11 Fun Things to do in Menton | The Ultimate Travel Guide

Last Updated on June 17, 2024 by April Nicole

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Located along the sparkling Côte d’Azur, Menton, a hidden gem often overshadowed by its glitzy neighbors like Nice and Monaco, offers a blend of French and Italian influences, making it a unique destination on the French Riviera.

Known for its vibrant lemon groves, stunning gardens, and a rich tapestry of historical and cultural attractions, Menton is a treasure trove waiting to be explored.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor eager to uncover its secrets or a seasoned traveler returning for more, this friendly town has surprises at every turn.

From wandering through the maze of streets in the old town to indulging in the fresh Mediterranean fare, Menton promises an experience unlike any other.

As someone who has wandered its charming alleys and breathed in the tangy sea air, I invite you to join me on this journey to discover why Menton is not just worth visiting, but a must-see on your travel list.

🇫🇷Menton Travel Tips:

Not enough time? My top picks for Menton are as follows:

🚅 Transportation:


📍Best Menton Tours:

If you are in a hurry, here’s a summary of what to do in Menton for a day:

Is Menton Worth Visiting?

Absolutely, with things to see in Menton , it’s a gem worth visiting. Its unique position on the French Riviera, nestled near the Italian border, gives it an enchanting blend of French elegance and Italian charm.

Unlike some of its more crowded neighbors, Menton offers a serene and authentic experience. The town is adorned with beautiful gardens, historical architecture, and stunning sea views.

Unique Things to Do in Menton

Discover Menton’s unique charm through its lemon festival, serene gardens, Baroque architecture, and vibrant markets, offering a distinctive slice of the Riviera’s beauty and culture.

Exploring Menton Old Town

Things to do in Menton: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Menton’s Old Town, or ‘Vieille Ville‘, is a delightful maze of narrow lanes and steep staircases, all leading to the breathtaking Basilique Saint-Michel-Archange.

As I wandered these streets, I was struck by the Italianate architecture, a nod to the town’s history as part of the Republic of Genoa.

Every corner turned revealed a new surprise: quaint shops, vibrant murals, and locals enjoying their daily espresso.

The view from the cemetery, overlooking the Old Town and the sea, is particularly mesmerizing and offers the perfect spot for a reflective moment.

Basilique Saint-Michel-Archange

Things to do in Menton: The photo captures the striking architecture of a baroque-style church with ornate yellow and white towers reaching into the clear blue sky, juxtaposed against the warm tones of surrounding Mediterranean buildings and staircases.

Dominating the Menton skyline is the majestic Basilique Saint Michel Archange, a testament to baroque architecture’s grandeur.

My visit there was like stepping back in time. The church’s opulent facade and richly decorated interior, with its intricate frescoes and altarpieces, left me in awe.

The basilica, perched on a hill, offers breathtaking views of the sea and the old town.

Its historical significance, dating back to the 17th century, provides a profound glimpse into Menton’s past and its religious heritage, making it a must-see for any visitor interested in history and architecture.

Walking Along Promenade du Soleil

Things to do in Menton: The photo showcases a picturesque esplanade with a solitary bench, leading the eye towards a cluster of colorful buildings and a prominent church tower, all under the radiant Mediterranean sun, exemplifying the charm of a coastal European town.

Strolling along the Promenade du Soleil is a quintessential Menton experience.

This picturesque seafront walkway, lined with palm trees, offers stunning Mediterranean views, perfect for leisurely strolls or peaceful morning jogs.

Along the way, visitors can admire various artworks, including sculptures, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of cafés and restaurants.

Jean Cocteau Museum

This image depicts a sunny, urban promenade where people relax on benches, with a unique modern building featuring wavy, abstract-shaped openings in the background, complemented by tall palm trees against a clear blue sky.

A short walk from the basilica led me to the Jean Cocteau Museum.

Dedicated to the multi-talented artist, this museum showcases an extensive collection of Cocteau’s work, from ceramics and tapestries to sketches and films.

The modern, sea-facing building contrasts with the old town’s traditional architecture, symbolizing Cocteau’s innovative spirit.

I found the museum not just a tribute to Cocteau but also a reflection of Menton’s cultural depth.

The museum is a significant stop for art enthusiasts and those tracing the footprints of great artists on the French Riviera.

Hiking Near the Italian Border

A panoramic view from a mountain path reveals a verdant landscape that descends to a coastal town, with the azure blue sea meeting the horizon under a bright sky, showcasing the natural beauty of the Mediterranean region.

For those who love combining nature with adventure, the trails around Menton offer an exciting opportunity.

A particularly remarkable trail is the “Balcony of the Mediterranean” hike.

This trail, starting from the heart of Menton, leads hikers through a series of picturesque paths that offer stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding hills.

As you ascend, the trail takes you closer to the Italian border, allowing you to experience the unique blend of French and Italian landscapes.

The path, well-marked and suitable for hikers of moderate experience, meanders through olive groves and traditional Mediterranean vegetation.

Reaching the peak, hikers are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views that span across the coastline, capturing the essence of the Riviera’s beauty.

Vieux Château Cemetery

Things to do in Menton: This image shows a serene hilltop cemetery overlooking a coastal town with lush green mountains in the background. A prominent stone cross in the foreground symbolizes peace and eternity, with the Mediterranean Sea gently stretching into the horizon.

One of Menton’s most unexpected yet profound attractions is the Cemetery of the Old Château.

Situated on a hill overlooking the city, it offers a serene environment and stunning panoramic views.

The cemetery is known for being the final resting place of notable figures, including William Webb Ellis, the inventor of rugby.

Walking among the ancient tombstones, I felt a sense of peace and reflection, making it a unique and contemplative experience distinct from the usual tourist trail.

These historical and cultural landmarks enrich the Menton travel guide, showcasing the town’s layered history and artistic legacy.

Each site offers a different perspective on Menton, from its artistic contributions to its architectural marvels, forming an integral part of what makes Menton, nestled on the Côte d’Azur, so special.

Culinary Delights of Menton

Menton’s culinary scene is a delightful fusion of French and Italian influences, offering an array of tastes that are as vibrant as the town itself.

Marché des Halles

A bustling outdoor market under white canopies in front of the vibrant yellow Marché des Halles building in Menton, France, offering an array of plants and flowers, with locals and tourists strolling around, enjoying one of the popular things to do in Menton.

At the heart of Menton’s gastronomy is the Marché des Halles.

This bustling market, with its array of fresh produce, captures the essence of Mediterranean cuisine.

I remember being greeted by the lively chatter of locals and the enticing aromas of fresh herbs and ripe fruits.

Strolling through the market, you can find everything from artisanal cheeses to hand-picked olives.

It’s not just a place to shop; it’s an experience that immerses you in the local culture.

My personal favorite find was a stall selling homemade lemon marmalade, a nod to Menton’s citrus heritage.

Where to Eat in Menton

When it comes to dining in Menton, the options are as diverse and inviting as the town itself. Here are three restaurants I personally recommend:

  1. Le Mirazur: For an exquisite culinary experience, Le Mirazur is a must-visit. Led by the renowned Chef Mauro Colagreco, this Michelin-starred restaurant offers a menu inspired by the sea, the mountains, and the restaurant’s own gardens.
  2. La Maison Martin et Fils: This charming eatery in the heart of the old town offers a more traditional experience. Their menu features classic French and Italian dishes, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
  3. Le Petit Port: For those seeking a casual dining experience with a view, Le Petit Port is a fantastic choice. Located near the old port, this bistro serves a range of Mediterranean dishes, especially known for its fresh seafood and pasta. Dining here as the sun sets over the Mediterranean is an experience in itself.

Menton’s Beaches and Festivals

Things to do in Menton: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Plage des Sablettes is more than just a beach; it’s a picturesque retreat that perfectly captures the essence of Menton.

As a beach lover, I found myself drawn to its golden sands and crystal-clear waters, which provided a refreshing escape from the bustling city life.

But what truly sets Plage des Sablettes apart are the incredible photo opportunities it offers.

Framed by the stunning backdrop of Menton’s old town, this beach is one of the prime Menton photo spots and best Menton instagram spots, offering countless opportunities to capture the enchanting Mediterranean light and the vibrant hues of the town.

The beach itself is well-equipped, making it ideal for a day of relaxation or a family outing.

Whether you’re lounging on the sand, swimming in the serene waters, or strolling along the promenade, the views are spectacular at every turn.

As an added bonus, the proximity to the old town means you’re just a short walk away from exploring more picturesque scenes and hidden gems of Menton.

Menton Lemon Festival

Things to do in Menton: A vibrant parade float featuring a large, orange dragon and musicians, all adorned with citrus fruits, entertains a crowd along the seaside promenade under a clear blue sky, capturing the festive spirit of a traditional fruit festival.

The Menton lemon festival (Fête du Citron) is a unique event that truly encapsulates the spirit of Menton.

Celebrated annually, this vibrant festival is dedicated to the lemon, a fruit that has become synonymous with the town.

I was amazed by the elaborate citrus sculptures and the lively parades.

The festival is not just a visual spectacle; it’s a community celebration, with concerts, shows, and a crafts market.

Attending the Fête du Citron is a must for anyone visiting Menton, offering a glimpse into the town’s culture and the creativity of its people.

Discovering Menton’s Gardens

Lemon Gardens: A Citrusy Paradise

Things to do in Menton: A pergola with budding vines lines a tranquil garden path, flanked by vibrant yellow flowers and lush greenery, leading towards a serene sitting area under the warm daylight.

Menton is renowned for its lemons, and a visit to one of the many Menton gardens, like the Jardin du Palais de Carnolès, is a sensory delight.

Strolling through rows of lemon trees, laden with fruit, was like walking in a citrus-scented dream.

The gardens also host sculptures and art, making it one of the best free things to do in Menton.

Jardins Biovès

Located in the heart of Menton, Jardins Biovès isn’t just a garden; it’s a symphony of colors and fragrances.

The first time I wandered through these intricate pathways, I was struck by the sheer variety of flora.

From exotic species to meticulously trimmed hedges, every corner of this garden is a feast for the senses.

The best time to visit is during the Fête du Citron, when the garden transforms into a vibrant exhibition of citrus-themed sculptures.

It’s a unique experience that perfectly captures the essence of Menton, blending art with nature.

Val Rahmeh-Menton Botanical Garden

A short stroll from the hustle and bustle of the city leads you to the Val Rahmeh-Menton Botanical Garden.

This garden is a haven of tranquility, where the sound of rustling leaves and chirping birds replaces the noise of the city.

It houses an astonishing collection of tropical and subtropical plants. I remember being mesmerized by the palm trees and exotic flowers, which transported me to a tropical paradise.

The garden’s history, dating back to the 1900s, adds to its allure, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in botany or just looking for a peaceful retreat.

Best Day Trips from Menton France

things to do in menton: A picturesque mountain village nestled on a hillside, with dense green forests in the foreground and rugged mountain peaks in the background under a clear blue sky.

Menton’s location on the French Riviera makes it an ideal base for exploring nearby attractions. If you have at least 2 days in Menton, here are three beautiful day trips worth considering:

Monte Carlo: Just a short train ride from Menton, Monte Carlo in Monaco is famous for its luxurious casinos, stunning harbors, and the annual Grand Prix.

Èze: A picturesque medieval village located on a hilltop, Èze is known for its breathtaking views of the Mediterranean and charming cobblestone streets.

Ventimiglia: Across the Italian border, Ventimiglia offers a blend of Italian culture and Riviera charm. It’s known for its vibrant markets, beautiful beaches, and historical sites, including the Roman Theatre and the Cathedral of the Assumption.

Getting to Menton, France

Menton’s allure is matched by its accessibility, offering various convenient travel options for visitors from around the globe. Here’s how you can get to this charming town:

  • By Plane: The nearest airport to Menton is the Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, located about 30 km away. It’s well-served by international and domestic flights, making it a convenient gateway to Menton. 👉 Uncover last-minute flight and airline deals with Skyscanner
  • By Car: The town is easily accessible via the A8 motorway, which runs along the Côte d’Azur. Driving from Nice takes about 30 minutes, while a trip from Marseille can take around 2 hours and 30 minutes. 👉 Take a look at Discover Cars and AutoEurope, two aggregators that allow you to compare prices and book.
  • By Train: Menton is well-connected by train, with services from various French cities, including Nice, Paris, and Marseille. The town has two main train stations – Menton and Menton Garavan. 👉 Easily book your train tickets here
  • By Bus: For budget travelers, buses are a cost-effective option. Bus line 100, operated by Lignes d’Azur, offers regular services connecting Menton with Nice.

Getting Around Menton

Once you’ve arrived in Menton, getting around to explore its beauty is easy and convenient. Whether you prefer to walk, drive, or use public transport, Menton offers various options to suit your travel style.

  • On Foot: Menton’s charm is best experienced on foot, especially in the old town with its narrow, winding streets. Most of the main attractions, including the beaches, gardens, and museums, are within walking distance of each other, making it an ideal town for leisurely strolls.
  • By Car: For those who prefer driving, renting a car is a viable option. It gives you the flexibility to explore Menton and its surrounding areas at your own pace. Parking can be found throughout the town, including paid parking lots and street parking.
  • Public Transportation: Menton is well-serviced by public transport, with a network of buses that connect the main areas of the town and its suburbs. Buses are a cost-effective way to travel, especially for longer distances that might be too far to walk.
  • Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Taxis are readily available in Menton and are a convenient, albeit more expensive, way to get around.

Where to Stay in Menton: Accommodations for Every Budget

Menton offers a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets. Here are my top picks:

  • Budget-Friendly: Hotel Lemon
    Hotel Lemon is a great option for those on a budget. It’s affordable, comfortable, and conveniently located close to both the beach and town center. Ideal for travelers who want value without sacrificing comfort. ⭐️ Book your stay at Hotel Lemon.
  • Mid-Range: Hôtel Napoleon
    For a balance of comfort and affordability, choose Hôtel Napoleon. This hotel offers modern rooms with sea or mountain views, plus amenities like a pool and garden terrace. It’s perfect for those seeking a bit more luxury at a reasonable price. ⭐️ Reserve your room at Hôtel Napoleon.
  • Luxury: Hôtel Riva Art & Spa
    Experience luxury at Hôtel Riva Art & Spa, offering top-notch amenities, including a spa and rooms with private terraces overlooking the Mediterranean. It’s the ultimate indulgence for a memorable stay in Menton. ⭐️ Book your luxury experience at Hôtel Riva Art & Spa.

➡️ Click here for a full list of Menton hotels!

Final Thoughts on What to Do in Menton For a Day

When pondering what to do in Menton France, you’ll find an array of delightful options.

This enchanting town, nestled on the French Riviera, offers a unique blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and culinary excellence.

Whether you’re strolling through its vibrant gardens, soaking up the sun on its serene beaches, or exploring the quaint old town, each experience in Menton is a journey in itself.

For those planning a visit, remember that to visit Menton is to step into a world of timeless charm and captivating beauty, making it a must-see destination on any travel itinerary.

Have you ever visited the charming town of Menton on the French Riviera? Drop a comment below to share your favorite Menton tourist attractions, hidden gems, or any travel advice you have.

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Accommodation 🛌

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These are only a few of my favorites; for more, see my comprehensive guide to the top travel booking websites for France.

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