Nothing Bitter About the Lemon Festival in Menton, France!
Just before you cross over into Italy and still within the Cote d’Azur, lies the tiny French town of Menton with a population just under 30,000. Pleasantly situated along the French Riviera and right in between Monaco and the Italian Riviera, the lovely town of Menton offers both its residents and visitors a place filled with outstanding cuisine, beautiful gardens, and of course the highly anticipated annual celebration of the Lemon Festival. Historically, Menton was a favorite of the Brits for holidays and retirement back in the mid 1900’s and still to this day remains a favorite now for those very reasons among several others.
Taking place this year starting on Saturday, 13 February and lasting until Wednesday, 2 March, roughly 230,000 people from all over the world will make their way to Menton in order to celebrate a time chock-full of all sorts of structures - houses, model Eiffel Tower and more - covered in lemons, along with marching parades that fill the streets, masked dancers adding to the flare of things, and a certain sense of charming fun that seems to exude the town’s every street corner and alleyway. Join in on all of the fun during the musical parades and take some time to wander about the Bioves Gardens, which are full of the numerous structures mentioned, all adorned in citrus fruits and sure to make for quite the photo op.
Being so close to other popular destinations in both France and Italy such as Nice (21 km) and Ventimiglia (11 km), it is more than possible to stay in either of those towns if you find you need to escape the large crowds of Menton during the Lemon Festival [both have frequent train service – best way to avoid parking problems]. However, if you do desire to be right in the midst of all the ongoing fun during the festival, plan on booking your accommodation in Menton as early as possible and be prepared for fun events from morning until night!
What Else Does Menton Have to Offer?
If you are unable to make it to Menton during the Lemon Festival this year or simply want to catch the tail end of it and stick around afterwards for a bit more exploration of this charming old medieval town, you’ll be happy to find the area has plenty of things to see, do, and discover. Be sure not to miss the following fantastic experiences available while there…
Musee Cocteau Collection Severin Wunderman: Stunning from its exterior to its interior, this art museum boasts an extremely impressive collection fully dedicated to the French artist Jean Cocteau. Established not long ago in November of 2011 and beautifully situated right along the beach, this is an absolute must for first time visitors of Menton.
Basilica St. Michael: Architecture lovers will particularly appreciate a visit to the magnificently structured and designed Basilica St. Michael. Dating back to the early 1600’s and still perfectly intact, you are going to want to get your camera ready for this well worthy visit.
Palmes Beach: No trip to the southeastern coast of France would ever be complete without an exploration of some of its many breathtaking beaches. Menton is fortunately home to the stunning Palmes Beach where restaurants, activities, and gorgeous inviting waters are in no shortage.
Mirazur Restaurant: In between all of that exploration and discovery of Menton, you are sure to work up quite the appetite. Luckily, Menton is home to some outstanding fine dining options that help to add a little more charm to your trip. One of these is Mirazur, where you can enjoy not only delicious menu items but also some of the best views of the French Riviera available to you. Indulge, relax, and sip on a refreshing glass of French wine as you watch the sun slowly dip below the horizon during a romantic sunset dinner.
No matter when you decide to make your way to lovely Menton, France or what you plan on filling your days with while there – Lemon Festival or not – you are guaranteed to leave with unforgettable memories and remembrances to look back on for many years to come. Oh, and don't forget a bottle or 2 of the local limoncello!