Menton Fête du Citron is all about lemons. In fact, this famous annual event on the French Riviera which takes place at the end of February is also known as the Menton Lemon Festival. Nice has its streamers, confetti, and flowers for Carnaval, but Menton, located less than an hour away by train near the Italian border decided that when life gives you lemons (and oranges!) make lemonade (or orange juice?). Menton holds a Nice Carnival style Fete du Citron each year. Festivals are a great excuse to visit off-the-beaten path places and we jumped at the chance to take a day trip from Nice to Menton to get a nice dose of Vitamin C. Below I share some highlights from our visit to Menton during the lemon festival.
Menton Fête du Citron: The Sculptures in Biovès Gardens
Menton's Fete du Citron has a theme each year. When we visited, the lemon festival theme was Cinecittà harkening back to the cool glamour of Italian cinema in the 1950s and 1960s. This seemed like an interesting choice given that Menton is actually in France, but hey, they are quite close to the border so I can see the Italian cultural influences.
The sculpture garden with its eye catching array of citrus patterns is definitely the highlight of any visit to the Menton Lemon Festival. We handed over 10 EUR each and were admitted to a wonderland of movie scenes come to life and all fashioned out of citrus fruits!
Things to See in Menton: The Town
Menton itself is lovely. We took a break after our stroll through the citrus sculpture garden to dine al fresco at Le Balico on Place aux Herbes. Fueling ourselves with steak and potatoes and sea bass, there was no sun to lift our spirits that day so we had to rely on the guitarist quietly playing behind us and this gray-jowled dog to do the honors. Festival aside, Menton has a lovely atmosphere.
The Menton Lemon Festival Golden Fruit Parade
Climb in Menton
Visit Menton's Harbor
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Interested in other day trip ideas from Nice? You can take the bus from Nice to Monaco and spend a day living like a high roller in Monte Carlo.
A short breakwall leads from Menton's harbor out to a lighthouse, another great spot to get some views of the Mediterranean and listen to the soothing sounds of crashing waves.
Menton's Fete du Citron is an easy day trip from Nice. The Menton Lemon Festival offers the perfect opportunity to visit for a bit of fruit inspired fun. Looking for other destinations where you can combine some sightseeing with a festival? Check out satirical and fiery Las Fallas in Valencia Spain.