Photo: Getty Images/Pascal Le Segretain
Monaco is a gorgeous little country on the French Riviera, but that’s not the only reason it’s home to the most millionaires per capita in the world.While the influence of Monaco’s Monte Carlo casino is no longer what it once was on the economy, the country still levies no taxes on its residents. That, combined with the nice weather and French cuisine, has made the city-state a haven for the world’s wealthiest citizens. In 2008, around 2,000 millionaires called Monaco home, according to the Guardian.
From the beautiful, expensive ports to the beautiful, expensive hotels, Monaco has become a great place to do business and an even better place to gamble your millions away.
Surrounded on three sides by France, Monaco sits on the French Riviera and boasts a Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild, rainy winters.
Monaco is a rocky, hilly and particularly tiny country: as the second smallest independent city-state in the world, it's only about three times of the size of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Monaco is ruled by a constitutional monarchy, and has been controlled by the Grimaldi family since 1419. Prince Albert II, seen here with the Obamas, shares power with parliament.
In July, Prince Albert married Charlene Wittstock, a 5-foot-11 blond freestyler from South Africa, outside Monaco's Place du Palais.
The pair lives in the Prince's Palace of Monaco, which has been home to the Grimaldi family for hundreds of years. Grace Kelly famously moved into the palace in 1956, when she married Prince Rainier III.
Natives of Monaco are minorities in their own country, clocking in at 16 per cent of the population. French nationals are 47 per cent, with sizable contingents of Italians, Britons, Belgians, Germans and Americans (1.2 per cent).
One of Monaco's only industries is tourism, which now makes up 95 per cent of the country's GDP. The main attractions are essentially great weather and gambling.
In fact, locals are not allowed to gamble in Monaco — only tourists. The famous Grand Casino de Monte Carlo opened in 1858, and has been so successful in bringing in profits that the government decided to stop collecting income taxes from residents.
Because of no income tax and low business taxes, many wealthy foreign citizens have set up residence or shop in Monaco. Of the 32,000 registered citizens in Monaco, only 6,000 are Monégasque passport holders.
The port of Monaco is also a big draw for boat lovers. Up to 20 super-yachts can moor in Port Hercule at a time, with a roughly $2,000 a day mooring fee per boat. During the Grand Prix, that price can jump to over $20,000 a night.
The nation's entertainment includes the Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place on the hairpin-turn streets of Monaco and is considered one of the most dangerous races in the world.
There are no airports in Monaco, but there is one helipad, and a rail service connecting the it to France. Local flights wouldn't be necessary, as it only takes an hour to walk the width of the entire country.
Monaco is not a part of the European Union, but its close relationship with France allows the country to mint and use the Euro as its currency.
There is no military in Monaco, and no transnational disputes to speak of. France is responsible for the safety of Monaco. The Palace Guard performs some ceremonial duties, and beyond that there's no need for a gun here.
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