Monaco Magic and Majesty
Maxim|November - December 2021
The sovereign principality on the French Riviera has never been a more vibrant and glittering attraction
By Si Si Penaloza. Photography by Mike Jones

Simply put, Monaco exudes prestige—from the nine-figure superyachts to discreet banking venues that feel more like a country club than the usual three-tellers-and-an-ATM we see Stateside. Here in the second smallest sovereign state after the Vatican, citizens enjoy a zero income-tax policy, a rather attractive fiscal climate for the world’s wealthiest global citizens. Real estate is a realm unto itself, quite literally, as most prized properties transfer either dynastically or between aristocrats. Natives still speak the Monégasque dialect, which sounds like a soulful blend of French and Italian. The 200-hectare principality feels so consummately vetted, it has reigned as the de facto VIP suite of Europe for generations.

What Monaco lacks in size it more than makes up for in sheer power in the global property market. Lying within the glamorous French Riviera, Monaco remains the most expensive prime residential market in the world, according to Savills’ 2020 property report, with Monte Carlo holding pole position. At nearly three times the price of fourth-placed London, suddenly Mayfair seems like a fire sale.

An uptick of fintech entrepreneurs looking to move and work within Europe has zeroed in on Monaco as an ideal base camp with an attractive tax regime. In other revealing metrics, a Monte Carlo furnished penthouse rental for one year is comparable to the sticker price of a brand new Rolls-Royce Phantom. Low supply and high demand create the perfect storm for a feast of ego and escrow.

From the moment Grace Kelly wed Prince Rainier III at Monaco Ville’s Cathédrale de Monaco in 1956, the mythic House of Grimaldi and Hollywood legend have been indelibly intertwined. The aura remains to this day, embodied in Prince Albert II and his family, the living emblem of Monaco. An avid ocean conservationist, the monarch established the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2006 to “protect the environment and promote sustainable development.” The head of one of Europe’s longest-ruling royal families is on a mission to establish Monaco as a leader in planet preservation, by achieving carbon neutrality for the Principality by 2050.

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