Monaco lies at the foot of the Southern Alps, facing the Mediterranean, near the French / Italian border. One of the tiniest countries in the world, it is fully aristocratic charm and dignity, a gathering place for the famous and wealthy who come to enjoy the elegant atmosphere of the exclusive beaches and luxurious hotels, to attend the fashionable galas and to saunter in mink and satin by the gambling tables of the Casino de Monte Carlo. A tiny world of its own.
Monaco, with a population of 24,000 (about 3,800 of whom Monegasque) covers an area of 415 acres. Sheltered from the northern winds by the barrier of Alps, it enjoys a mild winter and warm summer; there are about 260 days of sunshine throughout year. Winter, 15 Dec – 15 Mar, is the smart time to go.
The official language is French, but Monegasque dialect is spoken by the natives. Many people speak English. The Principality of Monaco is a hereditary and constitutional monarchy. The executive is under the authority of Prince Rainier.
Roman Catholicism is the religion; St Paul’s Anglican Church is on the Avenue de Grand Bretagne, Monte Carlo. Public holidays: as for France, plus Sainte Devote, 27 Jan; Fete-Dieu, Jun; Fete of the Ruling Prince, 19 Nov; Immaculate Conception, 8 Dec. Currency is as for France.