Monaco is second only to the Vatican as the smallest independent state in Europe. Set on the Mediterranean coast of France just a few miles from the Italian border, the country is a narrow ribbon of coastline backed by the Alpes-Maritimes foothills, creating a natural amphitheatre overlooking the sea.
Monaco-Ville is set on a rocky promontory dominating the coast. The Palace is the home of the Grimaldi family, the oldest ruling house in Europe. Monaco-Ville also boasts a fine Romanesque cathedral among its other attractions. La Condamine is the area around the Port, while Monte-Carlo is the main centre for business and entertainment. Fontvieille has been set aside as an area for new light industrial and residential development.