. The unheard of magnificence which he displayed in Rome obliged him to empty the Palace of the riches which his grandfather Honori II had gathered there. He died in 1701 without having had to intervene in the Spanish succession.
He had had two sons by Charlotte de Gramont: Antoine, the elder, succeeded him and François-Honori became Archbishop of Besancon. Antoine was forty years old when he ascended the throne. He had spent a lot of time living in Paris where he had forged links with the great French aristocracy, in particular with the Duke of Orleans, the future Regent. He had had a brilliant career in the army as Colonel of the Soisson Infantry Regiment. His considerable height and dynamic spirit earned him the nickname of "Goliath". In 1688, he had married Marie de Lorraine who belonged to one of the greatest families allied to the throne of France. She filled a splendid position at the French court and only rarely visited Monaco. In addition, all was not well between husband and wife. Because of his health, Antoine I hardly ever left Monaco. During the invasion of Provence by the Duke of Savoy in 1707, the Principality, in spite of its neutrality, had grounds for fearing invasion. Large-scale fortification work was undertaken by the Prince, including the tower commands the ramp "Oreillon" ("the Ear") which commands the ramp leading to the Palace and which was completed in 1708. The Principality remained on the alert until the Treaty of Utrecht, signed in 1713.
Antoine I maintained voluminous correspondence with the most outstanding personages of his time; that which he kept up with Marshall Tesse has been published. His great taste for music placed him in contact with François Couperin and Andrι Cardinal Destouches, the directors of the Paris Opera.
In 1731 the male line of the Grimaldis of Monaco died out with Prince Antoine as Marie de Lorraine had only given him daughters. In 1715, he gave the eldest, Louis-Hippolyte, away in marriage to Jacques François Léonor de Matignon, heir of one of the most illustrious families of Normandy and owner of a great deal of land and possessor of many lordships; he held the County of Torigni, the Duchy of Estouteville and the Barony of Saint-Lτ. Jacques de Matignon, as a result of arrangements made by the parents of his bride, gave up his name and coat of arms for those of the Grimaldis. Louis XIV agreed to confer on him the title of Duke of Valentinois.
On the death of his wife ten months later, he was recognized as Prince of Monaco with the title of Jacques I, then held the regency during the minority of his elder son, the future Honori III, in favor of whom he abdicated on 7th November 1733. Jacques I lived out his days in semi-retirement devoting his time to the magnificent art collections assembled in his house in Paris which is still known today under the same name, the Hotel Matignon, while it has become the official residence of the French Prime Minister.
Honori III was to be Sovereign Prince of Monaco until 1795. During the first years of his reign, he had taken part in campaigns in Flanders, Rhine and the Low Countries and was promoted in 1748 to the rank of Field Marshal.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, from 1746 to 1747, Monaco was blockaded by the Austrian-Sardinian forces ; these latter were repulsed after several months by the troops of Marshall de Belle-Isle. This was the only crisis of the reign which ended in peace. The Prince spent more time in Paris and on his land in Normandy than in the Principality. He was, however, there during the summer of 1767 when the young Duke of York, the brother of King George III of England, on his way to Genoa, suddenly fell ill and had to be landed in the harbor of Monaco. He was immediately taken to the Palace but, in spite of the care and attention he was given, he died several days later. The English Court expressed its deep gratitude to Honori III for his hospitality. One may still visit the room in the finest of the great apartments of the Prince's Palace in which the Duke of York died.
The wedding of Honori III with Marie-Catherine of Brignole-Sale was celebrated in 1757. The Brignole family was one of the richest and most powerful families in Italy.
The marriage, however, did not last long. Irritated by the social success of his wife in the entourage of the Prince de Condι, Honorι demanded and obtained a separation. Before the quarrel between the spouses, two sons had been born, Honorι, who was later to become Prince of Monaco, and Joseph. The elder married Louise d'Aumont Mazarin in 1776; as a result of this union the Sovereign's House acquired all the property left by Cardinal Mazarin to his niece Hortense Mancini, including the Duchy of Rethel, the Principality of Chateau-Porcien and many other estates.
The situation of the Princes and their subjects was therefore at its most brilliant when the French Revolution broke out. Owing to the wise administration of the Governor, the Chevalier de Grimaldi, the people lived rather well in spite of the lack of resources in the territory of the Principality. Maritime commerce and the revenue arising from taxes levied on ships making their way to Italy contributed to a considerable extent to the economy of the country.
The Princes, with their fiefs of Valentinois, in the Auvergne, Provence and their land in Normandy, enjoyed a large income which was made even larger by the contribution from the lordships in Alsace. All these sources of income were removed by the suppression of feudal rights voted by the French Constituent Assembly during the night of 4th August 1789. Honori III tried in vain to have his rights respected by invoking the Treaty of Pironne; on his death, which took place in 1795, his family found itself in dire financial straits.
In Monaco, two opposing parties came into being ; one was the supporter of sovereignty, the other, the Party of the People, wanted to hand the government of the country over to the people and its representatives and it was this latter which was the victor.
The entry of French troops into the County of Nice hastened the establishment of the new order. On 15th February, 1793, the Convention decided upon the incorporation of the Principality into France; first of all, it was a canton and then the chief town of an arrondissement which was later removed to San Remo.
All the riches of the Palace were dispersed - the paintings and articles of artistic worth being sold at auctions. The Palace, after first being used to provide billets for officers and soldiers in transit, was converted into a hospital and then into a home for the poor.
Throughout the whole of the Revolution, the members of the Prince's family had undergone severe trials. First they were imprisoned and then freed, with the exception of Marie-Therese de Choiseul-Stainville, the wife of Prince Joseph (the second son of Honori III) who perished on the scaffold. They found themselves in all sorts of difficulties and were obliged to sell nearly all their possessions. Two of them, Honori-Gabriel and Florestan, served in the French army.
The situation changed completely after the abdication of Napoleon on 30th May 1814. The first Treaty of Paris returned to the Principality all the advantages which it had enjoyed before 1st January, 1792. Prince Honori IV, son of Honori III, unable, because of his poor health, to assume power, first of all nominated his brother Joseph to replace him but his son, Honorι-Gabriel, vigorously opposed this notion and his father, owning him to be in the right, passed sovereignty to him. Honorι therefore returned to Monaco in March, 1815. On his arrival in Cannes, he learned of the departure of Napoleon from Elba ; he was arrested by General Cambronne and taken in the middle of the night to Napoleon with whom he had a conversation.
After the final fall of the Empire, the second Treaty of Paris of 20th November, 1815, placed the Principality under the protection of the King of Sardinia. A treaty was signed on 8th November, 1817, with King Victor-Emmanuel I at Stupiniggi. The situation of Monaco resulting from this was much less advantageous than the alliance with the King of France. The state of the finances was more delicate, the resources of the country being very much reduced, the communes, parishes and hospitals burdened with debts.
Honori-Gabriel, having become Prince Sovereign under the name of Honori V, tried throughout his reign from 1819 to 1841 to remedy this state of affairs. The measures which he took, although dictated by a very strong concern for the general interest, were not always happy and often alienated the population. There were several hostile demonstrations, in particular in Menton in 1833.
1841. On the death of Honori V, who was unmarried, power passed to his brother Florestan. This Prince, passionately interested in literature and the theater, was unprepared for the exercise of power. Luckily, his wife, Caroline Gilbert of Lametz, daughter of a family with a bourgeois background, possessed remarkable intelligence and a very developed sense of business ; she was a great help to him. The first measures taken to redress the difficult situation which the decrees of Honorι V had created had the effect of calming the people for the moment but this respite was of short duration. Florestan and Caroline, however, made every effort to re-establish prosperity.
Serious disagreements then came to a head with the commune of Menton, the inhabitants having shown their desire for independence for some time. The King of Sardinia, Charles-Albert, had given a liberal constitution to his subjects and the people of Menton demanded a similar one for the Principality. The constitution which Florestan offered them on two occasions did not meet with their approval ; after the revolution of 1848 in France, the situation grew worse. Florestan and Caroline handed over all their powers to their son Charles. But it was too late to assuage the spirits of the people. On 20th March, 1848, Menton and Roquebrune declared themselves to be free and independent townships. However, annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, in spite of the efforts of the Court of Turin, did not take place. The efforts of Florestan and, after his death in 1856, those of his son Charles III, were also unsuccessful. Troubles continued until the Treaty of Turin in 1860 which ceded to France the county of Nice and Savoy.
Shortly after the Treaty of 2nd February, 1861, Charles III gave up to France his rights over Menton and Roquebrune. This treaty which gave the Prince an indemnity of four million francs for the loss of the two towns guaranteed for him the independence of Monaco under his sole authority. For the first time in three centuries, the independence of Monaco was formally recognized and freed from any link whatever with a protecting power.
The Principality, reduced to one-twentieth of its territory, deprived of the revenue which it drew from Roquebrune and Menton, found itself in a financially unhappy situation. In order to meet the expense of administration and the cost of upkeep of the Court, it was imperative to find other sources of revenue apart from taxes whose rates could not be increased. In 1863 after several attempts to increase commercial activity, Charles III and his mother Princess Caroline had the idea of establishing a gaming house under the name of the Societe des Bains de Mer. The concession was given in turn to two businessmen, neither of whom was able to manage the enterprise successfully. It was then that Franηois Blanc, director of gaming at Homburg, who came to be called the Magician of Monte Carlo, obtained the concession for fifty years. Under his enlightened management, the business developed to an extent which was far beyond the most optimistic forecasts. Situated in an enchanting setting, the various establishments - hotels, theater and casino - of the Seabath Company attracted hosts of tourists from the very beginning, in spite of the difficulty of access to the Principality. Later, in 1868, when the railway line between Nice and Ventimiglia was completed, their number increased to remarkable figures. The economic growth of the Principality increased in a striking manner and at the same time the development of the town went ahead at an incredible pace. On the rocks of the Spelugues, the main establishment of the Seabath Company, the Casino, was quickly surrounded by luxury hotels and splendid buildings. This area changed its name in 1866 and in honor of Prince Charles assumed that of Monte Carlo.
Between 1866 and 1905 the Principality signed treaties relating to the extradition of wrong-doers with Italy, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Great Britain and Denmark as well as conventions on Legal Aid and Reciprocal Communication of Civil Status Deeds with Italy, Belgium and France. Monaco was also a signatory of several multilateral treaties such as the Paris Convention of 1883, the Berne Convention of 1886 and the Madrid Arrangement of 1891. At the same time, Monaco accredited Ministers or Chargιs d'Affaires to Paris, the Vatican, Spain, Italy and Belgium. Charles III increased the number of his consular agents.
Prince Charles III, living for most of his reign in his chateau of Marchais in Champagne, did not, however, neglect the direction of public business, aided by the enlightened advice of the lawyer Eynaud. It was to this Prince and his son, Prince Albert I, that Monaco owes its striking development, its reputation and its institutions.
Albert I succeeded his father in 1889. Until then he had devoted himself entirely to scientific research which engrossed him. His discoveries in the fields of oceanography and paleontology won him a great reputation and a seat in the Academy of Sciences. It would take too long to list all his achievements ; it suffices to recall that he was the founder of the Oceanographic Institute, which consists of the famous Museum inaugurated in 1910 and the establishment created in Paris to teach this science. We are indebted to him also for the Museum of Prehistoric Anthropology in Monaco and the Institute of Human Paleontology in Paris. In addition, in 1903 he founded the International Institute of Peace with the task of "studying the means of resolving disagreements between nations by arbitration, propagating attachment to methods of harmonious agreement and removing hatred from the hearts of people".
In the field of the arts, activities undertaken during his reign won the Principality a magnificent reputation; the Opera, created in 1869, under the directorship of the eminent Raoul Gunsbourg, rapidly won international fame owing to the superior quality of its performances and its creations which were to become famous.
In 1869 Prince Albert married Marie-Victoire de Douglas-Hamilton. This union produced Prince Louis II who succeeded his father in 1922. Prince Louis II, a graduate of the Saint Cyr military college, enjoyed a career as an officer of colonial troops in Algeria. Having left the army, he returned to service life again during the 1914-1918 War and was promoted to the rank of general. The attempts of Prince Albert I to persuade the Kaiser to stop the war in 1914 unfortunately bore no fruit. On 5th January, 1911, Prince Albert I gave Monaco a Constitution.
With the consent of Prince Albert I, Prince Louis II married his daughter, Princess Charlotte, to Prince Pierre de Polignac. It was this marriage which produced in 1921 H.S.H. Princess Antoinette and in 1923 H.S.H. Prince Rainier III.
Joining the French Army as a volunteer during the Second World War, H.S.H. Prince Rainier III was mentioned in Brigade Orders with the award of the War Cross and in 1947 he received the Cross of the Legion of Honor, military division. Since his accession to the throne in 1949, the Sovereign has devoted himself to the development of the various sectors of Monegasque activity (industry, tourism, scientific research, sport and culture) as well as to the winning from the sea of land to be added to the limited surface area of the Principality. Monaco has thus become a center for business, up-to-date industry and art, leaving far behind its traditional image as a holiday resort and gambling paradise.
On 18th April, 1956, Prince Rainier III married Miss Grace Patricia Kelly, born in Philadelphia on 12th November, 1929. Three children were born of this marriage: H.S.H. Princess Caroline, born in Monaco on 23rd January, 1957, H.S.H. Prince Albert, Heir to the Throne, Marquis of Baux, born in Monaco on 14th March, 1958, and H.S.H. Princess Stephanie, born in Monaco on 1st February, 1965.
On 14th September, 1982, Princess Grace died as a result of a tragic accident of which she had been the victim the previous day.
Monigasque culture is the type one buys a new frock for; it's an ideal accompaniment to martinis and finger food. Most of its cultural institutions sprang up fresh-faced in the 17th century under the patronage of Prince Honori III. The prize-winning Monte Carlo Philharmonic has been thumping out tunes since 1863, while the more modern Monte Carlo Ballet was established by Princess Caroline to honor her mother's memory. Monte Carlo also has its own opera and several theatres.
If you scrape off Monaco's flawless makeup, however, you'll find the remnants of a deeply religious, spiritual culture underneath. The legend of Divote, the country's patron saint and founder, is a cherished part of Monigasque heritage. Every year on 27 January a torch lit ceremony is held for her at the Church of St Divote. Monaco also venerates saints such as St Roman, a martyred Roman legionary, and St John.
- Jan 1: New Year's Day (Jour de l'an)
- May 1: Labor Day (Fête du premier mai)
- May 8: WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945; Fête du huitième mai)
- Jul 14: Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
- Aug 15: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)
- Nov 1: All Saints Day (La Toussaint)
- Nov 11: Armistice Day (Jour d'armistice)
- Dec 25: Christmas Day (Noël)
- Dec 26: 2nd Day of Christmas (in Alsace Lorraine-only)
- Good Friday
- Easter (Pâques)
- Easter Monday
- Ascension (l'Ascencion)
- Pentecost (la Pentecôte)
- Whit Monday
- Embassy of France in Monaco, Monaco
- Consulate of Belgium in Monte Carlo, Monaco - L'Astoria, 26Bis Bd. Princesse Charlotte, 98000 MC, Monaco Tel: 126.96.36.199 Fax: 92.16.08.58
- Consulate of Denmark in Monte Carlo, Monaco - 74 Boulevard d'Italie, 98000 Monaco Tel: 93.50.02.03 Fax: 93.30.00.57