Menton, located on the France-Italian border, has one of the highest allocations of sunshine hours in France and it is this climate that favours the growth of tangerines, oranges and one of the symbols of the town – lemons.
In celebration of these citrus fruits and their importance to Menton, each February an annual festival – the Fête du Citron (or Lemon Festival) is held.
There are parades with lights and lanterns, decorated floats in the evening and the central park Jardins Biovès has a display of large sculptures made of citrus fruits decorated in the annual theme. The Jardins Biovès also has stalls selling citrus-themed products – vintage postcards with lemons, table linen adorned with orange groves, citrus produce including curds, limoncello, marmalades….anything and everything that can be made of citrus is there!
The theme this year is ‘20,000 leagues under the sea’ so it will be interesting to see what is created out of lemons and oranges! Perhaps a giant octopus? Or a sunken treasure ship?
Ticket prices range from €5 for kids entry 6-14 years to the garden Biovès sculpture displays, right up to €25 for adults admission to the night parades. Note: Children under 6 years are free of charge, as well as persons with reduced mobility with disability cards.
The train station of Menton (note that the train station you need to stop at is called Gare du Menton, not Gare du Menton Garavan) is just 200 metres from the main garden sculpture display. Carparking was ample last time we visited with no major traffic jams from the highway, though there were some street restrictions and detours around the central garden.
For travellers with baby buggies/strollers, or persons with reduced mobility there is a footbridge and stairs separating half of the garden sculpture display – however, you can exit at the bottom of the stairs and re-enter at the other side where the exhibition begins again.
More information and tickets are found online at the official website www.fete-du-citron.com