Menton: a self-guided walking holiday in the most Italian of French villages
Menton is a picturesque and colourful seaside town, just a stone’s throw away from the Italian border. Half-way between French Riviera chic and the Italian dolce vita, Menton is a veritable artist’s palette with houses in colourful shades of cream, yellow, ochre, pink and red. Nicknamed the "Pearl of France", the town boasts a Mediterranean climate with deliciously hot summers and comfortable warm winters. In fact, it is such a pleasant year-round climate that it’s almost as though winter never truly sets in!
Walking holiday in Provence: from the remote hiking trails in the Alps, down to the glistening Mediterranean Sea
Menton boasts stunning beaches, some pebble, but most of picture postcard white sand lapped by turquoise waters. The beaches are beautifully maintained and with lifeguards during the height of the season. It is very much a ‘garden town’ with Mediterranean vegetation, palm trees and tropical flowers in abundance. Spend a leisurely afternoon on your Provence walking holiday meandering through the labyrinth of colourful streets of the old town, up and down the winding steep steps, between houses squashed tightly together, through shaded squares and down to the glistening water.
A little history
As you enjoy your Provence walking stay through Menton, you can ponder the history of the town. Torn between Monaco and the Republic of Genoa for years, Menton eventually became French territory in 1861 as part of an agreement between Napolean III and the Grimaldi family. The town then built up a reputation as a trendy tourist destination thanks to publications of the time claiming that the Mediterranean air had positive effects on the organism and so aristocratic families from England and Russia began holidaying here. This then lead to posh hotels and palaces being built with beautifully kept gardens.
The lemon festival: a must see on your French Riviera walking stay
This traditional and somewhat unusual festival was born in 1875, thought up by hotel managers in Menton as a way of increasing tourism by making Menton livelier during the sad month of the year. Citrus fruits are produced in great quantities in the region and so the lemon became the theme of the February festival. Every year, the festival attracts thousands of tourists who come to admire the citrus statues on display and the procession through the streets of the town.
See our self-guided Provence walking tours through Menton here