Map of Monaco is the second-smallest independent state in the world. It is a playground for tourists and a haven for the wealthy, the former drawn by its climate and the beauty of its setting and the latter by its advantageous tax regime.
The country – a constitutional monarchy – is surrounded on three sides by France and occupies just under two square kilometres (0.75 sq mile) of the Cote d’Azur, where the Alpes Maritimes meet the Mediterranean.
The royal dynasty, the Grimaldi family, is inseparable from Monaco’s existence. The royals made world headlines in 1956 when the former monarch Prince Rainier III married the American film star Grace Kelly. But the personal lives of the couple’s daughters, Caroline and Stephanie, had a less welcome press.
Within the executive, the monarch nominates and is represented by a Minister of State who leads a five-member Council of Government which governs Monaco under royal authority. A 24-member National Council to which elections are held every five years exercises legislative power.
- Principality of Monaco
- Capital: Monaco
- Area: 1.95 sq km (0.75 sq mile)
- Major language: French
- Major religion: Christianity
- Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 83 years (women)
- Monetary unit: euro
- Main exports: Pharmaceuticals, perfumes, clothing