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by Zsolt Szemerszky

Zsolt Szemerszky

Show-off or Lifestyle?

Show-off or Lifestyle?

Perhaps one of the most common negative labels of Monaco is that it is a “show-off” environment – a place where everyone is driving Ferraris and Bugatti’s, the Port is fully packed with ultra-luxury yachts and where rich old people go to play every night in the Casino, while their trophy wives are enjoying cocktails at the luxury bars.

Monaco has an image, which is undoubtedly equated with high-end luxury, and this world comes with a bold price tag as well. But who has the right to judge whether it is superficial or not?

As I always say to myself and to my friends and business partners, do not judge something from first impressions; try to look under the surface. The Principality offers a luxurious lifestyle and its residents are among the wealthiest people on earth, but most of them live in a very quiet way. To be honest, most of the billionaires do not even socialise with other people.

After spending a year in Monaco, you will realise that even if it offers an exceptional quality of life, the people in Monaco are different from what you may have originally expected.

You will see that most of the show-off people are those who come to Monaco for a short period, just to present or pretend their wealth. Many of them come only for a few days, they rent a Ferrari or another sports car, revving loudly on the main roads, and at the end of the week, they leave silently.

I believe that the louder someone is in Monaco about his or her wealth, the less reality there is behind it.

To be completely honest, I also arrived to Monaco in 2010 with a great misconception in my head. I still remember that on the first day, I walked around and wore my “Fuck the Crisis” T-shirt. I was so proud to be in Monaco, and honestly it took some weeks for me to understand and experience on my own that in Monaco, money cannot buy things, only connections, trust and credibility which takes time and serious effort to build up. The Principality is built on different kinds of values.

After spending some weeks in the Principality, you will realise that it is more like a small village or a small club. Most of the residents know each other, and they maintain a mutual respect since they all share the same privilege: to be residents of the Principality. It is like a prestigious club for the accomplished and wealthy.

For example, on a typical morning, while you are heading to the Carrefour shopping centre in Fontvieille, all of a sudden you might see David Coulthard, the former Formula One racing driver with his bicycle riding alone. Nothing fancy, just a great man making a little bit of morning sport. No bodyguards or any kind of security, just the man himself.

In Monaco, you will soon realise the bold difference between the social(ite) events during the evenings and the daily life cycle. During the daytime, even the ultra-rich residents enjoy a relaxed life style than they have in other countries.

Obviously, they are entitled to do it since the Principality takes good care of them. Monaco has a zero-tolerance policy for paparazzi, therefore, many celebrities and well-known people walk around without bodyguards.

Flying a drone in the Monegasque territory without a permit is also forbidden. It makes sense since drones are also recording pictures and videos which might infringe on individual privacy rights.

It is easy to see that Monaco is a combination of luxury lifestyle and something unique that one can experience only here. I would call it peace.

Obviously, those who say that the Principality of Monaco is a place of show off, then they are right as well. It is part of the luxury world. But it is important to first understand who you have seen before you make your opinion: a resident or a visitor? I would also raise my concern as to whether it is possible to judge something based only on a few days of experience.

However, talking about luxury and quality of life, I have to mention that Monaco has some world-class programs. To be more precise, Monaco has more than 700 events in a year.

The Principality of Monaco is also a paradise for shopping lovers. Just take a walk around the Formula One track line and you will immediately understand and discover that almost all the greatest names in the fashion and lifestyle industry are represented in Monaco. During a 30-minute walk, you can see brands like Chanel, Céline, Christian Dior, Gucci, Hermès, Ichthys, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Rive Gauche, Saint Laurent and many more in a small, concentrated, but exceptionally luxurious area.

There are historical shopping places such as the Metropole Monte Carlo, however, Monaco also opened recently (in February 2019) the ultramodern One Monte-Carlo, which is home to the most exclusive luxury brands. One Monte-Carlo is located right next to Hotel de Paris and it is a comprehensive luxury experience similar to the legendary Place du Casino. The reason why I also mention One Monte-Carlo is because it features the Promenade Princesse Charlène, a new pedestrian area lined with trees and 7 buildings where transparency and vegetation are given pride of place.

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