Monaco-Ville is the original fortified town of Monaco. The Palais Princier (Prince's Palace), Saint Nicholas Cathedral, and the Oceanographic Museum are located in this quarter. Monaco-Ville is located at 43°44'15" North, 7°24'55" East (43.7375, 7.415278). Its population is estimated at 1,151 people.
Monaco-Ville, also known locally as "le rocher" or "the rock", is one of the four traditional quartiers or quarters of Monaco, the others being La Condamine, Monte Carlo, and Fontvieille. However, in modern administrative terms it is one of ten administrative Wards (see navigation box below for a complete list).
Monaco-Ville is an old fortified town-—some of the city walls still remain—-and is situated on a rocky promontory that extends into the Mediterranean Sea. The ancient name for Monaco-Ville is Monoecus.
The colourful changing of the guard occurs every day outside the Palais at 11:55 am. Next door to the Palais is the Cathédrale de Monaco, a Romanesque-Byzantine church that contains the remains of many former princes. United States-born Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco, is also buried there. Monaco-Ville also boasts the world-famous Oceanographic Museum, which was established in 1910 by Prince Albert I, and was once under the direction of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. One of the oldest buildings in the principality, Chapelle de la Misericorde (1639) is famous as the starting point of a torchlit religious procession by local residents that takes place on the eve of Good Friday each year. Despite being located in the world's most densely populated country, Monaco-Ville is still a medieval village at heart, made up almost entirely of quiet pedestrian streets and marked by virtual silence after sundown. Though innumerable tourists visit Monaco-Ville and the palace square, only local vehicles are allowed up to the rock, and gasoline-powered motorcycles are prohibited after 10 pm.
The Principality of Monaco itself is a stretch of Mediterranean shore situated within south-eastern France about 20 km (12 mi) north-east of Nice and 8 km (5 mi) from the border of France and Italy. It has long been a playground of the rich and famous, thanks to its harbour setting, world-class casinos, and lack of income tax. Since 1297, with some brief interruptions, it has been ruled by the house of Grimaldi, the oldest ruling house in Europe. Prince Albert II is the current sovereign, having recently acceded to the throne up on the death of his father, Prince Rainier III. The formal "intronisation", or enthronement, of Prince Albert II took place on November 19, 2005. Since 1929, Monaco has been the centre of the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix. This street-circuit motor-racing event is held annually in late May. Population 30,000 (1990 estimate).