- General Info
- Health Risks
- Insect Threats
- Water Quality
- Security Concerns
- Weather Notes
- Electrical Standards
- Visa Info
- Time Zone
Nestled just south of France on the Mediterranean Sea, the Principality of Monaco occupies a tiny yet spectacular strip along the coast, offering glorious scenery, a mild climate and some of the Mediterranean's most pristine beaches and coastline. The heart of Monaco is the old city, perched atop a jagged peninsula 140 meters above sea level, where the royal palace and famous Oceanographic Museum are located. Even more spectacular is the Cathedral of Monaco, a Byzantine church where members of the ruling House of Grimaldi (including Prince Ranier and Princess Grace) are buried. Home of the Grand Prix, Monte Carlo offers glamorous night life, gambling, and celebrity-spotting.Language: French (official), English, Italian, Monegasque
The preventive measures you need to take while traveling in Western Europe depend on the areas you visit and the length of time you stay. For most areas of this region, you should observe health precautions similar to those that would apply while traveling in the United States.
Travelers diarrhea, the number one illness in travelers, can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites, which can contaminate food or water. Infections may cause diarrhea and vomiting (E. coli, Salmonella, cholera, and parasites), fever (typhoid fever and toxoplasmosis), or liver damage (hepatitis). Make sure your food and drinking water are safe.
Tickborne encephalitis, a viral infection of the central nervous system, occurs chiefly in Central and Western Europe. Travelers are at risk who visit or work in forested areas during the summer months and who consume unpasteurized dairy products. The vaccine for this disease is not available in the United States at this time. To prevent tickborne encephalitis, as well as Lyme disease, travelers should take precautions to prevent tick bites.
There is no risk for yellow fever in Western Europe. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry into certain of these countries if you are coming from countries in South America or sub-Saharan Africa. Find the nearest authorized U.S. yellow fever vaccine center.
CDC recommends the following vaccines (as appropriate for age):
See your doctor at least 46 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect.
- Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG). You are not at increased risk in Northern, Western, and Southern Europe, including the Mediterranean regions of Italy and Greece.
- Hepatitis B, if you might be exposed to blood (for example, health-care workers), have sexual contact with the local population, stay longer than 6 months in Southern Europe, or be exposed through medical treatment.
- As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria. Hepatitis B vaccine is now recommended for all infants and for children ages 1112 years who did not complete the series as infants.
All travelers should take the following precautions, no matter the destination:
- Wash hands often with soap and water.
- Because motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of injury among travelers, walk and drive defensively. Avoid travel at night if possible and always use seat belts.
- Always use latex condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Dont eat or drink dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized.
- Dont share needles with anyone.
- Never eat undercooked ground beef and poultry, raw eggs, and unpasteurized dairy products. Raw shellfish is particularly dangerous to persons who have liver disease or compromised immune systems. (Travelers to Western Europe should also see the information on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) and New Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (nvCJD).)
Travelers to rural or undeveloped areas should take the following precautions:
- Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Avoid tap water, fountain drinks, and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by BOTH filtering through an absolute 1-micron or less filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. Absolute 1-micron filters are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
- Eat only thoroughly cooked food or fruits and vegetables you have peeled yourself. Remember: boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites:
- Pay special attention to mosquito protection between dusk and dawn.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
- Use insect repellents that contain DEET (diethylmethyltoluamide).
- Read and follow the directions and precautions on the product label.
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
- Do not put repellent on wounds or broken skin.
- Do not breathe in, swallow, or get into the eyes (DEET is toxic if swallowed). If using a spray product, apply DEET to your face by spraying your hands and rubbing the product carefully over the face, avoiding eyes and mouth.
- Unless you are staying in air-conditioned or well-screened housing, purchase a bed net impregnated with the insecticide permethrin or deltamethrin. Or, spray the bed net with one of these insecticides if you are unable to find a pretreated bed net.
- DEET may be used on adults, children, and infants older than 2 months of age. Protect infants by using a carrier draped with mosquito netting with an elastic edge for a tight fit.
- Children under 10 years old should not apply insect repellent themselves. Do not apply to young children’s hands or around eyes and mouth.
- To prevent fungal and parasitic infections, keep feet clean and dry, and do not go barefoot.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ticks are the primary source of insect-borne disease in Monaco, often carrying Lyme disease, encephalitis and Mediterranean spotted fever. There is also a slight risk of leishmaniasis infection from sandfly bites. Travelers should use topical insect repellent and wear insecticide-treated clothing in wooded and rural areas.
The municipal water supply in Monaco is considered safe for drinking.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: The Government of France maintains a national anti-terrorism plan, "Vigipirate Renforce." Under this plan, in times of heightened security concerns, the government mobilizes police and armed forces at airports, train and metro stations, and other high-profile locations such as schools, embassies, and government installations. In recent months, arrests have been made in France in connection with various possible terrorist plots. American citizens should remain alert and vigilant, and report any suspect packages or suspicious activities to local police. In the past, political assassinations and random bombings have occurred in France . One U.S. citizen was injured incidentally in these attacks, but none have been killed. All passengers on subways and trains are urged to be aware of their surroundings and to report any unattended baggage to the nearest authority.
The Basque Separatist Party (ETA) and the National Front for the Liberation of Corsica (FLNC) continue to operate in the south of France and occasionally bomb local government institutions, banks, travel agencies, etc. There have been numerous politically motivated bombings on the island of Corsica . While no deaths were caused by any of these acts of terrorism, Americans should remain vigilant when traveling to Corsica .
Violent civil disorder is rare in France . In the past, however, student demonstrations, labor protests and other routine demonstrations have turned into violent confrontations between demonstrators and police. Americans are advised to avoid street demonstrations, and can obtain current travel information at the State Department's Consular Affairs web site at http://travel.state.gov.
CRIME: Both France and Monaco have relatively low rates of violent crime, and the crime rate in both countries has fallen slightly in recent years. Thieves commonly target vehicles with non-local license plates and tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations, airports and subways. Americans in France and Monaco should be particularly alert to pickpockets in train stations and subways. Photocopies of travel documents and credit cards should be kept separate from the originals.
Although thieves may operate anywhere, the U.S. Embassy in Paris receives frequent reports of theft from several areas in particular:
Paris : Gangs of thieves operate on the rail link (RER) from Charles de Gaulle Airport to downtown Paris , where they prey on jet-lagged, luggage-burdened tourists. In one common ruse, a thief distracts a tourist with a question about directions, while an accomplice steals their momentarily unguarded backpack, briefcase or purse. Thieves also time their thefts to coincide with train stops so they may quickly exit the car. Travelers may wish to consider taking a bus or taxi from the airport into the city.
Reports of stolen purses, briefcases and carry-on bags at Charles de Gaulle Airport have been on the rise. Travelers should monitor their bags at all times and never leave them unattended. As thieves commonly target laptop bags, travelers should avoid carrying passports and other valuables in computer bags.
There have been a number of violent armed robberies, including knife attacks that have taken place late at night, in the vicinity of the Eiffel Tower .
There have been reports of robberies in which thieves on motorcycles reach into a moving car by opening the car door or reaching through an open window to steal purses and other bags visible inside. Those traveling by car should remember to keep the windows up and the doors locked.
There have also been reports of bags stolen from pedestrians by thieves on motorcycles. In some of these cases, victims who did not release their bags were dragged by the motorcyclist and suffered serious injury.
Many thefts occur on the Number One Subway Line, which runs by many major tourist attractions (including the Grand Arch at La Defense, the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysees , Place de la Concorde, the Louvre and the Bastille). Pickpockets are especially active on this metro line during the summer months.
Gare du Nord train station, where the express trains from the airport arrive in Paris , is also a high-risk area for pickpocketing and theft. Travelers should also beware of thefts that occur on both overnight and day trains, especially on trains originating in Spain , Italy and Belgium . Additionally, several sexual assaults involving American citizens have occurred recently in the immediate vicinity of the Gard du Nord train station.
Many thefts occur at the major department stores (Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and Samaritaine) where tourists often place wallets, passports and credit cards on cashier counters during transactions.
In hotels, thieves target lobbies and breakfast rooms, and take advantage of a minute of inattention to snatch jackets, purses and backpacks. While many hotels do have safety latches that allow guests to secure their rooms from inside, this feature is not as universal as it is in the United States . If no chain or latch is present, a chair placed up against the door is usually an effective obstacle to surreptitious entry during the night. There are, however, reports of thieves breaking into hotel rooms on lower floors through open windows while the occupants are sleeping. To guard against this, hotel room windows should be kept locked at all times.
There have been reports of thieves stealing hotel safes from hotel rooms in a broad range of Parisian hotels. Whenever possible, valuables should be kept in the hotel safe behind the reception desk rather than in the room safe.
Many Americans have reported thefts occurring in restaurants, where purses are stolen from the back of a chair or from under the table during the meal.
ATMs (Automatic Teller Machines) are very common in France and provide ready access to cash, allowing travelers to carry as much money as they need for each day. The rates are competitive with local exchange bureaus and an ATM transaction is easier than the cashing of travelers' checks. However, crimes committed around ATMs have been reported. Travelers should not use ATMs in isolated, unlit areas or where loiterers are present. Travelers should be especially aware of persons standing close enough to see the PIN (Personal Identification Number) being entered into the machine. Thieves often conduct successful scams by simply observing the PIN as it is entered. If the card becomes stuck, travelers should be wary of persons who offer to help or ask for the PIN to "fix" the machine. Legitimate bank employees never have a reason to ask for the PIN.
Pigalle is the red-light district of Paris . Many entertainment establishments in this area engage in aggressive marketing and charge well beyond the normal rate for drinks. There have been reports of threats of violence to coerce patrons into paying exorbitant beverage tabs.
Normandy : There has been an increase in break-ins and thefts from vehicles in the parking lots at the Normandy beaches and American cemeteries. Valuables should not be left unattended in a car, and locking valuables in the trunk should not be considered a safeguard. Thieves often pry open car trunks to steal bags inside.
Southern France : Thefts from cars stopped at red lights are common, particularly in the Nice-Antibes-Cannes area, and in Marseille. Car doors should be kept locked at all times to prevent incidents of "snatch-and-grab" thefts. In this type of scenario, the thief is usually a passenger on a motorcycle. Similar incidents also have occurred at tollbooths and rest areas. Special caution is advised when entering and exiting a car, as this presents an opportunity for purse-snatchers.
Purse-snatching and pickpocketing occur throughout southern France . Passports should be carried on one's person when necessary, and shoulder bags should be worn bandolier-style across the chest, not on the shoulder.
Break-ins of parked cars are also common. Locking valuables in the trunk is not a safeguard. Valuables should not be left unattended in a car.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, where you may obtain information about passport replacement. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad , for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office , Washington , D.C. , 20402 , or via the Internet at http://www.gopaccess.gov/index.html, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
Source: U.S. Department of State
Monaco enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. An occasional mistral wind can lower temperatures for a day or two in the spring.
Monaco's electrical current is 220/50 (volts/hz) and uses the plug adaptors listed to the right under Related Items. Please note: Not all electrical sockets in these countries provide grounding.Many North American appliances are designed to operate only within the 100-125 volt range. These appliances will suffer damage if plugged into 220-250 volts without the proper transformer or converter.
To determine which plug adaptors you'll need and if you'll require a transformer or converter, use our Electrical Connection Wizard.
For a detailed discussion of international electrical standards, see our related article on Electrical and Phone Adaptation.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for entry to France and Monaco . A visa is not required for tourist/business stays up to 90 days in France and Monaco . For further information concerning entry requirements for France , travelers may contact the Embassy of France at 4101 Reservoir Road, N.W. Washington , D.C. 20007, tel. (202) 944-6000, or the French Consulates General in Atlanta , Boston , Chicago , Houston , Los Angeles , Miami , New Orleans , New York , or San Francisco . The web site for the Consular Section of the French Embassy in the United States is: http://www.consulfrance-washington.org. For further information on entry requirements to Monaco , travelers may contact the Consulate General of Monaco at 565 5th Avenue , New York , N.Y. 10017, tel. (212) 759-5227. The Consulate General's web site is http://www.monaco-consulate.com.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
Source: U.S. Department of State
The time zone for Monaco is 1 hours offset from GMT, which means that if it is 12:00 noon in New York, the time in Monaco would be 6:00 pm
The unit of currency in Monaco is the euro (EUR).
Look up the current exchange rate using XE.com's Universal Currency Converter
Traveled to Monaco?
If you have visited this country recently and have ideas, thoughts, or suggestions to share with other travelers, we'd love to hear from you! Share your travel experiences and we'll post them on our website.