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Monte-Carlo is the most famous of the Principality of Monaco’s districts. It is named after Prince Charles III, who was behind its construction in the nineteenth century.

Monte-Carlo is one of the nine districts that make up the city state of Monaco. Originally, this district covering around 80 hectares accounted for 21% of the Principality’s territory and was known as the Spélugues plateau, after the Monegasque name for the caves located there. It was an arid, wild place where olive and carob trees grew alongside a handful of fruit trees and a few vines. In the nineteenth century, it was renamed Monte-Carlo in honour of Prince Charles III, who had initiated the complete transformation of this part of Monaco.

The birth of this district is etched in the history of Monaco. It began in 1848, at a time of revolution, when the communes of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Menton, which had until then been part of the Principality of Monaco, seceded and rejoined France.

Having lost 80% of its territory, its agricultural land and its main sources of income, Monaco was forced to construct a new economic model. Putting his faith in aristocratic tourism, Prince Charles III decided to turn Spélugues into a holiday and recreational resort for the European nobility and upper classes. He established the Société des Bains de Mer and ordered the construction on Spélugues plateau of the Casino, the Opera and the luxury hotels that would make Monte-Carlo legendary…

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With its luxurious gardens, its roads, its gas lighting and the imminent arrival of the railway, the district’s appearance changed dramatically. It needed a new name, since Spélugues was the target of mockery – some people associated the name with the German word Spelunke (a dodgy bar) or the old French spélonque (a rough area).

By an ordinance issued on 1 July 1866, the Spélugues district officially became Monte-Carlo (Mount Charles).

Since then, Monte-Carlo has become synonymous with luxury and glamour, bringing Monaco international fame. It is still home to Place du Casino (Casino Square), luxury hotels that are among the most prestigious in the world, such as the Hotel de Paris and the Hermitage, and many high-end shops.

The most illustrious area of Monte-Carlo is even known as Carré d’Or (Gold Square) – a reference to the numerous jewellers found here.

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2019 saw the arrival of One Monte-Carlo as a new addition to the premium commercial and residential district.

Designed by urban architect and Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Sir Richard Rogers, the complex offers 1,445 m2 dedicated to business tourism and events, 37 luxuriously appointed apartments and a dozen high-end stores in the very heart of the city.

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Société des Bains de Mer

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