After spending Friday and Saturday in Nice for Carnival, we decided to hop over to Menton, the last city on the Riviera, (30 minutes from Nice by train), in order to experience the 81st annual Lemon Festival, or La Fête du Citron. This year’s theme was 20000 Lieues Sous Les Mers, or 20000 Leagues Under The Sea, meaning that the theme was very oceanic.
Menton is known especially for its lemon and orange trees, and is a major exporter of these fruits. La Fête du Citron is a unique three week event taking place in February and early March, and is the second most important event on the French Rivera after Carnival de Nice. The event brings more than 160,000 visitors to Menton each year. The floats and displays created by a team of over 300 workers reach heights of up to 10 meters tall, and require over 140 tons of oranges and lemons each year.
A fun fact is that Menton is the last stop before the French Rivera becomes Italian (it is right next to the border!), so there were a lot of Italian influences in the various architectures. Additionally, there was a lot of Italian spoken on the streets. Menton was also the vacation destination of choice for my host family, so I really enjoyed seeing the city’s beauty after only viewing their pictures! Hopefully I will get back to Menton before leaving France.
Have you ever been to Menton or La Fête du Citron? What did you think? Would you like to go?