Fun things to do as a tourist for a day in Menton. Menton is a sweet little town on the Cote d’Azur sitting right on the Italian border. Set in a perfect little micro climate with the beautiful blue sea and gorgeous beach with the stunning backdrop of the hills behind.
8 Things to Do in Menton:
- Hire a an Electric bike, segway or just walk and explore the Promenade du Soleil
- Explore the Old Town
- Visit The Port and hire a boat, Paddle Board or Canoe.
- Visit the Jean Cocteau Museum
- Climb up to Basilique St Michel Archange
- Relax on the beach under a Parasol
- Shop in the Market and buy Provencal Treats including Lemon products
- Lunch in one of the many restaurants
PHOTO: Old Town in Menton
The Promenade du soleil stretches from the 17 century Bastion right the way along to Cap Martin. The Bastion is pictured below:
PHOTO: The Bastion, Menton
I recommend joining the scores of super fit french people who walk, jog and cycle along the Prom! Personally, I think it is fun to hire a segway or an electric bike in the town. See if you make it as far as our favourite Ice Cream shop along the sea front just over the Roquebrune border. You will see the giant Ice cream cone and brightly decorated umbrellas.
Head in the other direction from The Bastion and you come to the port. This is undergoing a dramatic transformation and promises to be a really super pedestrianised area with lots of little cafes and restaurants.
PHOTO: Menton Port with Garavan behind, Menton
This is where you can hire a boat to take you out to sea for an hour or a day. Also, hire paddle boards, Kayaks and windsurfers in summer.
PHOTO: Menton Port with Italy in the far distance
The boats and yachts are not quite as big and glamorous as on the rest of the French Riviera, but it is a pretty Port nonetheless. There is a beach too, which is packed in summer.
PHOTO: Newly renovated Port area in Menton
Joy of joys, there is also a new, large underground car park! Clean and modern with sensible size spaces and access, park here.
PHOTO: Menton Port, Menton
A little bit of History:
Did you know that Menton and Roquebrune were part of Monaco for 6 centuries, until 1848? Menton enjoys a micro climate and this made it popular with the British and Russian aristocrats during the 19th Century. Se if you can spot the statue of Queen Victoria. She loved Menton and visited the town.
Menton was captured by the Italians during the second world war. However, it was officially returned to Vichy France in 1943. Menton was occupied until the liberation in 1944.
The Old Town
Across the road from here you will see the magnificent old Town.
The Old Town Menton
Walk up the steps until you reach the Church of St Michel. See my photo above, it is being renovated right now but you can still visit inside the Church. The inside is spectacular with a very special ambiance.
PHOTO: Church of St Michel undergoing renovations
The walk is worthwhile for the spectacular views and adorable little houses. See below:
PHOTO: View from St Michel steps
The Old town is picture perfect and well worth a visit, even if just to take some photos!
PHOTO: Old Town in Menton
There is a wonderful array of little shops to explore, enough to keep this shopaholic happy anyway! I do believe there are so many restaurants here that you could choose a different one every day for an entire summer.
PHOTO: Shops in Menton Old Town
Discover the brilliant Food Market right on the sea front. The building is spectacular. I find it a little bit expensive and drive over the border to Ventimiglia to do my food shopping. However, make sure you take a look at the lovely building.
PHOTO: Menton Market, Menton
Buy all your provencal goodies and don’t forget to try the Limoncello! Covered Market opening times 6 am to 1pm everyday in summer months.
Menton Old Town
The beach front stretches for miles right to Cap Martin and is never too crowded. This beach picture was taken in August. Top Tip: The Ice cream is fabulous thanks to the large Italian population.
PHOTO: Menton Beach
There are dog friendly areas of the beach. The beaches are supervised by Lifeguards and are very safe and clean. Little cafes and restaurants are to be found all along the Promenade facing the beach. Also visit the Jean Cocteau Museum.
PHOTO: Jean Cocteau Museum
2 Quai de Minion, 06500 Menton The Museum is dedicated to French artist Jean Cocteau and includes the collection of Severin Wunderman.
PHOTO: View of Menton from Cap Martin
Menton does not attract that many foreign tourists and it is mainly French tourists who stay here and, of course, this is where french pensioners like to retire. This means that it has a feel of a french town, which is lovely and so different from tourist hotspots such as Nice.
Hire a bike or Segway from Frank at http://www.greenlines.fr He speaks english and is a very patient teacher for newbie Segway riders. It is easy and a fun way to explore the seafront and only costs a few euros.
Despite all of these delights, I must admit that I generally just drive through Menton on our way to Italy and tend to visit Monaco, Beaulieu and towns further East. instead of driving 10 minutes to Menton! The reason for this is Menton is the town in where many french pensioners decide to retire. The average age of the population must be 75 at a guess! However I must visit more often, we enjoyed a fun day and it is lovely in Summer when there are more people around.
Definitely take a Trip to Menton if you are visiting the Cote d’Azur. You can even drive a few minutes further and visit Italy while you are there.
Where to Eat in Menton:
PHOTO: Restaurants in Old Town Menton
You will find countless restaurants here. Choose from Fish restaurants, Italian cuisine, little family run french restaurants. Most have a Formule and this represents great value. Enjoy a 3 course lunch for 16 euros!
PHOTOS: Restaurants in Menton
Restaurants: Splurge – Menton has 1 of the top 50 in the world restaurants. I’ve never tried it so can’t personally recommend. Let me know if you like it! http://www.mirazur.fr
Good value: Cote Sud http://www.cotesudmenton.com This restaurant is always packed which is a good guide to whether a place is any good or not! Mr Diva and I eat here from time to time and always enjoy delicious food with the most delightful staff.
How to get to Menton:
- Hire a car. My favourite way to explore, always!
- Train – The trains run all along the Coted’Azur. Buy a ticket on the platforms and they run every half an hour
- Bus – Again the buses run regularly along the Cote d’azur seafront all the way from Nice to Menton. If you are coming from Nice, the train is much quicker.
Casino: http://www.lucienbarriere.com There is even a Casino in Menton. I don’t like gambling but if you do, take a look at the website. Don’t go mad though!
Market: Open daily
Lemon Festival: http://www.fete-du-citron.com
Fly to Nice, the nearest airport to Menton
Tourist info: http://www.tourisme-menton.fr
Menton is only about 15 minutes drive from Monaco. The trains and buses run from Monaco to Menton. Maybe combine a visit to both? Here is my Monaco what to do blog:
More blogs about the Cote d’Azur: