Statue of Helmut Fischer (Monaco Franze) in the Schwabing district in Munich.

Monaco Franze

The eternal dandy, a beloved Munich character

Actor Helmut Fischer’s portrayal of detective superintendent and ladies’ man Franz Münchinger – AKA Monaco Franze – earned him cult status in Munich.

Franz Münchinger’s memorable nickname derives from “Monaco di Baviera”, the Italian name for Munich, and the man himself lives in Munich-Schwabing with his darling “Spatzl”, Annette von Soettingen (played by Ruth-Maria Kubitschek). The two could not be more different: Annette is an antiques dealer, always going from one cultural event to the next and frequenting Munich’s smarter circles.

Monaco on the other hand, is from the (formerly) rough Munich neighbourhood of Westend, and he has worked his way up the ladder to detective superintendent. He doesn’t have much time for cultural pursuits: “Culture for us meant one of us was washed and clean,” he says, recalling his childhood.

And then, there is the matter of women – the real theme of the ten-episode TV series: pleasure-seeking Monaco seizes every opportunity for an amorous escapade, often assisted by his colleague Manni Kopfeck (Karl Obermayr), who covers up Monaco’s romantic exploits more or less believably. Annette is obviously aware of her husband’s habits and has little choice but to accept them – though not without pulling the strings behind the scenes.

Helmut Dietl directed the series, which first aired in 1983. The director had already demonstrated a brilliant observation of the people of Munich with his “Münchner Geschichten” (Munich residents’ stories) series in the 1970s.       

 

On the trail of Monaco Franze

It’s easy to incorporate stops at many of the series’ filming locations on a stroll through Munich.

At the heart of individual episodes there is the Nationaltheater on Max-Joseph-Platz for example, where Monaco had to attend the Bavarian State Opera’s performance of Wagner’s Rheingold with his wife (episode: “Ein bissel was geht immer” – A little something is always possible), the Angel of Peace (episode: “Der Friedensengel” – The Angel of Peace), the Englischer Garten and Leopoldstrasse (episode: “Macht’s nur so weiter!” – Just keep doing what you’re doing!).

The apartment Monaco shares with his Spatzl is in the prestigious residential area of Schwabing, at 16 Agnesstrasse. The shop which Annette von Soettingen owns in the programme still sells antiques today, and can be found at 10 Fürstenstrasse in Maxvorstadt.

Head to Münchner Freiheit square to discover the bronze statue commemorating Helmut Fischer, who died in 1997; it is located inside the historic Café Münchner Freiheit, where the actor was a regular.

 

Good to know: Experience Munich’s city districts in the best company. On the two-hour Neighbourhood love (Viertelliebe) tour, our qualified guides will take you to their favourite places in Munich’s city districts, from Schwabing to Schlachthofviertel.

 

 

Text: München Tourismus; Photo: Frank Stolle

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