View on old part of Menton, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur,  France.View on old part of Menton, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France.
©View on old part of Menton, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, France.|Antonel - Istock
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February 2021

Visiting Menton is a bit like having one foot in Italy and one in France, under the same azure sky and the burning sun of the Côte d’Azur. Art, history and culture all add to the charm of this town and make it a peaceful, lively and… tangy town thanks to the lemons of Menton! Look, listen and smell. A quick overview to capture the essence of the place.

Published on 30 March 2021

Menton, an explosion of colours

Visits and strolls along the seaside

On the edge of the Mediterranean and a stone’s throw from Italy and Monaco, at the limit of the Alpes-Maritimes, Menton is listed as a “station d’intérêt touristique“. A gentle Mediterranean atmosphere to delight all those who are wondering which town to visit in the south of France. The town’s topography is unusual and associates the sea and a rocky landscape in the same postcard view. From the beaches of Menton, you will be able to take in the mountains, the colourful buildings and the layered roofs all in a glance. Visiting Menton means discovering a Ville d’Art et d’Histoire and its emblematic monuments. Start with the Monastère de l’Annonciade, ancient remains of a monastery and a place of miracles overlooking the town. A little further down, the Basilique Saint-Michel-Archange is a jewel of the religious heritage. A real treasure of baroque art. The old town centre has been through many eras… Wander towards the former castle and along the rue Saint-Michel. The more modern Palais de l’Europe is a former casino which now hosts smart events: roll on the evening dresses and sequins. And of course, the local star: the lemon of Menton (IGP) which is celebrated every year in February: a joyful carnaval of colours and smells.

Gardens or culture?

From nature’s creations to works of art

Menton has some of the most beautiful gardens in France. 5 remarkable gardens flourish in its subtropical climate. Let’s go first to the Jardin Maria Serena. This oasis of palm trees and cycas surround a 19th century villa. A beautiful illustration of the splendour of the Riviera. And then, on we travel along the paths of the Jardin du Val Rahmeh. Its tropical vegetation forms a colourful and cool tableau bathed in the sunlight of the côte d’Azur. These mutiple atmospheres also make up local culture. The town is proud of its cultural mix. The Mediterranean blends harmoniously with North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. And what is there to do in Menton after this plant-filled break? Admire contemporary and older works of art. Some magnificent pieces are exhibited In the Musée des Beaux-Arts at the Palais de Carnolès, And if you want more, the Galerie d’Art Contemporain will fascinate you.

Jean Cocteau’s imprint

In the footsteps of a lover of Menton

Cocteau arrived for the first time in Menton in 1955 and rapidly became attached to the town. He eventually met the mayor of the time, Francis Palmero. The two men became friends and at the time the artist had a million projects for the pretty town. He decorated in particular the Salle des Mariages (wedding hall) using mythological influences. Have a look the frescoes that are still there on the walls… When he settled in Menton, Cocteau noticed a disused fort, Le Bastion and the mayor suggested that it be made into a museum of his works. He accepted and took on the restoration work and established a list of the works he wished to see there. It was the first Cocteau Museum in Menton. To see more, you will have to go to the Musée Jean Cocteau – Collection Séverin Wunderman. Since 2011, it has been home to a collection of over 2000 works. Dive into the heart of his rich and diverse work showcased in a fabulous place by the sea.

Discover the Musée Jean Cocteau

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