The People

Breaking the Rules: Navigating Monte Carlo's High Society Etiquette

by Victoria Shamis Contributor
May 31, 2024
Breaking the Rules: Navigating Monte Carlo's High Society Etiquette

Welcome to the playground of the elite, where opulence meets discretion, and etiquette reigns supreme. Monte Carlo, the glittering jewel of the French Riviera, is not just a destination; it's a lifestyle. But beware, for in this playground, the rules are as intricate as the intricate dance of a masked ball. Whether on holidays or Monte Carlo is your home remember to follow the protocol of elegance and good manners inside and out. 

The Art of Discretion and balanced modesty is the way to be.  In Monte Carlo, discretion isn't just a choice; it's a way of life. When rubbing elbows with the rich and powerful, loose lips sink yachts. Whether it's overhearing a tête-à-tête at Café de Paris or spotting a celebrity at the Monte Carlo Casino, what happens in Monte Carlo stays in Monte Carlo. Many come here for unforgettable experiences, forgetting that healthy curiosity should remain so. By respecting yourself, you respect others, meaning to pay attention to the personal space of other people. 

Monte Carlo is the perpetual parade of glamorous events, therefore ignoring such meaning as “DRESS CODE” would be an alerting sign of  lacking  manners. There is certainly a reason why it is called Dress Code, since there is an obvious still confusing code to follow. So how to stand out avoiding breaking the rules, especially in the world of ever changing fashion trends? 

Dress to Impress: Leave your jeans and sneakers at home; Monte Carlo demands sartorial excellence. Channel your inner James Bond or Grace Kelly with tailored suits and designer gowns. Remember, in Monte Carlo, fashion isn't just a statement; it's a status symbol. 

Ladies, we've all been there – staring at our closets for hours, trying to find the perfect outfit that says, "I woke up like this... fabulous." But sometimes, in our quest to impress, we end up taking things a tad too far.

Picture this: you're meeting up with friends for a casual brunch, and suddenly, you show up looking like you're ready to walk the red carpet. High heels, full makeup, and a dress that's more suited for a gala than eggs Benedict. And don't even get me started on the oversized hat – are we brunching or attending the Ascot? 

Monaco's dress code isn't just a suggestion—it's practically a commandment. But what happens when everyone interprets it a little too literally? Welcome to the world where all roads lead to Hermes bags and where fashion faux pas are as common as a yacht sighting in the harbor.

You stroll down , surrounded by a sea of designer-clad socialites, each one sporting the quintessential status symbol—the Hermes Birkin bag. It's like a game of "spot the difference," except there are none because everyone seems to have the same idea. But isn’t fashion protocol is about individuality not uniformity?  In fairness I would like to point out that for every clone clutching a Birkin, there's a rebel rocking a vintage find or a quirky accessory that screams personality over pedigree. After all, true chic style isn't about following the crowd—it's about standing out from it.


Navigating the Social Scene and polishing the skill such as art of conversation which  is a key element for any social or professional relationship is essential. In a city where every handshake could lead to a business deal or a scandal, mastering the art of small talk is essential. Brush up on your knowledge of fine wines, luxury cars, and European politics. But remember, subtlety is key; nobody likes a braggart. Having said that bare in mind the relevance. In the modern world of constantly changing dogmas its best to choose conversation topics that are inclusive and appropriate for the setting. Avoid controversial subjects such as politics, religion, or personal matters. Nobody wants a handshake to end up in a handbrake. 

Elegant Dining: Monte Carlo boasts some of the world's finest restaurants, but dining etiquette is more than just using the correct fork. From the legendary Alain Ducasse at the Hôtel de Paris to the intimate ambiance of  Louis XV, dining in Monte Carlo is an experience to be savored. Remember to pace yourself; in Monte Carlo, gluttony is never glamorous. We all remember well the embarrassing Julia Robert’s moment and the table setting is indeed sometimes misleading. Lets not forget that the truly well mannered one is the one who did not notice the mistake, and not the one who made it. 

Monaco isn’t just renowned for its gastronomy scene, its also a hotspot for gaming enthusiasts, so Protocol at the Tables is something to bare in mind. Whether you're playing baccarat at the Casino de Monte-Carlo or dining at the exclusive Cipriani Monte Carlo, knowing the rules of engagement is crucial. Keep your bets discreet, your expressions neutral, and your losses graceful. In Monte Carlo, the house always wins, but a true aristocrat never shows defeat.

Monte Carlo's social calendar is a whirlwind of charity galas, yacht parties, and exclusive soirées. But gaining entry isn't just about having the right connections; it's about making a lasting impression. Support a noble cause, mingle with the elite, and leave a lasting legacy of generosity.

And sometimes generosity is the paradox of the affluent in Monaco – swimming in wealth yet allergic to parting with a single euro for services rendered. It's as if their pockets are lined with gold but their wallets are on a strict diet. In a land where luxury oozes from every pore, one would think that paying  for a service well done would be as effortless as sipping champagne on a superyacht. But sadly at times, frugality seems to be the new trend. 

In Monte Carlo, the line between elegance and excess is razor-thin, but for those who dare to toe the line, the rewards are unparalleled. So, dust off your finest attire, polish your manners, and prepare to immerse yourself in the world of Monte Carlo etiquette. After all, in this playground of the elite, only the bold survive.


Victoria Shamis


Victoria, born in St. Petersburg, later moved to England for her education. Her travels fueled a passion for history and the bohemian lifestyle, leading to the creation of a vintage couture boutique chain. After relocating to France, she had a daughter, Emmanuela, who inspired the Bon Ton Club project. Victoria aims to revive true family and social values, believing that "Good manners will open doors that no education will.

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