On the shores of the Mediterranean and on the Italian border, in the Alpes-Maritimes department, Menton, the capital of lemon, is classified as a “station d’intérêt touristique” (resort of tourist interest). The city enhances its heritage and offers a place of choice for culture through museums and art galleries. The contemporary art gallery of Menton is located in Palais de l’Europe, which used to be a municipal casino. Today, the first floor of the building, designed by the architect Tersling, houses the contemporary creations of the art gallery. During your holiday, discover, alone or with a guide, the picturesque old town which consists of narrow streets and squares cascading down to the sea. Tourists also flock to enjoy the beaches and their typical Mediterranean charm.
Events such as the French Riviera Garden Festival and the famous Lemon Festival are organized throughout the year.
The lemon is the symbol of the city. Legend has it that when Eve left the Garden of Eden, she took with her a golden fruit: the lemon. Fearing divine wrath, Adam asked her to throw the fruit she planted on the Garavan Bay, where Menton was born. Although citrus growing is rarer in the city today, the citrus garden of the Palais de Carnolès houses a fine collection of various varieties of citrus fruit.
The botanical heritage of the city holds an important place. The Mediterranean climate allows the development of many plant species such as palm trees, olive trees, etc. Discover the gardens of the city: Serre de la Madone, Val Rahmeh, Maria Serena and Fontana Rosa.
Menton is also particularly famous thanks to the works of Jean Cocteau. During his stay in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, he fell in love with Menton and decided to stay there regularly. At the request of the mayor, he undertook the decoration of the Wedding Hall. He then transformed the Bastion into a museum.
The Bastion Museum is the first museum dedicated to Jean Cocteau. The artist noticed the abandoned small fort in 1957. At the time, the mayor suggested making it a museum. Cocteau agreed to exhibit his works there on the condition that the collections would be changed regularly. Before his death, he supervised the entire creation of the museum and chose his works. His adopted son would complete the work according to the artist’s instructions. The monument was inaugurated in 1966. Through donations and acquisitions, the collections have been enriched.
Jardin du Palais de Carnolès
In the 17th century, Honoré II had a residence built in the center of a citrus grove on the plain of Carnolès. Its purpose was to have a garden to relax during his escapades in Menton. He also had orange trees planted in the shape of a star. The palace and gardens are listed as historical monuments and were bought by the city. Over time, the place has become a center for acclimatization and research. There are nearly 137 varieties of citrus fruits on the site today. The garden was awarded the Remarkable Garden label in 2005.
Basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange
The Basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange, located in the heart of the old town, is a jewel of Baroque art with its colorful façade, bell tower, pebbled square with the coat of arms of the House of Grimaldi and majestic ramps. Every year, the monument is visited by many tourists. The famous Menton Music Festival is held on the square in front of the basilica. The building is included in the “road of Baroque Nisso-Liguria.”
The wedding hall of Menton was painted by Jean Cocteau. The paintings represent the lovers of Menton as well as mythological figures such as Orpheus or Eurydice. It also fills all the empty surfaces with colored arabesques. The artist also chose the details of the decoration of the room such as chairs, carpets, lights, etc.
Monastery of the Annunciation
Last remain of the town of Podium Pini, the monastery of the Annunciation is a symbol for Menton. Located on top of a hill, 225 meters above the sea, it offers an exceptional panorama. The monastery was historically a chapel where the inhabitants went to pray to the Virgin, especially after Princess Isabella of Monaco came to town cured of leprosy. The premises were then occupied successively by the Capuchin Friars and the Apostolic Sisters of Héverlé.
Serre de la Madone
Just a few kilometers from the coast and beaches, Lawrence Johnston, a botanist created a remarkable garden in the first half of the 20th century. He selected many exotic plants, which he acclimatized to the mild temperatures and sunshine of the town of Menton. This garden is now a true haven of peace in the heart of the city, and a tourist destination which is both confidential and exceptional.
- Tourist Office of Menton: https://www.menton-riviera-merveilles.fr/
- Road service: A8 Highway (from Nice or the Italian border)
- Air access: Nice Côte d’Azur Airport (40 minutes)
- Railroad access: TGV station