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February 28, 2019
The ten regions of Monaco
Monaco is tiny but its diminutive size is no reflection of its personality and character. Nearly 700 years old and dating back to the reign of the Grimaldis, the country and its unique characteristics attract millions of tourists every year as well as some of the wealthiest people in the world who chose to base themselves from the territory.
Within the Principality itself lie ten clear regions, each with their own idiosyncrasies, population, and culture. In this article, Jake Hall, director of Monaco-invested property bond Azurite, takes you around Monaco’s districts, ending with a summary on the challenges facing the country in its quest to maintain economic and population growth.
Probably the best known part of Monaco and famous around the world for its casino and its palm-tree-lined streets, Monte Carlo (Spélugues) is the country’s official administrative area.As well as the district itself, the moniker of Monte Carlo is also unofficially applied to the grouping of the La Rousse, Saint Michel, and Larvotto districts. This wider area is home to around 15,000 people while the official ward of Monte Carlo itself has a population of three and a half thousand.
French town Beausoleil (often called Monte-Carlo-Supérieur) is just a short walk, while Italy is 8 kilometres away.
Monte Carlo is the most sought-after district in Monaco with prices reaching €56,343 per square foot in 2018 (source: IMSEE).
La Rousse/Saint Roman
The Principality’s most northern ward, La Rousse is a popular residential community and it contains the tallest building in Monaco – the 170m-high Tour Odéon on Avenue de l’Annonciade.
The most north easterly point of Monte Carlo, Larvotto borders Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. It’s home to the conference centre the Grimaldi Forum, located on the seafront. Larvotto is also the site of a new land reclamation project which when complete will free up land from the sea on which new homes will be built
Named after Grace Kelly, the Avenue Princesse Grace is found near the Larvotto beach and it is home to the stunning Japanese Gardens, a favourite spot to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.
Affectionately known in the area as “The Rock”, Monaco City is the south central ward built on a headland that goes out into the Med.
Although it’s right in the centre of the City, the ward was once a medieval village that still has a real sense of history about it. The area is full of quiet streets that are practically silent as soon the sun sets. The streets are designed for pedestrian use as only local people are allowed to drive around the area. It’s also illegal to ride a motorbike in Monaco City after 10pm.
Monaco City is home to the Prince’s Palace, where visitors can watch the changing of the guard every day at five minutes to 12pm. Other tourist attractions include:
- – Cathedral of Our Lady Immaculate/Cathédrale de Monaco. This Romanesque-Byzantine catholic is where Monaco’s royals and leading figures are laid to rest.
- – Fort Antoine Theatre
- – St Martin Gardens – a natural park built on the rock
- – Museum of the Chapel of Visitation – where culture fans can also find some beautiful works of art
- – Oceanographic Museum – founded in 1910 by Prince Albert I of Monaco
The Chapel of Mercy, built in 1639, is the oldest building in the area and it plays an important role in religious ceremonies to this day. On the eve of Good Friday every year, a candlelit procession begins at the Chapel of Mercy.
Located at the most southerly point of Monaco, Fontvieille is a relatively new ward created between the 70’s and 90’s by Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti. It has its own heliport which directly connects visitors and residents to Nice Airport. Car enthusiasts can enjoy the Automobile Museum while those who enjoy more relaxing pursuits can pay a visit to the Museum of Stamps and Coins which boasts exhibits dating back to the mid-17th century.
Racing drivers, past and present, can often be seen here including David Coulthard who once owned the Columbus Hotel right in the heart of Fontvieille. Fontvieille is also a major hub for business in Monaco with Venturi and Voxan having their headquarters in the ward.
The area was built from reclaimed land in a bid to free up space for property development. Designed by Italian engineer Gianfranco Gilardini, it was opened by then Crown Prince Albert in 1981 with his son Albert II laying the cornerstone of the newest area in 2005.
Prince Rainier III was often referred to the “Builder Prince” (source: Architectural Digest) and Fontvieille is evidence of the exceptional design and architecture that can be seen in Monte Carlo.
Found at the north west side of the country, above Fontvieille, La Colle is seen by locals as being part of Moneghetti despite being a ward in its own right. It’s located next to French towns Beausoleil and Cap-d’Ail, with Monaco’s Révoires, Fontvieille and Moneghetti, just a stone’s throw away.
La Colle is the second least populated ward in Monaco and the smallest ward in terms of area too covering just 0.11 square km. 2,829 people live here and many residents assert that there’s a strong sense of community in the area. Two of Monaco’s schools are located here so it’s very popular with growing families.
There are a few little hotels here but La Colle isn’t much of a touristy area. Instead, it’s one of Monaco’s more industrial regions and, although small, the area plays a key role in the Principality’s economy because of its shipping and manufacturing sector businesses.
There are some beautiful properties to be found along the Révoires-La Colle border although it’s not considered to be one of the most popular areas among real estate agents. Properties here tend to be valued at around thirteen to eighteen percent lower than its neighbours making it a good bet for people new to the area without a multi-million budget.
The Princess Grace Hospital can be found on the westside of La Colle.
As with La Colle, Les Révoires is widely considered to be a part of Moneghetti although it is, in fact, also a ward in its own right. It can be found near to the French towns of Cap-d’Ail and Beusoleil, situated next to La Colle and Moneghetti.
The ward is extremely steep – great for keen walkers who like to enjoy a trek with a satisfying view at the end. Chemin des Révoires, The highest point in Monaco at 161m above the level of the sea, is here. Once you reach the top, you benefit from some of the most idyllic views of the City of Monaco and the ocean.
This is the smallest region in Monaco both in land mass and population. Just 2,545 people live here inhabiting an area of 0.90 square km (source: Revolvy). There aren’t any schools in this area although they are within easy reach. There isn’t a police station here either, but again, because of Monaco’s size, police officers can be at the scene of a crime in a matter of minutes.
The district is a mainly residential area – there isn’t much here of interest to tourists – but you can find familiar chain hotels and B&Bs are popular with people who like to stay a little outside of the tourist spots.
Real estate prices here tend to be between six and ten percent less here than in neighbouring areas because it’s not in the centre of Monaco.
Moneghetti/ Boulevard de Belgique
Monaco’s north central ward, Moneghetti/Boulevard de Belgique, is recognised as being part of La Condamine.
Bordering the Alps, Les Moneghetti is famous for its steep walks and glittering sea views. Tourists and locals alike enjoy treks to the steps of the Sacred Heart Church, also home to Monaco’s Guide and Scouts Association.
Nestled in the north centre of Monaco, just above Monte Carlo, is Saint Michel. Although it’s officially a separate ward, it’s considered by many to be a part of Monte Carlo itself. The ward also runs alongside the French village Beausoleil and the Monégasque Wards La Condamine and Moneghetti.
The third most heavily populated area in Monaco, Saint Michel is home to 3,907 residents and covers a land mass of 0.14 square km (source: Revolvy). Three schools are located here (two run by the state, one private) making it a popular choice with young families. It’s more of a residential area, but there are plenty of small hotels and bed and breakfasts for those who prefer to stay away from the city. There are also several boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, along with some car dealerships including Tesla, BMW and Honda.
As it’s located outside of the city, property prices here are generally between ten and fifteen percent lower than those in Monte Carlo and La Condamine.
Le Portier – future growth for the territory
A new residential area, La Portier forms part of the traditional Quartier of Monte Carlo and is due to be complete in 2025. The project began in the early 2000s but had a rough start with the project abandoned by Prince Philip in 2009 due to insufficient funds (source: Guardian). However, more money became available and building works commenced two years later. The construction plans include admin centres, a theatre, and museums.
The area is based between Port Hercules and the Grimaldi Forum and covers just under seven acres in size. It’s a flagship development in a Principality that has already gained an impressive reputation for architectural innovation and is one several land reclamation projects undertook since the 1950s.
A report in the FT said “a group of private developers, overseen by the municipal government, is working on a €2.1bn project to reclaim 15 acres of land from the Mediterranean in the easternmost ward of Larvotto, a minute’s walk from Monte Carlo”.
New property is always in demand in Monaco. The most new residential units released to the market was in 2015 with 195 units across four different developments. In 2018, 89 new apartments were offered for sale as part of the new Stella complex, creating €371m in revenue for the developers, an increase of 62%. 60 of these sales were for €5m, 6 for €5-10m, 6 for €10m+.
The developers are buying the land off-plan and selling it on to investors.
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