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Monte Carlo: A city of contrasts

NEWS STORY
15/01/2014

Jenson Button, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton do not race for the same team but have something in common all the same. They have mixed pleasure with business by making Monaco their new home. Another driver, Nico Rosberg, who won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2013, was lucky enough to grow up there as his father, the 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg, used to live in the Principality.

No matter what we might think, it is logical that the wealthiest drivers picked Monaco as their place of residence. This independent state on the French Riviera has been the playground of rich and aristocracy for decades. Furthermore, its tax laws are advantageous in contrast to its European neighbours.

Every year, for one weekend in May, the Monte Carlo streets are turned into a race track, having hosted the Monaco Grand Prix since 1929, long before the first of the modern Formula One World Championship in 1950. In reality, the transformation takes almost two months to achieve, with 200 workers constructing the 1,100 tons of grandstands and hundreds of other setting up the 21 miles of safety barriers.

While the F1 drivers living in Monaco enjoy the peace and quiet of the Principality for much of the year, when the Grand Prix finally comes to town it means parties in the harbour and on the terraces, all day and night for days. "Monte Carlo is a tiny place but it becomes so crowded during the Grand Prix," admits Felipe Massa.

However, one of the reasons why Monegasques are so keen on the race is because it is really good for business. Indeed, the Grand Prix is part of the difference between Monaco and other Mediterranean destinations such as Nice, Marseille and Montpellier. On top of that, the race attracts new sightseers and business meetings every year. Indeed, some says that the Grand Prix brings in more than $100 million to the principality.

Monaco hosts many land-based casinos that offer guests from around the world the opportunity to experience the refined luxury of their hotels, one of the most famous being the Hotel de Paris. "It offers magnificent elevated views of the cars", guarantees the Casino’s manager. "Our suites are made up of balconies overhanging the track and giving high speed race viewing".

But staying in these wonderful hotels does offer other benefits. Customers can enjoy souvenirs of this very special occasion. Monaco Grand Prix, lanyards souvenirs, VIP passes and a unique personnel available for the duration of the race can be provided. "If you want to kiss the barrier, you will have to pay whatever the price", explains a tourist from Germany who had the chance to spend a night in the Casino Square Hotel. "On Sunday, you must pay $3,600 for a single room and if you want a Casino Square VIP suite, it is $4,800".

Maybe only F1 drivers can afford these rates! Visit The Casino City for more information on the Monte Carlo casinos and its famous Grand Prix.

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