Monte Carlo – Monaco, Europe
Monte Carlo (French: Monte-Carlo, Occitan: Montcarles, Monégasque: Monte-Carlu) is an administrative area of the Principality of Monaco.
Monte Carlo is widely known for its casino and its prominence. The permanent population is about 15,000 in Quarter. Monte Carlo quarter includes not only Monte Carlo proper where the Le Grand Casino is located, it also includes the neighbourhoods of Saint-Michel, Saint-Roman/Tenao, and the beach community of Larvotto. It is also one of Monaco’s 10 wards, with a population of 3,500. It borders the French town of Beausoleil (sometimes referred to as Monte-Carlo-Supérieur).
The “Monte Carlo” name is of Italian origin, meaning the “Mount of Charles” named after the Prince Charles III of Monaco during the time of his reign.
Founded in 1866, Monte Carlo has a name of Italian origin meaning “Mount Charles”, in honor of the then-reigning prince, Charles III of Monaco. The specific mountain is the escarpment at the foot of the Maritime Alps on which the town stands.
The history of the area and the ruling Grimaldi family, however, dates back centuries. The port of Monaco is first mentioned in historical records as early as 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 Genoa, which was granted the entire coastline from Porto Venere to Monaco. After much conflict, the Grimaldis regained the rock in 1295, but suffered a significant amount of opposition in the ensuing years. In 1506 the Monegasques, under Lucien, Lord of Monaco, were under siege for some four months by the Genoan army, which had ten times the number of men. Monaco officially received full autonomy in 1524, but experienced difficulty retaining power, and on occasions briefly fell under the domination of Spain, Sardinia, and France.
By the 1850s, Monaco’s reigning family was almost bankrupt; this was a result of the loss of two towns, Menton and Roquebrune, which had provided most of the principality’s revenues with their lemon, orange and olive crops. At the time, a number of small towns in Europe were growing prosperous from the establishment of casinos, notably in German towns such as Baden-Baden and Homburg. In 1856, Charles III of Monaco granted a concession to Napoleon Langlois and Albert Aubert to establish a sea-bathing facility for the treatment of various diseases, and to build a German-style casino in Monaco. The initial casino was opened in La Condamine in 1862, but was not a success; its present location in the area called “Les Spelugues” (The Caves) of Monte Carlo, came only after several relocations in the years that followed. 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, when 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. The municipalities were merged into one in 1917, after accusations that the government was acting according to the motto “divide and conquer” and they were accorded the status of wards (quartiers) thereafter. Today, Monaco is divided into 10 wards, with an eleventh ward planned (but currently postponed) to encompass land reclaimed from the sea (see the “Administrative Divisions” section of Monaco for additional details).
The quarter of Monte Carlo was served by tramways from 1900 to 1953, linking all parts of Monaco (see transportation in Monaco). In 2003, a new cruise ship pier was completed in the harbour at Monte Carlo.
Monte Carlo is host to most of the Circuit de Monaco, 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 Masters tennis tournament is billed as taking place in the community, its actual location is in the adjacent French commune of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. 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; from 1973 to 2008, it marked the start of each rally season as the first event on the World Rally Championship calendar, but is now part of the second-tier Intercontinental Rally Challenge. However, 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 Cathedral, the Napoleon Museum, the Oceanographic Museum and aquarium, and the Prince’s Palace, all of which are located in Monaco-Ville.