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Monte Carlo By Bus

Oct 11, 2007
After Prince Albert became Monaco's Sovereign two years ago he soon set a path that would show him to be a leader among leaders for the environment movement.

In an effort to encourage more people to leave their cars at home and use public transport - not easy in a country that has the highest density of millionaire's in the world - bus fares were cut to a Euro for a single journey, and a year later figures show bus usage has risen 17 per cent.

Prince Albert visited the North Pole last year to publicise how the arctic regions are changing with global warming, and one of his first acts as Monaco's Sovereign was to sign the Kyoto Protocol - along with the US, Monaco was one of the few countries in the world not to endorse it before Prince Albert put pen to paper.

As well as the Monaco Grand Prix, the principality is Europe's best known tax haven, with residents enjoying a zero rated income tax.

With property prices among the highest in the world, residents of Monaco normally need to spend six months a year there to maintain residency.

An announcement has been made recently that a new island is to be built off Monte Carlo, and this will provide more land and property in the world's second smallest country.

Bidders for the development have been asked to take the environment into account - and also the Monaco Grand Prix, which suggests a possible new route for the race.

Despite being one of the world's most glamourous sporting events the Monaco Grand Prix is notorious for a lack of overtaking opportunities, and the new space might in time address the historical criticism of the race.

Property prices in Monaco are high due to the lack of land - in the past one of the districts, Fontvieille, had much of its area reclaimed from the sea, but property prices there equal those of the better known Monte Carlo.

One of the most popular buildings in Fontvieille, Seaside Plaza, has average prices of three to four million Euros for a three bedroom apartment, and a four bedroom four bathroom one is currently on the market at close to ten million Euros.

With a population of under 40,000 Monaco could be forgiven for believing that overseas embassies were an unnecessary expense.

Until now the world's second smallest country has been content to co-operate with French embassies around the world for any necessary representation.

But Monaco has just opened her first independent embassy outside of Europe - in Washington D.C.

Commenting on the new embassy, one local Monaco travel guide says that despite the population equivalent of a small US town, environmental reasons could be behind the move.

'Forget about this being primarily for Monegasques running into trouble in the US and needing assistance. We think this is more to do with Prince Albert wanting to influence the movers and shakers in the world as he is very concerned about global warming and the environment generally. And where better for that than Washington? It's Monaco's greenhouse next to the White House.'

The new embassy, chosen after a visit by Prince Albert, is in the Kalorama district of Washington D.C.
About the Author
YourMonaco.com is a travel guide for Monte Carlo and Monaco, and includes reviews and hotel in Monte Carlo information along with finance information for Monaco banks

For those thinking of moving to Monte Carlo full time the guide also has a section on how to learn Italian at one of the language schools.
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