Monaco is a sovereign city-state and microstate on the French Riviera, a few kilometers west of the Italian province of Liguria, in Western Europe, on the Mediterranean Sea. France borders it in the north, east, and west. The principality has 38,682 inhabitants, 9,486 of whom are Monégasque nationalities; it is commonly regarded as one of the most costly and wealthy locations in the world. The principality's official language is French. Many locals also speak and understand Monégasque (a Ligurian dialect), Italian, and English.
It is the world's second-smallest sovereign state, after Vatican City, with a size of 2.1 km2 (0.81 sq mi). It is the world's most densely inhabited sovereign state, with a population density of 19,009 people per square kilometer (49,230 people per square mile). Monaco has a land boundary of 5.47 kilometers (3.40 miles) and the world's smallest coastline of around 3.83 kilometers (2.38 miles); its breadth fluctuates between 1,700 and 349 meters (5,577 and 1,145 ft). The state's highest point is a tiny trail called Chemin des Révoires on the slopes of Mont Agel in the Les Révoires ward, which is 161 meters (528 feet) above sea level. The principality is around 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the Italian border. Larvotto/Bas Moulins is its most populated ward, having a population of 5,443 in 2008. Monaco's land mass has grown by 20% thanks to land reclamation. It has a land area of just 1.974 km2 in 2005. (0.762 sq mi).
The principality is ruled under a constitutional monarchy, with Prince Albert II as head of state, wielding enormous political influence despite his constitutional standing. The Prime Minister, who is the head of government, may be either a Monégasque or a French citizen; before making an appointment, the monarch confers with the Government of France. Key members of the Monaco judiciary are detached French judges. With occasional breaks, the House of Grimaldi has controlled Monaco since 1297. The Franco-Monégasque Treaty of 1861 legally recognized the state's sovereignty, and Monaco became a full voting member of the United Nations in 1993. Despite Monaco's independence and own foreign policy, France is responsible for its defense. Monaco does, however, retain two tiny military forces.
The inauguration of the state's first casino, the Monte Carlo Casino, as well as a railway link to Paris, fueled economic expansion in the late nineteenth century. Since then, Monaco's moderate temperature, beauty, and gaming facilities have aided the principality's reputation as a tourist destination and wealthy entertainment center. Monaco has been a significant financial center in recent years, and it has attempted to diversify its economy towards the services sector and small, high-value-added, non-polluting enterprises. Monaco is well-known as a tax haven, with no personal income tax and minimal company taxes. Over 30% of the population is a millionaire, and real estate prices in 2018 reached €100,000 ($116,374) per square meter.
Monaco is not a formal member of the European Union (EU), although it does participate in several EU programs, such as customs and border controls. Monaco utilizes the euro as its only currency as a result of its ties with France; before, it used the Monegasque franc, which was tied to and exchangeable with the French franc until January 1, 2002. Monaco joined the Council of Europe in 2004 and is a member of the International Francophonie Organization (OIF). It also hosts the annual street circuit motor race, the Monaco Grand Prix, one of Formula One's original Grands Prix. The Monte Carlo Rally, held in the French Alps in January, is named after the local motorsports organization. AS Monaco, the principality's club football team, plays in the French Ligue 1 and has won the French championship many times. Monaco, a center of marine conservation research, is home to one of the world's earliest protected marine environments, an Oceanographic Museum, and the International Atomic Energy Agency Environment Labs, the United Nations' sole marine laboratory.