The native Monegasques are proud of their country's unique history and position in the world. The name Monaco is believed to derive from the word "monoikos" associated both with the ancient Greeks and the Ligurians. Friendly and polite, Monacans will not hesitate to assist a traveler with questions.
French is the official language, but Italian and English are also spoken frequently. Monegasque, a language derived from both French and Italian, is spoken by native residents of Monaco, although only about 22% of the population claims direct Monegasque descent.
Roman Catholicism is the state religion, although freedom of worship is guaranteed by Article 23 of the Constitution. However, 95 % of the population claims to be Roman Catholic.
Handshaking is performed on meeting and parting.
Classic French cuisine dominates along with certain regional specialties such as pissaladiere (onion tart with anchovies and black olives) barbajuans (a savory pastry) and Langoustines a la Provençale (seafood). A variety of French wine is available as are imported liquors. Tap water is safe to drink.