National Geographic : 1963 Apr
a temple of the sea, is built into the Rock's sheer cliff (page 546). Farthest west lies Fontvieille, an industrial section, not an official district. It turns out such varied products as pharmaceuticals, plastics, tobacco, precision instruments, ce ramics, glass, and cosmetics. Conqueror Comes in Friar's Garb Donna pointed to the Rock. "That's where it all started," she said. "Do you remember the story of how the early Grimaldis took that fortress in the 13th century?" It was quite a coup. On a night in 1297, drowsy soldiers inside the fortress on the Rock were shaken awake by a knock on the gate and a friar's plea for a night's lodging. Once admitted, the intruder drew a sword and slew the guards. He hailed companions, and they captured the Rock. The bold adven turer was Francois (the Spiteful) Grimaldi, scion of aristocratic seafarers from Genoa. Now, more than six and a half centuries later, a Grimaldi, Prince Rainier III, still ruled the Rock and the principality lying below us. Like a giant amphitheater facing the sea, Monaco's crowded, sun-splashed buildings diplomats, stamps, and National Council rose above the harbor, a stage where luxu rious yachts rode side by side (pages 546-47). The magnetism of the setting reached out to us. We descended to the sea. The glistening yachts, like competing star lets, vied for top billing. Multicolored stand ards waving from their sterns reminded me of the parade of flags fronting the United Nations headquarters in New York. Donna counted the flags of 12 nations. On board, professional crews polished brass or varnished brightwork. Although hailing from scattered ports, the crews sported iden tical blue-denim trousers and white T-shirts with their yacht's name emblazoned in blue across the front. The uniform, I learned later, is adopted by virtually all boats visiting Monte Carlo. At the quay's end I looked up and across to the Rock and Monaco-Ville clinging to it. Atop the palace flagstaff fluttered a white standard bearing the crest of Grimaldi. It signified the Prince was in residence. It seemed incredible to me that one family could control the principality so long. How could the Grimaldis hold off the Spanish, Genoese, Venetians, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and survive two world wars? 549 MONACO M ONACO'S THREE DISTRICTS and many tourist attractions, including a famous oceanographic museum, a casino, and fine hotels and shops, jam a Mediterranean Sea coastal area on the French Riviera that em braces scarcely half a square mile. Prince Rainier III, the thirty-second Gri maldi to reign, rules Monaco. His Prin cess is the former actress Grace Kelly of the United States. Under a new consti tution, adopted last December and hailed as a "Coup de Grace," women now have full voting rights and are eligible to hold office in the National Council. OFFICIAL NAME: Principality of Monaco. GOV ERNMENT: Constitutional monarchy. AREA: 370 acres. POPULATION: 22,000. LANGUAGE: French. RELIGION: Roman Catholic. ECONOMY: Tour ism, stamps, beer, tobacco, pottery, glass, perfume; also pharmaceuticals, plastics, precision instru ments, ceramics, printing. CLIMATE: Mediterra nean-mild winters (average January low 37° F.) and warm summers (average July high 83° F.).