Menton is the capital city for lemon and oranges on the French Riviera. Every year in February Menton celebrates with the Lemon Festival (Fete du Citron)
Menton on the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) and Italian border is famous for its mild climate and for the Lemon Festival (Fête du Citron). Menton on the Italian border, is the capital of lemon and the sweetness of life. The people of Menton are called Mentonnais or Mentonasques which is the traditional and literary way.
Menton is located at the Italian border, right next to Ventimiglia, Italy. Menton has been dubbed "Pearl of France" by the geographer Elisha Reclus in his Universal Geography. The city is open to the Mediterranean Sea. The lemon is a symbol of Menton. The region of Menton is the only region of France where, thanks to a unique microclimate, lemon trees grow. Since three quarters of a century, the Lemon Festival takes place in the town of Menton during the period of Carnival. The Lemon Festival takes place between the last three weekends in February and gives rise to colorful animations.
The history of Menton in a few words
The first mention of the city dates back to 1262, in the peace treaty between Charles d'Anjou and Genoa. Acquired in 1346 by Charles Grimaldi of Monaco, Menton remained under the suzerainty of the princes of Monaco for five centuries, until 1848. That year - in protest against a tax levied by the prince of Monaco on the export of lemons, the main resource of the city, Menton was proclaimed Ville Libre (free city), putting themselves under the protection of the King of Sardinia.
The city of Menton went to France in 1861. In the plebiscite held that year, Menton spoke overwhelmingly in favour of attachment to France.
What to do and to see in Menton
Menton is considered as a city of art and history. The main things to see are:
- The Basilica of Saint-Michel.
- The Bastion: facing the sea, in the port of Menton. It was built by the Princes of Monaco, as a defence advanced port in 1636. Jean Cocteau's museum is located in the former stronghold.
- The Palais de Carnolès: former home of Antoine I of Monaco, today Museum of Fine Arts and whose garden is home to the largest collection of citrus in France.
- The gardens of Biovès: beautiful gardens located on a large driveway (up the Carei), where every year the Lemon Festival is taking place.
- The Faubourg Garavan, old village which extends over the ridge to the Italian border. Beautiful gardens and luxurious properties. The tropical fruits will mature through its climate, the most temperate of France.
- Monti, a hamlet of Menton which is accessible by one of the most beautiful roads in the hinterland to Sospel.
- The valleys and villages of the hinterland of Menton: Castellar, Castillon, Gorbio, St. Agnes and Sospel.
- And of course, strolling in the old town of Menton and its beaches, and attend the carnival and the Lemon Festival in February.
The Lemon Festival ®
In 1929, as Menton is still the largest producer of lemon in Europe, a hotelier had the idea of organizing an exhibition of flowers and citrus fruits in the gardens of the Hotel Riviera. The success is such that the following year, the festival grows. The municipality wants to develop tourism, seeks to give Carnival a typical local color: the Lemon Festival ® was born in 1934.
Its success will continue year after year.
In 2009, The Lemon Festival ® will celebrate its 75th birthday and will be celebrated on Friday 13 February to Wednesday, March 4, 2009. On the agenda: Exhibitions of citrus fruit, Golden Corsos, Corsos by night followed by fireworks display... Visit the official web site of the Lemon Festival for more details. Online booking available.