In 1850 the small principality of Monaco was unbelievably Europe’s poorest country. Today it is known for its annual circus festival, the Formula 1 race Monaco Grand Prix and of course its casino. The first casino in Monaco opened in 1878 by Charles III who was near bankruptcy. It was such a huge success that he after five years cancelled the taxes. Twenty years later the casino made the rich come on a pilgrimage here. The Grimaldi Place up on the cliff is worth a visit. The famous casino is open every day. Despite the gossip about the prince’s sexual orientation, there are really no meeting points for gays in Monte Carlo. Though many live there, less than 5% are native Monegasques. Most of the gays hang out in the city’s luxurious bars or take a taxi to the nightlife in Nice.