Monaco is a very small country - principality, actually - located in the southeast of France. Originally founded by Phoenician traders, the Grimaldi family has ruled this little place since the 13th century. The entire principality claims only 32,000 citizens, though it is the sometime home to many more of the rich and famous from all over the world. The total area of Monaco is 370 acres!

Monte Carlo is the principal village in the principality, and is home to the world famous Casino. The approaches to the Casino are elegant indeed. The people of the principality, called Monegasques, are not - surprisingly - permitted to enter the building for gambling. Outside, on the square, are very posh restaurants and the famous Hotel de Paris.

The Casino was built in 1863 by the famous architect, Charles Garnier, who also designed the majestic Opera House in Paris. It overlooks the harbor many feet below, and is famous for its interior embellishments. (Photography is not allowed inside!) The Casino even charges an admission fee for the right to gamble your money away. Originally, the Casino was built to bolster the flagging economy of the small country. Although today the Casino continues to draw tourists, it does not otherwise contribute greatly to the economy.

The Prince, Rainier III, lives in the palace located in Monaco-Ville, a promontory which extends out into the Mediterranean. Rainier came to the throne in 1949. It is here that his cherished Princess Grace (Grace Kelly) lived.


We were in time to see the changing of the guard, which is a very elaborate ceremony which takes place at regular intervals during the day.

Getting around Monaco is fun, with a little train-like tram that regularly picks up and drops off passengers for a nominal fee. Diane is posing on the Palace Square. We found a great little place for lunch, called the Texas Bar. Imagine finding a replica of the Alamo inside. Lone Star beer and Monaco music . . .

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