The nobility – Monaco-Ville as the residence of the Princely Family
Monaco-Ville with its picturesque oldtown is also called Le Rocher. The name is due to the partly steep hillside location and means “the rock”. The height of the area underlines the importance it has not only historically, but also still today for the Monegasques.
Since the district is the headquarters of the princely family, it is one of the main tourist attractions of Monaco. Today, the palace (Palais Princier de Monaco) is only partially open to the public. It was built in 1191, but the extensions continued until the 19th century. In its interior and architecture, this palace combines various styles from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
The Grimaldi princely family has lived in Monaco since 1297. The noble family, originally from Genoa, still rules today. The probably most famous Grimaldi still living is Prince Albert of Monaco, who ascended the throne in the fortress Monaco-Villes on April 6th, 2005.
The famous sightseeings of the Prince’s Rock
Monaco-Ville offers a lot of sightseeings in a small space. During a walk through the alleyways of the city one can barely walk a few metres without seeing another historically marked building. Due to its charm, the small shops and cafés and the dense building development, the oldtown is very popular among vacationers.
Especially worth seeing are the main church of Monaco, the cathedral Notre-Dame-Immaculée, which was completed in 1903 and the Oceanographic Museum, which enjoys a worldwide unique reputation. Partly due to the fact that it was temporarily directed by the pioneer of marine research, Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
On a walk from the palace to the Oceanographic Museum, one passes through the gardens of St. Martin. The Principality’s first public park was created in 1816 on deserted land and is now a welcome green resting place in the densely populated city by the sea. Here you will find extraordinary plants with a Mediterranean flair and art objects, such as the bronze statue of Albert l. of Monaco. The well-kept park offers a nice contrast to the lively old town of Moncaco-Ville.
Around the Prince’s Palace there are buildings from the Belle Époque (1884-1914). Every day, one can watch the changing of the guard on the plaza in front of the palace at 11:55 am. There you will also find the Palace of Justice, built at the request of Prince Louis the Second, and La Rampe Major et Porte Neuve, the Rampe Major, a path made of red bricks that runs between two centuries old gateways.
Monaco – Land of the immigrants
Monaco, the second smallest state in the world, is known as the residence of the rich. Here, luxury is common courtesy in many regions. In fact, most of the inhabitants of the principality are immigrants, a third of them millionaires or billionaires (4 in 2018).
In Monaco live around 38,400 (as of 2015) people, of which only about 975 (as of 2008) live in the Monaco-Ville district. Thus the principality has the highest population density in the world.
According to surveys of the Foreign Office there are about 9,160 Monegasque citizens. About 18,400 inhabitants originally come from France, Italy or Germany. However, the proportion of French inhabitants of Monaco is decreasing more and more due to a new tax regulation. According to this, French people are liable to pay taxes in Monaco and often do not want to afford the high cost of living, which could be compensated for years by tax savings, anymore.
The changing property market
Depending on the location and the equipment, one can expect a purchase price of 3.5 million euros for a one-room apartment in Monaco-Ville. From one to multi-digit millions, there are hardly any limits for a property purchase. As Monaco is gladly used by the rich and famous as a second home and summer residence, the demand is accordingly high. Thereby, the prices continuously increase. In 2016, the price per square meter was 41,400 euros according to a study, as reported by “Manager Magazin”. This corresponds to a price increase of 180 percent over the last ten years. A stabilization of the market is predicted, since supply is not growing, but demand remains constant. As in Monaco, and especially in Monaco-Ville, there is no building space available and everything is very densely built, new projects are rarely realized, which is why there is no significant increase in buildings.
Monaco divides its inhabitants into three categories. The native Monegasques who are entitled to a state apartment and can also inherit it. The country children who do not have the citizenship but who have been living in the principality for several generations and therefore have a right to a non-governmental apartment. The third category includes the wealthy foreigners. They have no entitlement, but buy one or more properties as residence and investment.