Menton is the last community of the French Riviera before reaching the Italian border. Menton sits between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea and is known as the ‘Pearl of France’. Its mellow, tawny homes are scattered along the hillside going to the sea. The town of 30,000 doesn’t have the famous appeal of its neighboring communities along the coast, such as Cannes, St. Tropez, or Monte Carlo, but its charm is the mix of architecture, calm streets, and friendly locals. Here are some of the best things to do; activities and attractions for the whole family!
1. Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden
Since 1966, the botanical gardens of Val Rahmeh have been owned by the French Museum of Natural History. The gardens were originally created in 1905 and contain several tropical and subtropical plants originating from Japan, South America, and other tropical countries. Autumn is a particularly wondrous time to see all of the gorgeous colors of over 700 species of vegetation.
Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden
Address: Avenue Saint-Jacques, 06500 Menton, France
Website: Val Rahmeh Garden
2. Salle des Mariages
In 1957, the mayor of Menton commissioned master artist Jean Cocteau to redesign the Salle des Mariages. For two years the artist toiled in the refurbishment and everything in this majestic room was designed by the master’s hand. You will be amazed by the brightly-colored murals inspired by ancient mythology as well as the leopard style rugs, the burnished candelabra, and the wooden doors with patterned diamond points.
Salle des Mariages
Address: 17 Rue de la République, 06500 Menton, France
Website: The Wedding Room
3. Saint-Michel Basilica
This treasure of ornate art will leave you wondering if you are in Italy rather than France. With the colored stones forming a pathway in the shape of a coat of arms, its unbelievable exterior, and the iconic bell tower; it is an incredible sight to behold. Book now and be one of the more than 100,000 tourists that come to see this site every year.
Address: Parvis Saint-Michel, 06500 Menton, France
Website: Saint-Michel Archange Basilica
4. Old Château Cemetery
The Old Chateau Cemetery is easily approachable and offers the most amazing and breath-taking views of the harbor, the city, and the nearby majestic mountains. The peaceful nature of the place, the austerity, and the naturalness of the brick and stone structure makes it a spiritual getaway from the monotony of city life.
Old Château Cemetery
Address: Montée du Souvenir, 06500 Menton, France
Website: Old Chateau Cemetery
5. Sablettes Beach
Sablettes Beach is located between two ports along the Bonaparte pier. The beach wraps around 350 meters (1,148 feet) of beachfront and is covered in very fine sand. Here you can see where France and Italy meet and you can take a sailing trip on the water to see more than 30 dive sites that include scenic underwater caves, shipwrecks, and impressive drop-offs. It has a wonderful view of the Italian mountains and the colorful homes of the surrounding area and Sablettes Beach could be the most beautiful beach in Menton.
Address: 2 Prom. de la Mer, 06500 Menton, France
6. Regional Museum of Prehistory
The Regional Museum of Prehistory is probably the most popular attraction in Menton. Construction was completed in 1907 and it is located in the center of Menton. The museum showcases prehistoric artifacts discovered from diggings at Alpes-Maritimes, exhibits the discoveries from caves around Nice, a history of shipwrecks, and you can see millions of years of human evolution enshrined in extinct tools, plants, and animals.
Regional Museum of Prehistory
Address: Rue Loredan-Larchey, Menton, France
Website: The Regional Museum Of Prehistory
7. Plage du Fossan
The Plage du Fossan is a wide beach where the water is quite shallow and calm. Access to the beach and the water is very easy, which makes it suitable for the entire family; especially the kids. It is sheltered more than some of the other beaches in the area, so the beach is perfect to take a stroll in the sun, relax in the shade under the palm trees or take the kids to the nearby playground and park.
Plage du Fossan
Address: Esplanade Francis Palmero, 06500, Menton, France
8. Garden Serre de la Madone
Lawrence Johnston was a wealthy American born in Paris and this is his garden. He brought plants from all over the world, including South Africa, Burma, and China. The garden is sectioned off with walls, hedges and terraced gardens. Serre de la Madone is nine hectares (22 acres) of sublime plant life and a Mediterranean woodland; a perfect place for exotic plants to thrive. The garden is near Menton, where the climate is exceptionally sunny and gentle and is only three kilometers (1.8 miles) from the French Riviera.
Garden Serre de la Madone
Address: 74 Route de Gorbio, 06500 Menton, France
Website: Serre de la Madone (in French)
9. The Lemon Festival
The Lemon Festival began in 1934 and is one of the unique events in the world. This three-week festival accommodates over 230,000 visitors annually and commands 145 tons of citrus fruits. Botanical parades are organized on the Promenade du Soleil, comprising of folk groups, confetti, dancers, and a mixture of citrus-themed floats. During the festival, the Biovès Gardens in Menton is morphed into citrus fruit sculptures in stunning yellow and orange shades, some of which can reach heights of 10 meters (33 feet) and more.
The Lemon Festival
Address: 8 Avenue Boyer, 06500 Menton, France
Website: Lemon Festival
10. Marché des Halles
It is impractical to stay in Menton without sauntering along the pleasant streets. Walk to the covered Marché des Halles on the Quai de Monleon to shop this popular market for your food or just to absorb the cordial friendliness of its inhabitants. The warm welcome of the local merchants provides a symbol of the gaiety of Menton and its specialties, such as lemons, socca, barbajuans, and spices.
Marché des Halles
Address: 5 Quai de Monleon, 06500 Menton, France
Website: Marché des Halles
Saying goodbye to the French Riviera
You made a new friend in the town of Menton. And saying goodbye to a friend is hard, especially one this friendly, vibrant, and beautiful. It is a little piece of ‘heaven’ on the French Riviera! Book now, so you can make Menton a new friend as well.
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