A dwarf state called Monaco is located half an hour away from the French city of Nice.

I really love these eccentric little countries. Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino — all of them are remnants of the era when there were several hundred city-states in Europe. Some economists say it was a time of great economic prosperity. Others use the term “feudal fragmentation era.”

Regardless, dwarf states today are the wealthiest countries with laws tailored to specific goals. They often have low taxes, banking secrecy, and capital protection.

Monaco is no exception in this regard. The country has no personal income tax or corporate income tax. Salaries, company revenues, proceeds from the sale of property and investments are taxed at a rate of 0%, although there are still certain taxes in the country.

Therefore, Monaco is simply a paradise for the wealthy, investors, and gamblers. It’s no wonder that there are so many Russians here. Although out of the 38,000 residents of Monaco, only 750 people have Russian passports, the Russian language is constantly heard here. Apparently, there are many more tourists from Russia than Russian residents.

Only for them was translated the sign “Cross the road only at the crosswalk”. It is noteworthy that there is no German version of it.

Monaco is the epitome of bad taste. Apparently, it was brought here by billionaires who often lack a sense of beauty. Otherwise, how else can one explain that Monaco is filled with high-rise buildings?

Moreover, the city itself is situated on cliffs. Varying elevations are the key to a beautiful and captivating city. And Monaco offers incredible views that are completely marred by repulsive high-rise buildings.

Literally beneath your feet, the walls of an old fortress are carved into the cliffs.

And above them grows some hideous combination of panels, highways, and overhead walkways.

The balconies are generally neat. At least they are not cluttered with skis, bicycles, and old junk.

There are even charming houses, but the entire view is ruined by the infrastructure. What billionaire would want to live in a beautiful house with windows facing an elevated highway?

But there is simply nothing else in Monaco. No matter where you live, your exit is always to a road.

Expensive yachts can be seen in the narrow gaps between the houses.

Narrow roads barely fit a sidewalk, which is not always bordered by curbs. Sometimes, they simply draw a line and place a few posts instead.

Window grilles can be seen up to the second floor. It is to prevent burglars from climbing through the grille on the ground floor.

Someone is lucky: their balconies overlook the marina. Spending one night in a modest hotel with such a view can cost anywhere from 500 to 1000 dollars.

However, there is still a highway beneath the windows.

There is very little space in Monaco. The country ranks first in the world in terms of population density because essentially it is not a country but a city. There are 20,000 people per square kilometer in Monaco. Singapore takes second place with only 8,000 people per square kilometer.

Therefore, the development in Monaco is incredibly dense. The city resembles the worst districts of Russia that were built during Putin’s regime and sold for exorbitant prices. It doesn’t matter that there is sun, sea, and yachts here. What good is all that if you live in an overcrowded anthill?

Sometimes, you come across a luxurious Baroque-style house. However, it is invariably overshadowed by some modern shit.

Preserving the historical appearance of the city is not even being considered in Monaco.

Only one place survived the development — the Monte Carlo Casino. It is the most famous casino in the world. Three James Bond movies and “Ocean’s Twelve” were filmed here. In honor of this casino, the Monte Carlo method was named after it in probability theory.

The casino is housed in a luxurious mansion built in the style of Beaux-Arts, which is a variety of French Baroque.

Expensive cars are parked at the entrance of the casino, and everyone takes pictures with them.

The entrance to the building where the casino is located is free, but only until 2 p.m. After that, the casino starts operating.

There’s not much to see here, just a beautiful hall filled with various things, a small café, and a dirty restroom for 1 euro.

The slot machines are located in a separate part of the building, where access is guarded by well-dressed gentlemen.

By the way, citizens of Monaco are prohibited from playing in Monte Carlo. Let the wealthy outsiders spend their money.

Right behind the casino, there is a small park. Probably the only patch of greenery in these concrete jungles.

The park is famous for its collection of insects. While I was eating hamon sandwiches here, mosquitoes slowly devoured me.

An extremely shabby park. There are only a couple of benches here, and you can’t walk through it due to the fence and repairs.

In addition to the casino, in Monaco, you can see the harbor where expensive yachts are moored. The harbor is visible from any place in the city.

There are ships of all kinds here. There are also small boats:

There are even entire “aircraft carriers”:

Millionaires hang out on yachts. I took pictures of a few, but couldn’t figure out who they were.

But in general, it’s easier than ever to meet a celebrity in Monaco.

There stands the enormous yacht Luna. It used to belong to Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, but now (in 2022) it belongs to Azerbaijani businessman Farkhad Akhmedov and is under arrest due to sanctions against Russia.

Perhaps if you wait long enough, Mr. Akhmedov will definitely come for his yacht!

I wonder where he lives in Monaco? Hopefully, his windows don’t face the Nice-Volokolamsk highway.

Yes, Monaco is a profound disappointment. I have never seen such a display of expensive tastelessness anywhere in the world. The entire city is engulfed in luxurious brands. Restaurants serve oysters, foie gras, and wines that Pontius Pilate drank. Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Chanel shine in the shop windows. The streets are filled with Lamborghinis and Bentleys.

Even the police were given a post-mansion.

But if you dig deeper, so to speak, look into the soul... the chairs in cafés come from Ikea!

The city of Monaco

In fact, the previous talk was about the city of Monte Carlo. The capital of the state of Monaco is the city of Monaco itself. As the country is very small, there is no visible border between the cities; the division exists only on paper.

The city of Monaco consists of several blocks of historic buildings inside an old fortress located on a small rock.

It’s a bit more pleasant here, one can live comfortably.