Inspire: Art & CultureJulie WhitmarshWhat's On Provence & Cote d'Azur

A Visit to Menton for the Fête du Citron

We’ve just returned from our 3rd visit to the Cote d’Azur for our February fix of colour and fun at the Carnaval de Nice and (of course) the superb Fête du Citron that takes place in the beautiful setting of Menton from mid-February until early March each year.

Menton’s Lemons

The Fête du Citron – is a vibrant event that celebrates the locally grown citrus fruit. The Festival has taken place in Menton for over 80 years. The theme for the 87th event was ‘Les Fêtes du Monde.’ Sadly, the 2020 festivities were cancelled due to the Coronavirus threat.

The annual festivities began officially in 1935 when Menton’s town officials sanctioned the Festival. Although, the celebrations started on a smaller scale in 1928. Present-day the Lemon Festival – Fête du Citron attracts roughly 240,000 visitors each year, so expect crowds. The event includes parades (day and night), a citrus garden, and fireworks. Some 145 tons of lemons and oranges are required during the Festival for static displays and parade floats. Not to mention an “army” of people behind the scenes helping put everything together and replacing and spoilt fruit.

Fete du Citron Menton

Fête du Citron Information

Fête du Citron Website
Office de Tourisme de Menton
8 avenue Boyer – Palais de l’Europe
06500 Menton

The oversized sculptures in the Biovès Gardens require tons of citrus and a creative team. The gardens are open daily during the entire Fête du Citron, entry tickets are required.

The night parades take place on Thursday evenings from 21h to 22h15 on the Promenade du Soleil, followed by fireworks. Tickets are required.

For three nights during the Lemon Festival, the Biovès Gardens are illuminated by a spectacular light, sound and citrus show from 20h30 – 22h30. Note: To fully enjoy the show, allow at least an hour to view the gardens. Tickets are required.

During the Festival, Sunday afternoons are the time to witness the Golden Fruit Parades along the seafront. Between 14h30 and 16h, crowds gather along Menton’s Promenade du Soleil to see the colourful floats. Note it’s recommended to arrive around 12h to allow for ticket collection and security. Tickets are required.

Continue reading here for the original contributor blog post and fun images by Vaucluse Dreamer.

Reasons to Visit Menton

If you do make it to the Riviera during the citrus fête, try to squeeze in a little side-trip to Mougins and Le Cannet, located just a few minutes inland from Cannes. These charming villages have long attracted visitors and the artsy set.  Artists and movie stars are other reasons to visit Menton.

There’s nothing like sitting on the Promenade du Soleil watching the sparkling sea in the intense sunshine, cascading shadows off the ochre and pink facades. Or, simply watching a magnificent sinking orange sunset in the distance. If the breathtaking landscape wasn’t enough, there’s so much history and culture to explore in this enchanting seascape, with its confluence of French and Italian cultures.

Discover the renowned gardens, some public, others private, where the Alpes-Maritimes climate generates a variety of exotic flora, not grown in other regions of Europe. Enjoy the historic gardens, e.g. the Jardin de La Serre Madone, with plants from exotic lands, or the Jardins du Palais Carnolès, containing the most extensive citrus collection in Europe.

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Julie Whitmarsh

Julie Whitmarsh

Julie and her husband Andy started visiting the Vaucluse area 25 years ago & over the years have increased the amount of time they spend there with their growing family. She has a deep affection for the area, finding it is a great place to visit, where the whole family can relax and enjoy time together.

She longs for the day when she can ‘up-sticks’ from her home on Dartmoor & relocate to the Luberon and spend her days cycling, walking, visiting markets & brocante fairs and of course enjoying the local food and drink.

Her blog VaucluseDreamer gives her a space to highlight some of her favourite things about the area from places to visit to particular activities that she and her family all enjoy.

She hopes one day it will be a place where she can share the process of renovating a house in France, but at the moment that will have to wait.

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