What To Do In Menton, France?

Bonjour! Welcome to Menton, one of the most colorful towns on Cote d’Azur that will fill you with positive energy, good food, and… lots of lemons! Whether you want to explore a picturesque old town, relax on a beach, admire breathtaking views, or take part in a unique Lemon Festival – you’ll find it all in Menton. Chances are high that this seaside town will enchant you from the first steps! Sounds good? Keep reading and discover what to do in Menton, France.

Interesting fact. Menton was added to France only in 1860! Before, it was part of Monaco.

Travel tip. You can visit Menton and nearby Roquebrune-Cap-Martin or Sainte-Agnes during the same-day trip.

What To Do In Menton, France
Happy Little Traveler Authors

Created by Sonia & Wojtek

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Menton, France FAQ

Where is Menton located?

Menton is located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in the Alpes-Maritimes department in southeastern France. It’s the last French town before the Italian border, located about 3km from it. Menton is just a short drive from nearby popular places like Monaco, Nice, Eze, or Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

What is Menton known for?

Menton is best known for being a colorful seaside town on Cote d’Azur where almost everything revolves around the lemons. Its delightful old town together with the blue Mediterranean waters and green hills behind create an unforgettable image. Many call it one of the most beautiful corners of the country and the pearl of the French Riviera.

Is Menton worth visiting?

Yes, of course! Menton is a must-visit while on Cote d’Azur. It’s small but is pretty, colorful, and captivating with quite a lot of things to do too. It’s a real delight to explore and we’re sure it’ll keep you entertained for hours. You’ll also find an amazing mix of French and Italian food – it’s a haven for food lovers!

How much time do you need in Menton?

A few hours will be enough to see all the main attractions in Menton and get a good feel of what this town is all about. If you want to experience it more and discover all it has to offer at a slower pace, we recommend spending 2 or 3 days there.

How to pronounce Menton?

It’s pronounced [mɑ̃tɔ̃]. Still don’t know how to read it? Here’s a YouTube video where you can listen to correct pronunciation.

Discover What To Do In Menton - Pearl Of The French Riviera
What To Do In Menton, Very Colorful Town on Cote d'Azur

Menton Legend

According to local beliefs, there’s a piece of paradise in Menton. As you probably know, in the Bible, Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden for eating forbidden fruit. But apparently, Eve secretly took some of it with her! Adam, fearing divine anger, asked her to throw it away. She agreed on one condition – that she’ll do it in a place of her choosing.

As they were roaming the Earth, no place was good enough for her and could be compared to the lost paradise. It lasted until they reached the area of Menton where Eve finally decided to bury the fruit in the ground. This is how lemons arrived in the area and the little paradise of Menton appeared.

Note. Apparently, the forbidden fruit name isn’t specified in the Bible – it could’ve just as easily been a grape, apple, pomegranate, pear, fig, or something else. Or lemons, in the case of this story.

Tasty Lemons of Menton, France

What to do in Menton, France?

Menton Old Town

Menton’s old town is fairly small and there’s no better way of getting to know it than just getting lost in a maze of its streets and slowly exploring every corner. Cobblestone streets filled with quaint colorful houses adorned with flowers, secret passageways, historical landmarks, magnificent viewpoints, restaurants, cafes… Wherever you turn, you’ll find something interesting there – just let it reveal itself to you.

Among Menton’s old town streets, you’ll find points of interest like the Basilica of Saint-Michel Archange and majestic stairs leading to it, the Cemetery of the Old Castle, Chapel of the White Penitents, Bastion Museum with Jean Cocteau arts, ​​Biovès Gardens, or Halles Market.

Streets and squares you don’t want to miss are Rue Longue, Rue Saint-Michel, Place du Cap, Rue du Vieux Château, Quai Bonaparte, Place de l’Eglise, and Avenue Boyer.

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View Over Menton Old Town Colorful Houses and Basilique
View Over Menton Old Town Colorful Houses from Beach Promenade
Exploring Colorful Streets Of Menton Old Town
Colorful Streets Of Menton Old Town
What To Do in Menton, France - Explore Colorful Streets Of Old Town

There you’ll also find a lot of shops selling various lemon products – beers, limoncellos, lemon-infused olive oils, jars of lemon honey, jams, cookies, soaps, creams, candles, various home decorations, and many more! But in the town of lemons, it couldn’t be otherwise!

Also, be aware that Menton’s old town is hilly with many steps so don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes to make your exploring more pleasant.

Menton Tourist Office is located on Avenue Boyer in the Palais de l’Europe building. It’s right next to the beautiful and green Biovès Gardens.

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Things To Do In Menton, France - Explore Old Town
Exploring Streets Of Menton Old Town
Menton Old Town Colorful Street With a Cute Ginger Cat
Things To Do In Menton - Explore Colorful Old Town
Things To Do In Menton Old Town
Explore Colorful Streets Of Menton Old Town on French Riviera

Basilica of Saint-Michel Archange

Basilica of Saint-Michel Archange (fr. Basilique Saint-Michel Archange) was built in the mid-17th century in Baroque style and proudly overlooks Menton from a spot on the high hill. While there, be sure to stop for a little and admire stunning views over the beach and the coastline.

The church looks impressive not only from the outside but also from the inside. If you’ll be lucky enough to be there during opening hours don’t hesitate to step inside and admire. It has a richly decorated interior, many artifacts, and a 17th-century organ. Entrance is free.

The Basilica of Saint-Michel Archange was classified as a Historic Monument in 1947.

In our opinion, the basilica and its yellow bell tower look even more spectacular from afar. For the best views, against the backdrop of green hills, head down to port and Plage de Fossan beach.

Basilica of Saint-Michel Archange in Menton
View Over Impressive Basilica of Saint-Michel Archange in Menton

Les Rampes Saint-Michel

Les Rampes Saint-Michel, often just called the Escaliers, are the famous lemon-colored zigzagging stairs leading to the Basilica of Saint-Michel Archange from the Quai Bonaparte promenade. They were built in the mid-18th century to help citizens reach the church. They are very photogenic, no wonder they became one of the most photographed places in Menton!

Les Rampes Saint-Michel - Iconic Yellow Stairs in Menton
Les Rampes Saint-Michel - Iconic Stairs in Menton

Chapel of the White Penitents

Chapel of the White Penitents (fr. La Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs) is located right next to the Basilica of Saint-Michel Archange. It was built in the 17th century and was home to the Brotherhood of the White Penitents. From the outside, you can admire its beautiful facade but unfortunately, it’s not possible to visit the chapel’s interior.

The Chapel of the White Penitents was classified as a historic monument in 1947.

Chapel of the White Penitents in Menton, France

Cemetery of the Old Castle

Cemetery of the Old Castle (fr. Cimetière du Vieux Château) is located at the very top of the Menton old town. Nowadays, it’s a beautiful resting place that was built on the ruins of an old castle. It’s a unique and lovely place to visit, where you’ll find breathtaking views over Menton and its Mediterranean coastline, as well as many beautiful tombstones, mausoleums, and statues. Aren’t those who rest there very lucky?

Note. While it’s one of the most popular things to do in Menton, be sure to visit the cemetery with respect and discretion.

Cemetery of the Old Castle
Views over Cote d'Azur and Italy from Cemetery of the Old Castle in Menton

Menton Promenade

For a relaxing stroll peppered with magnificent views head to Menton seaside promenade. The azure sea on the one side and the colorful old town with green hills behind create a truly mesmerizing image. Be sure to walk along Quai Bonaparte behind Plage des Sablettes, Quai Napoléon III up to Menton Lighthouse, Quai Impératrice Eugénie up to Statue Saint Michel, and Promenade du Soleil with Fossan Beach Park (fr. Parc Plage de Fossan).

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Menton Promenade - Promenade du Soleil

Menton Old Port

At the foot of the old town, you’ll find Menton Old Port (fr. Vieux Port de Menton). This small port is home to dozens of fishing and recreational boats. It’s also a place where you’ll find great views over the old town – our advice is to head to the stones along Quai Impératrice Eugénie and the lighthouse on Quai Napoléon III.

If you like watching yachts and Menton Old Port isn’t enough for you, be sure to head to Port Garavan located about 1.5km away. It’s one of the biggest ports on Cote d’Azur with 770 moorings.

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Menton Old Port
Menton Old Port and View Over Old Town

Beaches in Menton

We don’t think anyone needs to be convinced that the Cote d’Azur is a real beach paradise. Along the Menton coastline, which stretches from Roquebrune-Cap-Martin to the Italian border, you’ll find some great beaches, perfect for soaking up the sun and taking a refreshing dip in azure waters.

In Menton, the beach choice might not be as wide as in the other nearby towns, but available beaches lack nothing and don’t disappoint. Here are some of the best beaches in Menton:

  • Plage des Sablettes – the main town’s beach, located right at the foot of the old town. It’s sand/pebbly, long, fairly wide, and the most lively out of all. It features calm clear waters and scenic views over the Menton old town and the coast. There are lockers, toilets, and showers on site, as well as many restaurants and cafes nearby.
  • Plage des Sablettes Est – a further section of the beach perfect for those who prefer to rent a sunbed and a parasol or spend a beach day in a private area.
  • Plage de Fossan – located near the former Jean Cocteau Museum and Fossan Beach Park, just around the corner from the old town. Compared to other beaches it’s small but features a wooden boardwalk, shaped like an amphitheater – it’s a nice place for a small break with a nice view. In the park behind, there’s a children’s area and an outdoor gym.
  • Plage du Marché + Plage du Casino – long stretch from the former Jean Cocteau Museum to Elisée Reclus Garden. It’s a wide and long pebbly/sandy beach with many amenities nearby like parking lots, toilets, showers, lifeguards, restaurants, and cafes. It features nice views of the old town. Biggest con – there’s a busy road just behind.

For more amazing beaches you can head to nearby Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

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Beaches in Menton - Plage de Fossan,Plage du Marché, Plage du Casino
Beaches in Menton - Plage des Sablettes

Botanical Gardens

While in Menton you can also visit one of its botanical gardens full of various exotic plants, flowers, ponds, and fountains. But keep in mind that most of them are located a bit outside of the old town and entrances are paid. You can choose between Jardin Maria Serena, Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton, Serre de la Madone, Jardin du Palais de Carnolès, Jardin Fontana Rosa, or Les Colombières.

Near Menton old town you’ll find a small and free public park named Jardins Biovès with orange and lemon trees. It’s also a place where the unique annual Lemon Festival takes place.

Giant sportsmen sculpture during Fete du Citron in Menton

Market – Marché des Halles

If you love eating, or just admiring, fresh products you should direct your steps to Marché des Halles. The booths are full of fruits, vegetables, meat, breads, pastries, regional specialties, dried herbs, olives, cheese, and many more. Marché des Halles is open Tuesday to Sunday from 7AM to 1PM.

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Market - Marché des Halles in Menton, France
Limoncello from Tasty Menton Lemons

Jean Cocteau Museum

Jean Cocteau was a famous 20th-century artist and film director who loved Menton. Today, you can learn more about his life and admire his works at the museum located in the old 17th-century fort right next to Menton Old Port. What’s interesting, he chose this place by himself, helped decorate it, and filled it with his works.

Entrance to Jean Cocteau Museum costs €5 for a normal ticket and €3.75 for a reduced one (June 2024). For current prices and opening hours visit museecocteaumenton.fr website. 

Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton, France

Lemon Festival – Fête du Citron

Lemon Festival, or Fete du Citron in French, is one of the most unique festivals in Europe. Each year, around mid-February, the town turns gold for 2 weeks when 120 tons of lemons and oranges are turned into delicious-looking sculptures and floats. Some of them can reach up to an impressive height of 10m!

Each year a different theme is featured. Over the last decades, there have already been themes like Walt Disney Studio, Bollywood, Fantasy Worlds, Wonders of the World, or Great Civilizations just to name a few. In 2024 the town nodded to Paris and the Olympic Games and named the festival “from Olympia to Menton”.

If you want to learn more about the Lemon Festival and see what it’s all about check out our 2024 photo/video report.

Learn more iconLearn more: Fete du Citron, Menton Lemon Festival 2024

Explore Tasty Fete du Citron, Menton Lemon Festival 2024
2024 Fete du Citron - from Olympia to Menton - winner sculpture

Viewpoints over Menton Old Town

Wanna take some iconic photos of Menton? For the best angles be sure to head to: 

  • Quai Napoléon III – the road leading to the lighthouse,
  • Quai Impératrice Eugénie – the rocks along the road leading to the Saint Michel statue,
  • Plage de Fossan,
  • Cemetery of the Old Castle.

All are amazing, all are unforgettable. Enjoy!

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Viewpoints over Menton Old Town - Plage de Fossan
View from Plage de Fossan
Viewpoints over Menton Old Town - Quai Impératrice Eugénie
View from Quai Impératrice Eugénie

How to get to Menton, France?

Menton is located about 5km from Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, 10 km from Monaco, 30km from Nice, and 55km from Antibes. The most convenient way to get to the town is by car or train.

Where to park in Menton?

In Menton you can easily leave your car in one of many paid parking lots or try your luck in a free zones. We can recommend spots along Rue Henry Gréville or Chemin des Terres Chaudes – both are located just a few steps from the old town.

Learn more iconFor great car rental deals visit Rentalcars website.

To Menton by train

You can easily get by train to Menton from many nearby places like Nice, Cannes, Eze, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Grasse, or Villefranche-sur-Mer. To learn more about train connections that interest you visit sncf.com or rome2rio.com website.

Learn more iconFor great train ticket deals visit Trainline website.

To Menton by bus

You can also quite easily reach Menton by bus. For example, a trip from Nice will take about 1.5h (€3), 50min from Eze (€3), and 30min from Monaco (€3). To learn more about bus connections that might interest you visit rome2rio.com website.

Menton Camping 

If you’re traveling by camper, places like Campsites French Riviera Menton, Camping la Giandolla or Camping de La Laune might interest you. They are located near Menton.

What To Do In Menton, France - Town Full Of Tasty Lemons
Menton Old Town - Colorful Buildings

What to do in Menton, France – Summing up

Now you know what colorful Menton is all about and why it should be high on your Cote d’Azur bucket list. It’s such a charming and picturesque place, isn’t it? No matter if you’re looking to explore a charming old town, relax on the beach, admire stunning views, or fill your stomach with delicious French or Italian food – Menton has it all and we’re sure that every traveler will find something perfect for himself. Enjoy your time!

Our video from Menton

Our opinion about Menton

Since 2022 we’ve visited Menton a couple of times while living on Cote d’Azur. We’ve seen it both in the low and high seasons and during the Lemon Festival. And at least from our experience, this town is always full of tourists – sometimes there are more, sometimes less, but it’s never empty. During our first time there, seeing everything we wanted took us about 5 or 6 hours (including eating pizza for dinner).

We won’t lie when we say that Menton has quickly stolen our hearts and it’s one of our favorite places on Cote d’Azur. We love its vibe, its colors, its old town, its views… And of course its food, which is the main reason why we always come back! 

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Happy Little Traveler in Menton, France
Delicious Pizza In Menton, France
Eating Delicious Crepes in Menton, France

Restaurants, accommodations, and map

Check out various recommended places below.

Where to eat in Menton?

Here are your best, high-rated options in Menton:

Where to sleep in Menton?

Hôtel Miléade L'Orangerai in Menton, France

Hôtel Miléade L’Orangeraie

Hôtel Miléade L'Orangeraie is a historic and charming hotel housed in a former aristocratic villa surrounded by lush gardens. This accommodation offers elegant rooms with modern amenities, many featuring balconies with views of the Mediterranean Sea. Conveniently located near the beach and Menton's city center, it provides a serene retreat while allowing easy access to the vibrant local attractions and cultural landmarks.