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Monaco is set into France, tucked into the mountains on the coast. I will say that the views are exceptional, the city spotless, the architecture a range from Victorian to Jugenstil to Art Deco to Modern.
I think I can safely say that the rich, the extremely wealthy, are not like the rest of us. I am not speaking of the landed British Gentry who are house poor, dressed in old tweeds and sturdy shoes doddering around mouldering old estates.
Rather, of those who have made the money themselves in this generation or live in that style. It might be without flair and paparazzi but still there is a difference. It means that you don’t think anything of having a wonderful flat in Monaco complete with wrap around balcony, marble floors, chrome and glass tables and rich cream padded fabric walls. It is the kind of place featured in Architectural Digest or House Beautiful. You could clean it yourself in no time, but the owners of such a place have a service which does such things. Everything is simple, modern, elegant. Art on the wall, sculpture in the living room.
What is missing is the stuff of average middle class lives. There are no piles of debris, clutter or mounds of crafts or books. The other detritus that says someone lives there on a daily basis which all of us have is conspicuously absent. It is elegant, beautiful, decorated to within inch of its life and in my mind a bit sterile. It is the life style that thinks nothing of a dinner for 2-4 which costs more than my monthly food budget.
But then, I think the main business in Monaco is separating the wealthy from their money. Whether it be clothing shops, florists, restaurants or casinos. Why charge 3-5€ for a pair of socks when 16€ will do? But then I challenge you to find a 3 pack of anything in this Principality much less a common daisy. Name brands adorn all the clothing that is not obviously bespoke. I will admit being less than comfortable in a shopping area whether the average person walking by is sporting more spent on their personal clothing (including shoes and handbags) than I make in a month – prior to retirement.
The wealthy are different. I think I will stay with my Grandmother’s recommendations – Esther’s that the way to have money is not to spend it and Anne’s not to pay retail.