Everyone has heard of Monaco, famous for many reasons, and we’ve all certainly heard of the euro. But did you know the two of them go together? You do now, and we’re about to find out a lot more about them both.
The euro is divided into 100 cents. Although these are officially called eurocents few people actually use that term now. Instead they are simply known as cents in colloquial language. All but two of the coins available are in cents. These range from a one cent coin through to the 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. You will also commonly find the one and two euro coins in use.
Banknotes are quite plentiful in their different denominations as well. They start from the smallest €5 note and then move up through the €10, €20 and €50 euro banknotes. Additionally there are three notes of larger values – the €100, €200 and €500 notes. However these are not often used since they are far more likely to be counterfeited for obvious reasons. They are still legal tender but if you get hold of any you might find people don’t like to accept them. Indeed, you may not like to accept them in case they are fake!
Monaco is not officially a part of the European Union. However there is a monetary agreement in place between Monaco and the EU that allows the country to use the currency. You may know that the euro coins feature a country side of each coin and a side that is the same on all of them throughout different countries. Monaco also gets to have its own details on one side, so you will find the country name on it and also the stars of Europe.
This is very easy, as you may well imagine. The euro is arguably one of the easiest currencies to get from a bureau de change prior to heading on holiday to Monaco. Traveller’s cheques are welcome too, although it does make sense to get these denominated in euros as well. In case of theft, just be sure you keep a note of the serial numbers somewhere separate from the cheques themselves. This makes it easier to replace them if you are unlucky enough to lose them.
Card payments are easy to make too, so you shouldn’t have any trouble using either Mastercard or Visa depending on what you have. With cash machines quite plentiful across Monaco you shouldn’t have any issues managing your money at all.
You might already be familiar with the value of the euro with regard to your own currency. If not you can use any currency converter since they will all (or should all!) have the euro as one of the most frequently used currencies on there. Look for EUR as this is the currency code known as an ISO code that is used. Remember this basic exchange rate does not take into account any charges that might be added to a transaction you make with the bureau de change of your choice. Thus you should consider all these options and make sure you shop around to get the best possible exchange rate you can.
There is an official embassy for Monaco in the UK, and while it is based in London you don’t actually need to travel there if you need any information. Instead you can just go to the website, which can be found at http://www.monaco-embassy-uk.gouv.mc/.
Monaco is a pretty safe place to go on holiday, which should be reassuring. According to the UK government website the most frequent calls for help from British tourists while on holiday there is in relation to the loss of passports. In some cases people reported them as being stolen, so do take this as your cue to be protective of yours. If you book into a hotel with a secure safe in the room (i.e. one that cannot be carried out), make sure you leave your passport in there for the duration of your stay.
We’ve already mentioned the prospect of some of the larger denominations of euros potentially being fake, but the police in the country have also put out warnings about this. Be familiar with how real banknotes should look and always check those you are given anywhere you go.
Thankfully Monaco is pretty safe, and even petty crime is not a major issue here. It does help to take some sensible precautions, such as keeping your cash out of sight and not wearing too much in the way of expensive jewellery for example. This will help to minimise the already long odds you might be targeted.
Monaco is known as the Principality of Monaco and it is also known as a microstate, although it is also strictly a country in its own right. It is independent of France but is surrounded by that country on three of its four sides. The remaining side looks out onto the Mediterranean Sea.
The capital is actually Monaco itself; many people assume it is Monte Carlo but in fact the latter is a quarter of Monaco, otherwise known as a ‘ward’. The famous Monte Carlo Casino is also located here, a place which is known for banning its own citizens from playing there. It has also been used for filming several famous movies, including Ocean’s Twelve, and James Bond has had a dramatic scene or two there in several films too.
Monaco is certainly exceptionally famous for the Grand Prix event that takes place there every year. It is known as a very difficult track since the streets are tight and there are many ups and downs along the route. The Grand Prix has been held here ever since 1929. It is considered a real experience to come to Monaco to see the Grand Prix, although if you are not a fan of motor racing you should avoid the area during the race and either side of it while the track is prepared too.
There are many other charms and sights to be appreciated here as well. Take the Prince’s Palace of Monaco for example. You can see the state apartments here, and you can also get a ticket that permits you to be able to enter the Oceanographic Museum as well – definitely worth a look. The apartments are not open all year round so check in advance of your stay to see whether you can go or not during the time you will be there.
The museum is fascinating and offers an exploration of the marine world. With many aquariums to see, filled with hundreds of thousands of litres of water in all, you can come face to face with colourful fish and even see the shark lagoon. It’s quite an experience if you are keen to discover the world beneath the waves. You can also see turtles on Turtle Island and enjoy the views available on the terrace the island is housed on. Perhaps best of all though is the tactile pool. This is where you get the chance to actually handle some of the fish and sea urchins – and other safe creatures – that are provided in the pool. Even baby sharks are here to see, although they pose no harm if handled with respect.
While you have no doubt heard of Monaco before you started reading this, you may not be familiar with Monaco-ville. This part of the country sits on a headland poking out into the sea. The palace mentioned above can be found here, as can the museum. There is also a Museum of the Chapel of Visitation, and perhaps most charming of all, the Fort Antoine Theatre. This was never intended as a theatre, instead being built as a fortress at the start of its life. Today however, after being rebuilt, it is an amphitheatre that offers superb views over the rest of Monaco and out into the sea as well.
As you can see, Monaco is about far more than just its motor racing credentials. As soon as you come here you can see how refreshing and thrilling the place is. With so many things to see and do it is an intense place, but not one you would ever grow tired of. When you get to learn more about it you will see there are places you can escape to for more of a laid-back experience.
With so many places to stay in Monaco you are sure to find the right base for your stay. So order your euros, book your flight and look forward to a stay you will remember!