With a skyline crowned by glimmering high-rise hotels, streets clogged with expensive cars, and a harbor guarded by a world-famous casino, Monaco lives up to its reputation for unrestrained extravagance and conspicuous consumption. "There is no social or cultural integrity to speak of because the only culture is the love of money." Yet, the Old Town "is lovely and well cared for."
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"A completely commercial coastline with a city lacking in character. The Old Town snakes through the characterless blocks of hotels and shopping malls."
"Monaco has become a gaggle of high rises, underground tunnels and traffic, and a new, man-made port. La Roche, although I was there only in the evenings, is rather safe from the coaches that enter the city in an endless stream, but certainly not the foot traffic. It will be rather difficult to marry the prince's new green initiative with the conspicuous consumption that is the Monaco tourism industry."
"Still interesting to visit due to its location and fame. Very overcrowded. Tourism is big business and will continue to be so."
"A busy, modern city with much less charm than the name might conjure up. The coast is beautiful."