Despite joining the Council of Europe, Monaco remains a democratic sham. For twelve months, Didier Laurens ran the principality’s main weekly newspaper. In this role, he was able to observe all the workings of this mini-country, a place where no one dares to speak on the phone for fear of being overheard, nor to make the slightest criticism of the princely family for fear of being disgraced.

In an area of two square kilometres, businessmen call the shots under the watchful eye of an anachronistic, ancient state apparatus. Power is concentrated in the hands of a Prince who refuses to progress towards a parliamentary regime despite what Strasbourg wants.

A sham democracy in which the eight thousand or so people, all born a Monégasque, unilaterally impose their will on the rest of the population living in the Principality. They monopolise all the rights and all the national aid. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at a jet-set destination, the dream of every naive youngster on the planet, unveiling the secrets of a world where cash flows freely. A Monégasque fairy tale, which in actual fact is really all just smoke and mirrors.