Menton, French Riviera: where it is, when to go and what to see

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Joel Fulleda

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A short distance from the Italian border is located Menton, one of the most visited destinations on the French Riviera.
A village with tall, narrow houses in pastel tones perched overlooking the sea, which looks like a postcard. The town is renowned for its gardens (the most particular is the Giardino Fontana Rosa), his beaches, among the most beautiful on the coast and its own museums (the most recent is the one dedicated to Jean Cocteau).

It will be due to the perpetually mild climate, it will be due to the "hybrid" geographical position, but, you can breathe a Ligurian-Provencal atmosphere. The tall houses peeling from the salt and decorated with trompe l'oeil motifs, the narrow alleys, lavender, oil and soaps ...

The Côte d'Azur is a popular place especially in summer, but in Menton it is worth a visit in February, during the carnival period, when the lively and colorful "Lemon Festival" is underway, an event that attracts thousands of visitors every year!


  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Where it is
  3. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  4. 10 things to see in Menton
  5. What to see in Menton in one day: recommended itinerary
  6. Where to eat in Menton: the best restaurants
  7. How much does it cost to visit Menton? Prices, offers and advice
  8. User questions and comments

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 29.361
  • Language: French and Italian
  • Closest airports: the nearest airport is the Côte d´Azur of Nice, about 40 km from Menton reachable by taking bus 9 or 12, change at St Laurent Du Var and take the train towards Ventimiglia (1 hour and 15 min, € 14,00, 798). Alternatives: bus 3 (110 and a half hours), bus 1 Express (15 hour and 20,00 min € 45), Blablabus (9,00 min € )

Where it is

Mentone (Menton in French, Mentùn in Ligurian, Mentàn in Menton) is a French town located in the department of the Alpes-Maritimes, in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region.
Menton is the first French city that meets immediately after the Italian border, adjacent to Ventimiglia. The town, nicknamed the Pearl of France, is bathed by the Ligurian Sea.

How to reach us

  • By car: you can take E74, E80, and A10. The extension of the A10 is the French A8 motorway, which crosses the French Riviera and Provence. To reach Menton take exit 59 at km 220.
  • By train / bus: the most convenient solution by train is to take the Trenitalia Intercity or the Eurocity Thello train to Ventimiglia and from there continue with the SNCF; About 4 hours and 24 minutes (from € 19,00 to € 27,00). By bus, the journey takes approximately 5 hours and 45 minutes. Flixbus leaves from Milan Malpensa and stops in Ventimiglia (from € 12,99), Autolinee Locatelli always stops in Ventimiglia but is more expensive, from € 33,00
  • By plane: the nearest airport is the Côte d´Azur in Nice, just over 40 km from Menton. From Nice, Menton can be reached by taking bus 9 or 12 (change at St Laurent Du Var) and then the train towards Ventimiglia (1 hour and 15 min, € 14,00). Alternatives: bus 798 (3 and a half hours), bus 110 Express (1 hour and 15 min € 20,00), Blablabus (45 min € 9,00)

When to go? Info on climate and best time

  • Weather: Mediterranean, with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. The sea is never hot because it is cooled by the Mistral (22 ° in August)
  • Best time: for beach holidays, summer. Any period is fine for cultural travel. It is worth a visit also in February, during the carnival period
  • Period to avoid: winter is the least suitable period but not necessarily to be avoided.

10 things to see in Menton

  1. Old City: the oldest and most colorful soul of Menton. Winding alleys and pastel houses create romantic views absolutely to be immortalized. The beauty is to wander aimlessly, and browse among the small shops selling lavender, oil and lemon.
  2. Biovès Gardens: manicured gardens, blooming in every season, which develop along Avenue Boyer. During the Lemon Festival they host spectacular and monumental sculptures built with tons of oranges and lemons.
  3. Basilica of San Michele Arcangelo: example of Baroque architecture that dominates the city from above. It is accessed via flights of stairs, opening onto an elegant square with a view of the landscape below.
  4. Pedestrian Saint-Michel: it is none other than the seafront of Menton, overlooked by elegant and aristocratic buildings with typical Art Nouveau architecture, luxurious hotels and various types of restaurants.
  5. The Halles Municipales: the municipal market where the inhabitants go every day to shop for the freshest products: fruit, vegetables, bread, fish, cheese ... It opens very early, at 6:00 in the morning, and closes at 13:00.
  6. Russian church: Orthodox church that testifies to the Russian presence in the region in the period between the end of 1800 and the beginning of 1900. Easily identifiable by the unusual profile with onion domes.
  7. Casino barrière: relatively large casino housed in a fairly nondescript and inconspicuous building. It offers 206 slot machines and classic table games such as Blackjack and Roulette, but also Poker, Boule and Tombola.
  8. Jean Cocteau Museum: born in 2011 thanks to the exceptional donation of the American Séverin Wunderman. Built along the sea, the building designed by Rudy Riciotti is recognizable by the spectacular facade interspersed with white shapes.
  9. Fontana Rosa Gardens: garden of ceramics in Valencian fashion dedicated to the memory of the great writers, created in 1921 by the screenwriter and novelist Vicente Blasco-Ibañez.
  10. Old castle cemetery: located in the upper part of Menton, from here you can enjoy a wonderful view that sweeps up to Ventimiglia. Many Russians and British are buried there.

What to see in Menton in one day: recommended itinerary

Have breakfast at the Boulangerie RCM - Rey Et Fils (€ 7,00) and admire (unfortunately it cannot be visited!) Russian Church.

A 1,5 km walk along Rue Paul Morillot will lead you to the Biovès Gardens (open every day from 7:30 to 18:30; free access, you pay only on the occasion of particular exhibitions, e.g. citrus sculptures during the Lemon Festival € 12,00) in front of the Casino. Relax among plants and flower beds and then continue walking towards the pedestrian Saint Michel, aka the waterfront. Admire the facades of the elegant buildings in typical Art Nouveau style, browse the stalls of Place aux Herbes and Place Clémenceau, and stop at le Halles Municipales, the covered market full of fresh products, open every day from 6:00 to 13:00 (free).

Have lunch at the Restaurant Le Nautic (€ 30,00) and then visit the Jean Cocteau Museum, inaugurated in 2011, thanks to a large donation by the American Séverin Wunderman. The building that houses it, directly on the sea, in glass and white stone, is geometric and massive. The museum is open from Wednesday to Monday from 10:00 to 18:00, € 10,00 - reduced € 6,00.
Enter the picturesque alleys of the Old City; and then start climbing: you will find yourself in an open space overlooked by the Basilica of San Michele Arcangelo, typical baroque example (7: 00-19: 00, free) and reach the Old castle cemetery (7: 00-17: 00, free). From here you can enjoy a wonderful view.

For dinner, stop at Le 31 (€ 25,00).

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at Boulangerie RCM - Rey Et Fils
  2. Russian church
  3. Biovès Gardens
  4. The Halles Municipales
  5. Lunch at Restaurant Le Nautic
  6. Jean Cocteau Museum (€ 10,00 - reduced € 6,00)
  7. Old City
  8. Basilica of San Michele Arcangelo
  9. Old Castle Cemetery
  10. Dinner at 31

Where to eat in Menton: the best restaurants

  1. A. Braijade Meridiounale: restaurant with complete choice menus, original courses and fiery skewers of both meat and fish
    Average price per person: € 35,00
    Address and contacts: 123 rue Longue Le Palais des Princes, Menton Get directions / tel: +33953117083
  2. the 31: sea view restaurant offering typical French dishes such as duck with orange. A nice and convenient must is the set menu for € 25,00 consisting of entrèe + plat + dessert
    Average price per person: € 25,00
    Address and contacts: 31 quai bonaparte, Menton Get directions / tel: +33640650792
  3. Le P'tit Resto: small family-run restaurant that offers creative cuisine without improbable inventions and in full respect of the taste of raw materials
    Average price per person: € 35,00
    Address & Contact: 19 Avenue de la Madone Get Directions / Tel: +33493413707

How much does it cost to visit Menton? Prices, offers and advice

Menton is not really a low-cost destination. Although we are not talking about Cannes and Saint Tropez, we are still on the French Riviera. If you come from a relatively close area you can reach the destination by car, otherwise, there are quite cheap flights to Nice (obviously bearing in mind the seasonality factor).

However, life in Menton is expensive. A mediocre accommodation starts at at least € 80,00 per room per night, in the low season. For meals, you will be spoiled for choice, but the places are also quite expensive. Keep in mind that the more touristic ones offer fixed price menus (qualitatively questionable) starting from a minimum of € 19,00. It goes without saying that luxury restaurants, or fish restaurants, start from at least € 40,00 / 50,00 each. You can save money by getting by in an apartment and shopping in the many supermarkets.

In summer, unless you opt for the free beach, prices are around € 20,00 per day for umbrella and deck chairs.
Paid attractions, such as museums, have an entrance fee of at least € 10,00.

  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 80,00 per room -
  • starting from € 35,00 -
  • Return flight + 7 days / 6 nights from € 522,00 per person -

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