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Monte Carlo (French: Monte-Carlo, Occitan: Montcarles, Monégasque: Monte-Carlu) is one of Monacomarker's administrative areas, sometimes erroneously believed to be a town or the country's capital, just as Monaco-Villemarker. The official capital is the city of Monacomarker, which shares the exact same territory as the country itself (Monaco is indeed a city-state).

Monte Carlo, which lies in the French Rivieramarker on the Mediterranean Seamarker in Monaco is surrounded by Francemarker and close to Italymarker. It is widely known for its casino, gambling, and glamour. Since 1952 Monte Carlo is also the venue of the "Reinsurance Rendez-Vous", the oldest and one of the leading gatherings of the reinsurance industry. The Rendez-Vous is held annually during the first week of September. The permanent population is about 3,000. Monte Carlo quarter includes not only Monte Carlo proper where the famous Le Grand Casinomarker is located, it also includes the neighbourhoods of Saint-Michel, Saint-Romanmarker/Tenao, and the beach community of Larvotto. It borders the Frenchmarker town of Beausoleilmarker (sometimes referred to as Monte-Carlo-Supérieur for image reasons).


Founded in 1866, Monte Carlo has a name of Italian origin meaning "Mount Charles". Named in compliment to the prince then reigning, Charles III of Monaco. The specific mountain is the escarpment at the foot of the Maritime Alpsmarker on which the town stands.

However, the history of the area and the ruling Grimaldi familia dates back centuries. The port of Monaco is first mentioned in historical records back in 43 BC, when Julius Caesar concentrated his fleet there while waiting in vain for Pompey. In the 12th century, the area fell under the sovereignty of Genoamarker who was granted the entire coastline from Porto Venere to Monaco. After much conflict, the Grimaldis retrieved the rock in 1295, but suffered a significant amount of opposition over the years. In 1506 the Monegasques, under Lucien, Lord of Monaco, were under siege for some four months by the Genoan army with ten times the number of men. Monaco officially received full autonomy in 1524, but it had a turbulent history to retain its power and on occasions briefly fell under the domination of Spain, Sardinia, and France.

In the 1850s Monaco’s reigning family was almost bankrupt, caused by the loss of two towns, which provided most of the Principality’s revenues with their lemon, orange and olive crops. At this time a number of small towns in Europe were growing in prosperity with gambling establishments, notably in German towns such as Baden-Badenmarker and Homburg. In 1856, Charles III of Monaco gave a concession to Napoleon Langlois and Albert Aubert to establish a sea-bathing facility for the treatment of various diseases and build a German-style casino in Monaco. However the initial casino was opened in La Condamine in 1862 and was not a success and subsequently moved location several times in the years that followed to its present location in the area called “Les Spelugues” (The Caves) of Monte Carlo. The success of the casino grew slowly, largely due to the area's inaccessibility from much of Europe. The installation of the railway in 1868, however, brought with it an influx of people into Monte Carlo and saw it grow in wealth.

In 1911, the Constitution divided the principality of Monaco in 3 municipalities, the municipality of Monte Carlo was created covering the existing neighborhoods of La Rousse / Saint Roman, Larvotto / Bas Moulins and Saint Michel. In 1917, it returned to a single area throughout the principality. Today Monaco however is divided into 11 quarters.

The quarter of Monte Carlo was served by tramways from 1900 to 1953, linking parts of Monacomarker. In 2003, a new cruise ship pier was completed in the harbour at Monte Carlo.

Sport and leisure

Monte Carlo is home to most of the Circuit de Monacomarker, on which the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix takes place. It also hosts world championship boxing bouts, the European Poker Tour Grand Final and the World Backgammon Championship as well as fashion shows and other events. Although the Monte Carlo Mastersmarker tennis tournament is billed as taking place in the community, its actual location is in the adjacent French commune of Roquebrune-Cap-Martinmarker. Monte Carlo has been visited by royalty as well as the general public and movie stars for decades. The Monte Carlo Rally is one of the longest running and most respected car rallies, and marks the start of each rally season as the first event on the World Rally Championship calendar, but the rally takes place outside the Monte Carlo quarter.

Monte Carlo is one of Europe's leading tourist resorts, although many of the key tourist destinations are located in other parts of Monaco, including such attractions as Monaco Cathedralmarker, the Napoleon Museummarker, the Oceanographic Museummarker and aquarium, and the Prince's Palacemarker, all of which are located in Monaco-Villemarker.


The Opéra de Monte-Carlo or Salle Garnier was built by the famous architect Charles Garnier as an exact replica in miniature of the Paris Opera House. The auditorium of the opera house is decorated in red and gold and has frescoes and sculptures all around the auditorium. The ceiling of the auditorium is covered in high quality paintings. It was inaugurated on January 25, 1879 with a performance by Sarah Bernhardt dressed as a nymph. The first opera performed there was Robert Planquette's Le Chevalier Gaston on 8 February 1879, and that was followed by three more in the first season.

With the influence of the first director, Jules Cohen (who was instrumental in bringing Adelina Patti) and the fortunate combination of Raoul Gunsbourg, the new director from 1883, and Princess Alice, the opera-loving American wife of Charles III's successor, Albert I, the company was thrust onto the world's opera community stage. Gunsbourg remained for sixty years overseeing such premiere productions as Berlioz's La damnation de Faust in 1893 and the first appearances in January 1894 of the heroic Italian tenor, Francesco Tamagno in Verdi's Otello, the title role of which he had created for the opera's premiere in Italy.

By the early years of the twentieth century, the Salle Garnier was to see such great performers as Nellie Melba and Enrico Caruso in La bohème and Rigoletto (in 1902), and Feodor Chaliapin in the premiere of Jules Massenet's Don Quichotte (1910). This production formed part of a long association between the company and Massenet and his operas, two of which were presented there posthumously.

Other famous twentieth-century singers to appear at Monte Carlo included Titta Ruffo, Geraldine Farrar, Mary Garden, Tito Schipa, Beniamino Gigli, Claudia Muzio, Georges Thill and Lily Pons.

Apart from Massenet, composers whose works had their first performances at Monte Carlo included: Saint-Saëns (Hélène, 1904); Mascagni (Amica, 1905); and Puccini (La rondine, 1917). Indeed, since its inauguration, the theatre has hosted 45 world premiere productions of operas. René Blum was retained to found the Ballet de l'Opéra. The "Golden Age" of the Salle Garnier is gone, as small companies with small houses are not able to mount productions that cost astronomical sums. Nonetheless, the present day company still presents a season containing five or six operas.

Hôtel de Paris

Hotel de Paris

The Hôtel de Paris was established in 1864 by Charles III of Monaco adjacent to the casino. It is a prestigious and luxurious palace style hotel in the heart of Monte Carlo. It belongs to the Société des Bains de Mer Monaco (SBM), It is part of the elite Palace Grand Hotels in Monaco with the Hotel Hermitage, the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel on Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, the Metropole Hotel and Fairmont hotel.

The hotel has 106 rooms divided into four groups based on type of view, decoration and luxury. The Exclusive City View offers 20 rooms, the Superior Courtyard has 29 large rooms, the Exclusive Sea View 59 and the Exclusive Casino has 6.

Additionally there are 74 suites and junior suites which are grouped similarly, offering more luxury than the rooms. There are Single and Double suites as well as Courtyard Junior suites and Sea/Casino Junior suites.

There is also 1 Presidential suite.

In popular culture

Monte Carlo has featured in numerous films and television series. The 1930 American film Monte Carlo starring Jack Buchanan and Jeanette MacDonald was set in Monte Carlo. The casino featured in the James Bond films Never Say Never Again (1983) and Goldeneye (1995). To Catch a Thief (1954) was an Alfred Hitchcock film with Monte Carlo and its famous casino as the setting and featured Cary Grant and the future Princess Grace of Monaco as the stars. There is a scene in the movie where the-then Grace Kelly drives a car very quickly - and dangerously - along the steep winding roads of Monaco that surround the heights of Monte Carlo; an interesting coincidence to her actual fate in 1982. Monte Carlo was even a location for the late 1960s British Londonmarker based series Randall and Hopkirk where in the eleventh episode of the series, The Ghost who Saved the Bank at Monte Carlo Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre went to Monte Carlo to accompany a highly talented elderly woman to gamble inside the casino and layway a group of thugs (amongst them Brian Blessed). In 1970 Chevrolet introduced a car called the Chevrolet Monte Carlo which went through six generations of production until 2007.


See also


  1. [1] Monaco has 4 traditional quarters according to US Department State (retrieved 22 September 2007), but see infobox above for other classifications of districts).

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