Sightseeing – MENTON (Fête du Citron / Lemon Festival, 15 February-05 March 2014)

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.

Fête du Citron, Menton

Fête du Citron, Menton

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 famous Menton citrus fruits

the famous Menton citrus fruits

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.

sphinx 3 (1 of 1)

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



Eat and drink – MENTON

This year we visited Menton for the Fête du Citron, an annual festival celebrating the famous Mentonnais citrus fruits.  We visited the Bioves Jardins where they had an exhibition of fantastic sculptures created from lemons, oranges and agrumes and after taking lots of photos of the displays we strolled to the waterfront in search of lunch.

Fête du Citron, Menton

It was a warm sunny day in Menton and what better way to take advantage of the clear day than to eat overlooking the sea.  La Dolce Vita (15 promenade de la Mer, 06500 Menton.  Telephone:+33 0493354450) is a private beach club but is set up to cater well for families.  There is a ramp to the beach so it is suitable also for wheelchair users.

The restaurant served pizza with Italian flair and had miniature chairs for children.  It was still too cold for swimming but I understand that in summer, there is an air-conditioned children’s playroom with TV, DVD’s, mini beds for nap time and a child-size miniature toilet and shower.  A lifeguard watches over a roped-off swim area in the ocean, and there is a playground on the sand with inflatable toys.   Two childminders are employed in summer to entertain children 5 years and older (younger children can participate in the games but must be accompanied by an adult).

We will definitely be back to check the playroom facilities and service on a busy summer’s day, perhaps even to sample a chilled limoncello while our son plays on the sand.

the famous Menton citrus fruits