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The Casino at Monte Carlo. Place your bets.

If you ever get the chance, and it’s very unlikely that you will unless you’re paid a 5-figure salary or you’re some major/minor member of the European aristocracy, then a visit to the Casino de Monte Carlo might be for you and should not be declined. As you would expect it’s a pretty exclusive place apart from the fact it looks like it’s got two massive pineapples sticking out of it. Apart from that It’s a very nice bit of French Nineteenth Century architecture otherwise. You’ll see it ever year in a stunning piece of free advertising known as the Monaco Grand Prix. The track goes right past it and it’s a glorious shot. The racing drivers don’t get much of view as they are a bit busy during the race to admire it but I’m pretty sure they make up for that later when the race is done. As most of them live in Monaco it’s probably a bit passé. A much more affordable thing to do would be to partake of some F1 Hospitality Monaco during race time like the one available at Let’s have a look at this exclusive place, especially as looking is pretty much all we’re going to be able to do.

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It’s not just a Casino. It’s also the grand theatre and the home of the corps de Ballet. Whether the Ballerinas get a free go at the roulette table is unclear but what’s true is that the whole lot is owned and run by a public company with a very French name and the Royal Monegasque family and their Government own a big chunk of it as well. Just to make sure, they also run all the big hotels, sports and night clubs and main restaurants in Monaco to boot. It’s what you might call a family business.

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It’s a family business because it was set up by the extremely clever Princess Caroline in 1863. She was the brains behind the operation and it was sorely needed when it became clear that the Grimaldi family did not have a brass farthing (or Franc as it was back then) to rub together due to a couple of rebellious towns who said they wouldn’t be paying the tax levied on them for the olive oil and fruit they produced anymore. As we all know it’s expensive to live in Monaco and if you’re the ruling Royal family then there are standards to maintain above all the others. It used to have a spa in it as the nobles needed to get a bit of relief for the gout they all suffered at the time. However, the chance to lose their children’s inheritance was much more fun and it soon became the primary reason to go. There is a strict dress code and a strict “you need to have lots and lots of money to get in” code. Unless your James Bond of course, then you can come and go as you please.

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