In the interest of educating potential travelers and geography nerds alike, I’m sharing my experiences of living in Europe as a kind of “Here’s what someone ought to tell you” thing. Obviously, guide books aplenty have been written in this vein, and everyone claims to tell you the things that the other guide books won’t tell you, but all of those people are lying and I’m not.
So without further ado, here are seven things you should know about Monaco:
1) It’s tiny. You already know this, but it’s really tiny. You can walk across the entire country in an afternoon and stop for lunch along the way. If you want to walk the other direction across the country, it’s a much shorter distance, but there’s some climbing involved as the coastline is steep.
2) It’s exclusive. Not just in the sense of being a playground for billionaires and their 200 foot-long yachts, but also in the way to get there. When taking a train through southern France, your train stays underground the entire time you’re in Monaco so you can’t see the country at all – you can only see it if you get off the train and spend some time (and money) there.
3) The casino has a dress code. It’s not quite like the Luxor or some racino in West Virginia. You can go into the first area to look around and pull a few slots, but going into the actual betting area requires money and nice clothes. So, you know, I can’t tell you what the table minimums are.
4) You won’t feel as out of place as you think. At a glance, the abundance of the mega-rich may scare you off and make you think, “I won’t fit in there because I make a salary under eight figures per year – before the decimal point.” But you may actually be wrong. The place is flooded with tourists year-round to see how this .01% lives, so plenty of people you’ll be running into or eating dinner next to are in the same boat as you (a cruise ship, probably).
5) Billionaires don’t often invite strangers on to their yachts. I know, this one surprises me all the time. You know they purchase these things to show them off and make themselves feel like kings, and then they don’t actually show them off to tourists. Seems like a waste.
6) Try to forget about the exchange rate. Seeing Euros on price tags isn’t going to help. Just pretend they’re dollars until you get back home and see your bank statement. Then remember that you paid 30% more for everything…not to mention the 30% more you paid just because you were in Monaco. Oops.
7) You don’t live there. You never will. Quit daydreaming, loser. You’ll never be a billionaire and you can’t spend more than a few days there. Mexico is cheap and has some nice places, too. Try that instead.