Menton, a picturesque town between Nice and the Italian border, is often overshadowed by its glamorous neighbour Monaco. But Menton shines a little more regarding the best weather in France.
I'm Menton has a unique microclimate, making it one of France's sunniest and warmest places. It enjoys 316 days of sunshine annually and mild temperatures even in winter.
This is ideal for growing citrus fruits, especially lemons, symbolising the town. Menton produces about 150 tons of lemons annually to make delicious products such as jams, liqueurs, candies, and cosmetics. You can taste these products at the local shops and markets or visit the lemon groves and gardens that adorn the hillsides.
Full of history
Menton's rich and varied history dates back to the Roman times. It was ruled by various powers, such as Genoa, Monaco, Sardinia, and France until it became a part of France in 1861. You can discover this history by wandering through the old town on a rocky hill overlooking the sea. The old town is a maze of narrow streets, staircases, archways, and colourful houses that create a charming atmosphere. You can also visit the Basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange, a stunning example of baroque architecture that dominates the skyline. The basilica was built in the 17th century and features a striking facade, a majestic bell tower, and beautiful frescoes.
The art of Jean Cocteau
Jean Cocteau, one of the most influential French artists of the 20th century, visited Menton frequently in his later years. He decorated several buildings in Menton, such as the Wedding Hall in the Town Hall and the Bastion Museum, with his distinctive style. In 2011, Menton opened a new museum dedicated to Cocteau's work, which houses more than 1,800 pieces donated by Séverin Wunderman, a collector and friend of Cocteau. The museum showcases Cocteau's diverse and prolific creations in various media, such as drawings, paintings, ceramics, films, photographs, and books.
The beach life
Several beaches offer clear water, fine sand or pebbles, and stunning mountains and sea views. You can choose from public or private beaches according to your preference and budget. You can also enjoy a pleasant walk or bike ride along the Promenade du Soleil. This 2-km-long seafront path connects most beaches and offers plenty of cafes, restaurants, shops, and gardens.
Gardens and parks.
Thanks to its many gardens and parks, Menton is often called The Garden of the Côte d'Azur. You can visit some of the most remarkable gardens, such as the Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden, which has a collection of tropical and subtropical plants from around the world; the Serre de la Madone Garden, which has a romantic and wild style with terraces, ponds, and statues; the Fontana Rosa Garden, which has a Spanish-inspired design with ceramic tiles, fountains, and sculptures; and the Maria Serena Garden, which has a Mediterranean-style design with palm trees, cacti, and roses.
The cultural scene
Menton has a lively cultural scene offers various festivals and events throughout the year. The most famous one is the Fête du Citron, which takes place every February and attracts more than 200,000 visitors. The festival celebrates Menton's lemons with giant sculptures made of citrus fruits, parades, concerts, exhibitions, and fireworks.
Other festivals and events in Menton include the Festival de Musique de Menton, which takes place every August and features classical music concerts in various venues. In July, the Festival International d'Art Pyrotechnique features fireworks displays on the seafront. The annual book fair, The Salon du Livre Ancien et Moderne, takes place every November and features booksellers, authors, illustrators, and collectors. Last but not least, the Noël à Menton takes place every December and features Christmas markets, decorations, lights, shows, and activities.