Sunshine state that shelters the rich and famous

Every Monday morning, at the Cote d'Azur airport in Nice, scores of BlackBerry-wielding businessmen await their weekly flight to London. They are possibly the most well-heeled commuters in the world.

Over the years, the numbers on the 8.55am Air France flight from Nice to City Airport in London have steadily grown and many of the new recruits are from Monaco. The principality has long been a playground for the leisured rich. But as flight times have shrunk and tax incentives multiplied, it has also become a home for home for Britain's working wealthy, who divide their time between the sunshine and the City.

It has never been difficult to understand Monaco's appeal. The state imposes no income tax on its residents. As a result, the principality has attracted Formula One drivers, business luminaries such as Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, and film stars such as Sir Roger Moore. Not everyone is famous, but everybody is rich, and usually cashing in on wealth obtained elsewhere. A staggering 25,000 of Monaco's 32,000 population are expatriates. They occupy the world's most densely populated independent nation, sharing a territory of less than two square miles with 40 banks, which deal with 300,000 accounts. Then there are the casinos (in which local Monegasques are forbidden to gamble) and the clubs.

The costs of everyday living are exorbitant, although of course everything's relative. A glass of champagne can cost about €30 (£23). But few care. In fact the only cloud on the recent horizon has been the apparent determination of the EU, with Germany in the vanguard, to crack down on the gilded enclaves in which the continent's super-rich have managed to construct an insular paradise.

At the end of last month, it emerged that Prince Albert of Monaco, alarmed by the determination of the British and German authorities to pursue tax evaders in Liechtenstein, had agreed to open talks with Berlin over tax arrangements in the principality. The British Government has altered the rules that govern those Monaco residents who work part of the year in the UK, counting the days of travel to London and return to Monaco as days worked in Britain.

Ian Bradley, at Visit Monaco, still believes the future looks bright for Monaco. "We know that the lack of taxation is a huge attraction for wealthy commuters that live in Monaco and we'd be kidding ourselves if we said any different. But I don't think that's the only reason. Monaco is a great place to live and bring up a family. It is expensive, but not much more expensive than some parts of London.

"The 90-day rule changes might have a slight effect on the frequency of commuters, but I don't think people will suddenly leave Monaco. The lack of tax isn't the only reason they are here. Look at Liechtenstein. That has a similar tax status, but you don't see people flocking to live there. People come to Monaco because of what it can offer tax-wise and what it can offer lifestyle-wise."

If European governments get their way, that theory may be about to be put to the test.

News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam