Monaco has black people living there

Super-rich city-state: are there normal people in Monaco? Yes there is.

You can meet Charlene and Albert everywhere here, for example on Sunday evenings at the bus stop. It is shortly before nine, the Place d'Armes is quietly at the foot of the Prince's Palace, when suddenly the princely column turns the bend: a police motorcycle in the front, an escort car in the front, in between the dark blue limousine, license plate MC01, in the back a man with glasses , to the left of his blonde companion. Seconds later they are roaring in the direction of Monte Carlo - the tourists, who can hardly believe their luck, don't even have time to dig out their cameras.

Locals, on the other hand, register the parade with a friendly nod and a casual "Ah voilà le prince!" Welcome to Monaco.

Grand Prix site, tax haven, summer residence of the rich and famous. This is perhaps the best way to sum up the image of the second smallest country in the world. Squeezed between France and Italy, the Alps and the Mediterranean, the narrow strip offers a luxury playground for celebrities, aristocrats and the international jet set. At least that's what the pictures in the gossip press show, preferably with the marina, the casino or the “Jimmy’z” nightclub in the background.

Also, of course, there is the splendor of the principality. The Grimaldi clan has ruled Monaco for seven centuries, at the latest since the wedding of Prince Rainier III. and acting icon Grace Kelly is considered a magnet for high society. Her son Albert II has been at the head of the principality since Rainier's death six years ago. Next Friday and Saturday (July 1st and 2nd) he will marry the South African ex-competitive swimmer Charlene Wittstock - his wedding will once again give the country the opportunity to present itself to the world.

Again and again headlines

Not that Monaco needs that kind of attention anymore. The small principality made headlines again and again - tragically with the car accident of Princess Gracia Patricia. Her death shook the principality and its world audience. Today the colorful press deals more with the relationship dramas of Albert's sisters Caroline and Stéphanie: affairs, separations, divorces. In addition, there are the escapades of various celebrities who use the principality as a stage, and a prince to whom the reputation of the aristocratic playboy is attached.

A little drama, a lot of glitter and even more money - is that really supposed to be Monaco? Is the principality just a glittering backdrop for millionaires and eccentrics who want to spend their money undisturbed? Do people actually live here who do not belong to this group? And if so, how?

It's easy to be dazzled by Monaco. Not only because the density of Lamborghini and Louis Vuitton bags is unlikely to be so high in any other part of Europe, but also because it is so clean here. Especially on the Rocher, the rock on which the old town was built, the streets shine as if freshly wiped: no chewing gum stain spoils the pavement, the facades shine in pastel and ocher, there is not even dust in the cracks in the wall.

A privilege to live here

One of the people who ensures this purity is Nmemoi. The sinewy man with the gap between the teeth works for the Monegasque city cleaning service, which sends its fleet out onto the streets every day from five in the morning to seven in the evening. Nmemoi and his colleagues are everywhere, inside and outside, sweeping, cleaning and disposing of things. The city cleaner is proud of his work, he has been working here for 15 years, and even if he lives in France, he feels at home in the principality: "I know the city inside and out." thinks, Nmemoi leaves open - he apologizes with a smile, work calls.

For him it is a privilege to be and work in Monaco, and that is how all residents feel, at least they say so. Nobody utters a bad or critical word. Discretion and unshakable loyalty are the social cement - what unites street cleaners and millionaires in Monaco.