Is Menton, France worth visiting? Discover the essential activities of Menton! What to do and what to see during a visit to this city of the Alpes-Maritimes?
Nestled in the extreme southeast of the French Riviera, Menton is considered “the pearl of France“. Indeed, the city is not only beautiful but also benefits from a subtropical microclimate, making it pleasant all year round. Visiting Menton is a pure moment of happiness. It is first of all a pleasure for the eyes, with its historical center and its old facades in soft pastel colors. It is also a wonder, facing the vegetation and the famous luxuriant gardens.
But Menton is also known worldwide for its famous lemon festival. Let’s not forget the cultural aspect either, with Jean Cocteau, who left his mark in this southern city. And then, impossible not to mention the very beautiful beaches of Menton. You wonder what to do in Menton? We tell you everything!
- 1 Visit the Basilica of Saint Michael
- 2 Take part in the famous Lemon Festival
- 3 The Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel
- 4 Explore the Old Town of Menton
- 5 Discover the local flavors at the marché des Halles
- 6 Tanning on the beaches of Menton
- 7 Le cimetière du Vieux Château
- 8 Take Garavan Boulevard
- 9 The palaces of the Belle Époque
- 10 How to get to Menton?
Visit the Basilica of Saint Michael
Located in the historic center of Menton, the Basilica of Saint-Michel is the emblematic monument of the city. It was built between 1639 and 1653 and represents the Provençal Baroque style in all its glory, attracting nearly 100,000 visitors each year who come to discover its picturesque architecture.
Take the time to admire its superb facade from the square in front of this basilica, which was classified as a historical monument in 1947. On each side of the Basilica Saint-Michel are two bell towers, the Clock Tower and the Campanin, respectively 25 and 53 meters high.
The interior, flooded with light, is not to be outdone as it has three naves and beautiful chapels.
The access to the Basilica of Saint Michael is quite steep and can only be done on foot, but you will see that the effort is worth it. The building dominates the bay of Menton; you will also enjoy a superb view of the sea.
Opposite the Saint-Michel basilica, don’t miss the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs, also called the Chapelle de l’Immaculée-Conception. This beautiful Baroque chapel was built between 1680 and 1687.
The Basilica of Saint-Michel is open from 10am to 12pm and from 3pm to 5pm (except weekends and public holidays). From All Saints’ Day until December 15, the basilica is only accessible in the afternoon. In August, it opens from 10am to 12pm, then from 4pm to 6pm (except weekends and public holidays).
Address: Place de l'Eglise, 06500 Menton
Take part in the famous Lemon Festival
This is a unique event in the world, not to be missed! This is one of the must-see events in Menton! Every year in February and for two weeks, Menton pays tribute to this citrus fruit, which is the symbol of the city. You can contemplate the impressive corsos of golden fruits and night corsos, the floats decorated with lemons, entertainment, shows… The lemon festival is a must-see event in Menton.
And for the little anecdote, the legend says that when Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise, Eve would have taken a lemon. After wandering, they arrived at the bay of Garavan. Eve, under the spell of the place, would have buried his lemon, which gave birth to Menton, “The City of Lemons.”
The Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel
This beautiful basilica is one of the emblems of the city and a true jewel of Baroque art. It is part of the must-see in Menton. It was opened to the faithful in 1653. As for its beautiful facade, it was completed in 1819.
Ramps allow access to admire this basilica with three naves, its magnificent square of pebbles and it’s beautiful Baroque facade. As for the interior, it is sumptuous and in the Italian style, inspired by the Annunziata church in Genoa.
In August, its square hosts the Music Festival of Menton, one of the most prestigious and oldest in Europe. This basilica is part of the tourist itinerary of the baroque Nisso-Liguria.
Explore the Old Town of Menton
During your visit to Menton, don’t miss a stroll through the Old Town.
It is here that you will find the soul of the “Pearl of France“. Like the small villages of Provence, the historic center of Menton is a beautiful collection of narrow cobbled streets and colorful facades. The pretty Italian-style squares, the flowered walls, and the small medieval doors are all typical features that give Menton its character and charm. Get your camera ready, as you will inevitably want to take hundreds of pictures of these picturesque corners!
Explore the rue du Vieux-Château, the Capadona and Lampedusa lanes, and the rue Longue, which is lined with private mansions. But above all, don’t be afraid to get lost; that’s how you discover the most beautiful treasures of the city.
By taking a little height, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy magnificent panoramas of the Bay of Menton. A change of scenery is guaranteed!
Discover the local flavors at the marché des Halles
In the south, the market is sacred! And in Menton, the market hall is an institution. It is a covered market located on the seafront, at the entrance to the Old Town. It is the place to come to take the pulse of the city, buy local specialties or simply stroll from stall to stall.
The artisanal orange jams, the lemon wine, the barbajuan (a kind of samosa made in Menton), the limoncello of Menton, the olive oil or the pichade (the cousin of the niçoise pissaladière), no doubt that you will find what you need among the specialities of Menton. The Halles market brings together nearly forty merchants and is an essential part of any stay in this beautiful city in the south of France.
The Halles market is open every day, except Monday, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tanning on the beaches of Menton
Visiting the French Riviera during the summer, you will surely want to discover the beaches of the coast during your visit to Menton. For the most part, the beaches of Menton are made of pebbles and allow you to enjoy a superb panorama on the sea of course, but also on the small colored houses of Menton. A real postcard landscape!
Here are the beaches that you can discover in Menton:
- La plage Hawaï,
- des Sablettes,
- Plage Fossan, Marché, Casino, Borrigo.
All you have to do is choose! For a refreshing walk or a summer nap under the sun, do not miss the opportunity to bask for a while on one of the beautiful beaches of Menton.
Le cimetière du Vieux Château
A visit is a little unusual and unusual, but that will not leave anyone indifferent. If you are looking for something to do in Menton, then head for the Vieux Château cemetery. It is the oldest cemetery in the city, perched high on a hill.
It is located on the ruins of a castle, which gave it its name. Its dominant position makes it a first-rate lookout point. Moreover, it offers a magnificent view of the city, the bay of Garavan and the port. The famous writers Flaubert and Maupassant contemplated this cemetery, which is among the most beautiful in France.
Take Garavan Boulevard
The symbolic road of Menton, the boulevard of Garavan, was created in 1888. What was once called the “Babylonian dream” is lined with sublime villas and lush gardens.
This boulevard stretches for 3 kilometers between the pepper and carob trees and connects the French-Italian border to the Old Town. As you walk along it, you will overlook the bay of Menton and discover the Pian park, which I mentioned earlier, or the garden of Val Rahmeh, located nearby. You will notice the presence of a largely tropical flora, introduced over the years by conquerors and horticulturists. A beautiful and exotic route to take during your visit to Menton!
The palaces of the Belle Époque
The city of Menton has many palaces dating from the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, which welcomed at the time a rich international clientele, attracted by Menton for its climate and beauty.
An association, “The Circle of Palaces Found,” preserves this heritage of exception. You can therefore visit Menton on the theme of palaces, to admire these majestic facades from the Belle Epoque. There are 17 of them. Among the most famous is the Grand Hotel de Venise, or Orangerie, which dates from the late nineteenth century. But also the Riviera Palace, the Royal Westminster or the Winter Palace.
Some of them are decorated with luxuriant gardens of great beauty.
How to get to Menton?
The nearest airport is Nice Côte d’Azur, about 40 kilometers away. From there, you can easily reach the city of lemons by public transport or by renting a car. Don’t hesitate to use a flight comparator such as Skyscanner to find the best flight available for your dates.
Remember to book as soon as possible to have a choice and good prices.
By car, you can easily reach Menton by the A8 freeway. Take exit 59, which allows you to reach the city center quickly.
The train station of Menton Center is located in the city center, close to the seaside, shops, and hotels. The TER Nice-Menton line also allows you to reach the city by TGV or LGV.
Bus line 100 connects Menton to Nice Center and offers stops in all the major cities along the route. Line 110 connects the bus station of Menton to Nice airport.
Where to stay in Menton?
As far as accommodation in Menton is concerned, you have a choice of hotels of different standards, depending on your needs. It is also possible to choose an Airbnb or a camping site.
The ideal is to stay in the historical heart or on the seafront, to enjoy the view of the Big Blue and give a more romantic side to the stay. You will also be able to taste the local gastronomy in the downtown restaurants. You can use hotel comparator, which will show you the best hotel offers depending on your dates of stay.
Remember to book as early as possible for more choice and better value.
Now that you know how to visit Menton, it’s time to pack your bags!
Did you know….
When you buy something after clicking on one of my links, I get a small commission. However, you continue to pay the same amount!