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Car cultures around the world: Monaco

In our series of car cultures around the world/international street scenes we move from the car culture in Morocco to that of Monaco, the wealthy principality on the other side of the Mediterranean, the contrast couldn’t be bigger. Whereas the streets of Morocco are filled with cheap and practical transportation, sometimes decades old, living a tough but grateful life as daily workhorses, the cars in Monaco serve a much different purpose. The densely populated city-state which is enclosed by France and the Mediterranean Sea covers only 2 square kilometers (0.78 sq. Mi) and is built on a hillside. That means it doesn’t really make sense for its inhabitants to drive supercars, hypercars and top-of-the-line sports versions of regular cars, but that’s exactly what they’re doing.

McLaren 650S Spider and Lamborghini Huracan taking a hairpin in Monaco

After a day or so in Monaco, you don’t even notice a “regular” Ferrari or Bentley anymore, as they’re so commonplace. In fact, Ferrari and Bentley each sell more cars than brands like Renault or Opel in the small principality. And Rolls Royce sells as many cars as Volvo does, and McLaren sells twice as many cars as Alfa Romeo. The top-3 of brands? Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche. And don’t think those are the basic Mercedes’ or Audis: the Audi RS6 Avant is like the Volkswagen Golf Wagon of Monaco, you’ll spot at least one but often a handful every time you cross the city state from one end to the other. Small cars? Sure, there are plenty, but again mostly the top-of-the-line. I’ve spotted more Abarth 500 than Fiat 500, more Audi S1 than A1 and more Mercedes-AMG A45 than the regular Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

One of the many Abarth 500 parked behind a Porsche 911

If you want to spot the most exclusive and most expensive cars in Monaco, you’ll only need to go to Casino Square (Place du Casino), where the uber-wealthy are so kind to tip the valet guys enough to make sure their Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari LaFerrari or Rolls Royce Phantom gets a prime spot right in front of the entrance.

Ferraris, Rolls-Royces and Bentleys at the Monte Carlo Beach Resort