Supercars, superyachts and the super rich - all of these can be found in the world's most densely populated, and second smallest country, the Principality of Monaco.

The millionaire's playground

The sovereignty of Monaco was officially recognised in an 1861 treaty with the nation that surrounds it on all but one side, France. Much like Monaco's tiny twin, the Vatican City, the transition into the nation that encircles it is seamless and smooth. Especially when entering the Principality by train, the Monaco-Monte Carlo underground train station could be mistaken for just another, if not a bit more pristine, stop on the French rail network.

However, venturing out of the subterranean station it is evident that Monaco is a far cry from France - it is the millionaire's playground.

The focal point of this wealth is the Monte Carlo Casino which, when the high rollers wish to gamble in private, can be closed at any time. The dress code to enter is strict and many tourists, sporting shorts and t-shirts, are turned away by the stoic suited doormen. Outside, as if jostling to take away attention from the grand casino, sit modern and premium sports cars. Ferraris and Lamborghinis are often sprayed with conspicuous paint jobs utilised to ensure the most attention and plenty of tourist pictures.

Walking down the very streets used for the illustrious Monaco Grand Prix, past designer shops and ice cream stalls, which charge five Euros for a small cone, you reach the area overlooking the marina.

Down below goliath private yachts, many of them registered in far flung Caribbean territories, proudly bob in clear Mediterranean water. Behind is the constant groan and hubbub of the construction of the latest millionaire abodes - proving that Monaco is still the nucleus of wealth in Europe.

Back to normality

Leaving the Principality and returning to the relative normality of France is as simple as entering - the French TGV train speedily extracts you from the world's second smallest country.

However, back in France, the pace is slower, the humble cobble streets host no supercars, only quiet cafes which sell affordable ice cream.

You visit Monaco and Monte Carlo to say you have been and to see how the rich and famous live - the grandness and extravagance of the buildings, vehicles and shops can portray this pint-sized Principality as the centre of the world. Journey back to France though and you are reminded that the world exists outside the fame and fortune of Monaco.