Fête du Citrons (Menton Lemon Festival)
Menton’s fabulous two-week Fête du Citrons in February sees sculptures and decorative floats made from 115 metric tonnes of lemons (plus another five tonnes used to replace damaged fruit during the festival) weave processions along the seafront. Afterwards, the monumental lemon creations are dismantled and the fruit sold off at bargain prices in front of Palais de l’Europe. Each year the festival follows a different theme (Asterix, Alice in Wonderland, world carnivals).
Menton Classical Music Festival
The beautiful baroque Basilica Saint Michel is the setting for Menton’s charming classical music festival (the Festival de Musique Menton). Enjoy a concert while taking in memorable views of the port and old town.
The festival was the brainchild of André Böröcz, who ran it from its inception over 50 years ago until his death. Some great names in classical music have played here, including Arthur Rubinstein, Yehudi Menuhin, Fazil Say and more…
Jardin botanique exotique de Menton & Hanbury Gardens
The Jardin botanique exotique de Menton (11,000 m²), also known as the Jardin botanique exotique du Val Rahmeh, is a botanical garden located off Avenue St Jacques, Menton, Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France. It is open daily except Tuesday; an admission fee is charged.
The garden can be traced back to 1875 when the De Monléon family constructed the property. In 1905 Lord Percy Radcliffe, former governor of Malta, with his spouse Rahmeh acquired the property, adding adjacent farmland to form a garden. In 1957 Miss May Sherwood Campbell acquired the property and a second garden, now accessed by a bridge, and created a pond with water hyacinths, water lilies, and papyrus. In 1966 she donated her property to the nation, which transferred it to the Ministry of National Education. It then became a research center for Mediterranean flora managed by the National Museum of Natural History. The garden opened to the public in 1967.
Today the garden contains some 1,500 taxa growing within a microclimate of high humidity where temperatures rarely fall below 5°C (41°F) in winter. It features Sophora toromiro (a species of small trees since disappeared from Easter Island), as well as exceptional olive trees (more than 400 years old) and collections of exotic plants including palm trees, chorisia, datura, and lotus, plus fine collections of citrus, olives, and palm trees. Rare species include Aloe marlothii, Araucaria columnaris, Castanospermum australe (Moreton Bay chestnut), Cnicothamnus lorentzi, and Ficus religiosa. A small rainforest area contains bamboo, gingers, philodendrons, tropical fruit trees, and a path through spices and herbs. The garden also contains an excellent Musa basjoo and a two Chorisia speciosa specimens.
Menton Old Town (vieille ville)
The old town, le Vieux Menton, has an active pedestrian area, with the long Rue St Michel running the length of it and the Rue Piéta joining. Full of shops of all sorts and terrace cafés – although the rest of the town doesn’t really lack for these amenities either.
The real heart of le Vieux Menton for us is the Medieval style buildings grouped around the Eglise St Michel and the Chapel de Pénitents Blancs at the top of the hill. Viewed from the sea front at the east, this area has the appearance of a hilltop perched village. The streets are narrow, with long step-streets and many very colorful old buildings.
If you get tired of wandering the streets or general sightseeing, there are tons of things to do in Menton, including museums, gardens, frequent special events (such as the February Lemon Festival), not to menton the seaside and beach activities. And when the sun is well down, there’s a rather grand casino along the seaside near the center of Menton. Perhaps not as grand as the one in Monaco, but we suspect you could loose your money just as fast here as there.
There’s enough to see and do in Menton, even for casual touristing during non-festival time, that you should plan a couple of days or more. With easy access to several picturesque mountain villages, as well as the easy train connections along the coast, this would be an excellent base for a long stay
Beached line the seaside on both sides of the town. The majority are to the west, towards Cap Martin. The handiest is probably the Plage des Sablettes at the feet of the old town.
There are nearly a dozen private beaches in Menton, where you rent deck lounges and have bar service and a handy restaurant for lunch. In spite of the many private beach areas, there are many free beaches (such as the Plage des Sablettes), and the entire beach front along the water is open to public access.
Monaco & Italy
Click here to be taken to the dedicated page.