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Menton Tourism And Travel Guide
21° C / 69.8° F
May to September
1 to 2 Days
Nice Cote d'Azur International Airport (30 kms)
Gare de Menton
The most Italian of all French seaside resorts, Menton is situated in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region of south-eastern France, just about a mile away from the Italian border. Menton is also the least pretentious of all cities located on the French Riviera and serves as the perfect antidote to all the glitz and glamour associated with cities located nearby like Cannes and Nice. Menton is largely associated with two prominent attractions – the large-scale production of lemons and the very famous artist Jean Cocteau. Posthumous Jean Cocteau plays a big a role in Menton’s tourism through his museums, and the annual Lemon festival makes use of all the extra lemons produced by the town and turns it into an event that is even bigger than the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix. Menton is also a great place for cheap family vacations where travellers can rent hotel rooms and even entire apartments at very inexpensive rates. Detailed below is a travel guide that entails all you need to know about Menton.
How to Reach
The nearest airport from Menton is the Cote d’Azur International Airport in Nice, which is just around 30 km away. It serves all major airlines and is easily accessible from several important destinations in Europe and worldwide. Transportation modes like buses and taxis are available from Nice Airport directly to Menton. Travellers can also take the airport shuttle to reach Nice railway station and simply catch a train to Menton.
Taking the train to Menton is a convenient way to get here, especially if travelling from Nice, which is only 30 minutes away. The TGV rail network is the best train to catch if coming in from Paris, with scenic routes offered along the way when travelling from other lovely destinations around Menton like Monaco, Cannes, Antibes or Ventimiglia in Italy.
Menton can be reached via road easily through taxis or rented cars that are available from several major cities nearby. If coming in from Nice, take the A8 exit and follow the signs to Centre Ville. If travelling from Monaco or Ventimiglia in Italy, follow the Bas Corniche road.
Weather & Best Time to Visit
Summer (June – August):
Summer in Menton is peak tourist season and witnesses large crowds visiting the beaches. Temperature highs average around 23⁰C in July and August with rainfall being quite uncommon in this weather as well. The overall climate is sunny, warm and dry – making this the perfect time to plan an exploratory trip to the city.
Autumn (September – November):
September is a good month to still consider travelling to Menton. With an average temperature of 21⁰C, the weather is warm enough to enjoy the beaches and other outdoor activities; as November approaches, the climate cools down considerably and temperatures dip to an average of 12⁰C. Chances of rain also increase in autumn.
Winter (December – February):
Winters are typically the off-season in Menton. The average temperature in January and February is 9⁰C, making them the coldest months of the year. Travellers tend to avoid visiting Menton in winters unless to participate in the Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, which along with the Christmas markets are the highlight of this season.
Spring (March – May):
Spring is also a good time to visit Menton if you are looking to avoid the crowds and plan your trip towards the latter half of the season; the temperatures in March are still quite cool and gradually rise to 16⁰C by the time May arrives.
Things to Do
Experience the Lemon Festival:
Menton produces more lemons than the city can possibly handle. The annual Lemon Festival that takes place in February each year puts these lemons to good use with the creation of themed decorative floats that are carried through a procession on the Promenade du Soleil. The Bioves Garden features elaborate sculptures made out of these citrus fruits, some of which can reach heights of more than 10 m. When the festival is over after three weeks, the lemons are sold off at very discounted rates to the general public.
Visit the Jean Cocteau Museum:
Jean Cocteau has had a long-standing relationship with Menton and is known to have spent most of his last days in this city. The art collector Severin Wunderman donated his collection of 1500+ pieces of artworks by Cocteau to Menton in 2003 and asked for it to be displayed in a museum dedicated to the artist. The Jean Cocteau Museum was established in 2011 and showcases exquisite pieces of art by Cocteau that include films and photographs, paintings, sculptures and graphic art.
Explore the Gardens:
Menton is a great place to simply relax in one of its many gardens and explore its species of flora that have been brought in from all over the world. The Val Rahmeh Botanical Gardens was built by Lord Radcliffe to cater to the rich and noble aristocrats and features some amazing tropical fruit trees from Asia and South America. The Serre de la Madone is another exceptional garden that is spread over 22 acres and contains exotic plants from Burma, China and South Africa.
Where to Shop
Some of the best things you buy in Menton will have an element of lemon attached to it; whether its lemon-infused olive oil, Lemoncello liquor, candied lemon peels or even lemon-scented toiletries. Au Pays du Citron is the best place to buy all things lemon-y. While there are enough tourist-centred shops in Menton for luxury shopping and souvenirs, the markets are where you’ll find some of the best local flavours in terms of Menton’s true culture. Try the Market Hall located at Quai de Monleon for fresh local produce and seafood, where you’ll even find souvenirs to take back home with you.
Where to Eat
The city of all things ‘citrusy’ also features a variety of fantastic restaurants where travellers can enjoy all kinds of local delicacies. The top spot to feature on your list should be Au Baiser du Mitron, a house of traditional Mentonnais cuisine where bread is the main highlight. A bakery that boasts traditional breads from the French Riviera and the Provence region, the establishment uses an ancient wooden bread oven for its cooking purposes that dates back to 1906.
Les Enfants Terribles, apart from being named after its namesake movie, is a locally popular spot with a versatile menu and great desserts. Mirazur is Menton’s 3-star Michelin restaurant; other places where you can enjoy authentic French fare are Le Bistrot des Jardins, Maison Martin et Fils and Fleur de Sel.