Menton, nicknamed the Pearl of France

Menton (fr. Menton) is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region on the French Riviera, close to the Italian border, about 30 km from Nice city.

Tourism and attractions

Menton is classified as a City of Art and History.

Civil monuments

  • The Bastion located on the port of Menton was built at sea by the princes of Monaco, then as an advanced defense of the port in 1636. Today, it hosts one of the two museums in Menton dedicated to Jean Cocteau. A bust representing him is installed there, acquired by the municipality (the work of the sculptor Cyril de La Patellière, 1989). To be compared with the existing one, by the same author, in Villefranche-sur-Mer.
  • Town Hall: the wedding hall was decorated in the 1950s by Jean Cocteau, which turned it into a gigantic work of art.Barbara Hendricks, honorary citizen of the city, got married there.
  • The Palace of Europe, built in 1909 by architect Hans-Georg Tersling, is the city’s former casino. With its imposing facade, it is one of the main buildings in the city center.
  • The covered market, built in 1898 by Adrien Rey, is remarkable for its polychromy of bricks and ceramics ordered from the Menton manufacturer Saïssi.
  • The Riviera is a former hotel with 300 rooms built in 1898 by Abel Gléna and Alfred Auguste Marsang54. The eclectic-style building and its monumental design represent the typical architecture of a Belle Époque palace.
  • The Tempe villa in Pailla, designed by the Irish architect Eileen Gray and built from 1932. Still visible at 187 route de Castellar, it has been listed as a historic monument since 1990.
  • The Prince of Wales hotel built in 1865 for the care of Prince of Wales Albert Edward of Saxe-Cobourg-Gotha to ensure his protection during his winter stayings in Menton.
  • The Jean-Cocteau Museum – Séverin Wunderman Collection, inaugurated in November 2011, is a creation by architect Rudy Ricciotti.
  • The Hôtel Adhémar de Lantagnac.
  • The Hotel Pretti.
  • The Glena Building, an example of the houses built at the beginning of the 20th century on the Riviéra with its painted frieze.
  • The house in rue Loredan-Larchey, an example of houses built at the beginning of the 20th century on the Riviéra with its sgraffito frieze under the eaves.
  • The house built for Antoine Anfossi and his wife Thérèse Gibelli.

Religious buildings

  • The site of the Saint-Michel-Archange basilica, Place de la Conception, is a jewel of Baroque art in the Menton region. Built in 1619, it is the work of the Genoese Lorenzo Lavagna. The facade of the square as well as the 2 bell towers were repainted in 1975 with paintings resembling those “of the time”.
  • Monastery of the Annonciade, corniche André Tardieu sixteenth century, enlarged 19th century with chapel 18th century.
  • Church of the Sacred Heart, avenue Edouard VII, built in 1910 in Romanesque style.
  • Chapel of Mercy of the Black Penitents, promenade du Val de Menton, former 17th century Capuchin convent.
  • Chapel of the Immaculate Conception or Chapel of the White Penitents, Place de la Conception, built between 1680 and 1687, in Baroque style.
  • Chapel of the Madonna of Carnolès, 5 rue Paul Morillot, rebuilt 14th-15th century
  • Chapel Saint-Christophe, avenue Pigautier, built in 1874 in a neo-Gothic style.
  • 15th century Saint-Roch chapel, 23 place Saint-Roch. The first procession known as the vow of Saint-Roch took place in 1731 during an epidemic of smallpox.
  • Sainte-Jeanne d’Arc Chapel, 114 promenade du Val de Carei.
  • Chapel of Our Lady of Fatima, avenue des Acacias.
  • Chapel of the Museum of Fine Arts of the Palais Carnolès, corner avenue Madone, avenue Florette.
  • Chapel house of the Virgin, 24 rue des sœurs Munet.

Museums

The city whose motto placed at the entrance of the town hall is Artium Civitas – City of the Arts – has several museums and galleries:

  • Jean-Cocteau Museum – Séverin Wunderman Collection.
  • Bastion Museum, fitted out at the request of Jean Cocteau to receive his works.
  • Wedding hall of the Town Hall decorated by Jean Cocteau in 1957.
  • Museum of Fine Arts, installed in the Palais Carnolès since 1961, the former summer residence of the princes of Monaco. Since 1994, contemporary statues and sculptures have been exhibited in the gardens.
  • Museum of regional prehistory made up from the results of research undertaken around Menton. The museum has an arts, folk traditions and local history section.
  • Contemporary art gallery at the Palais de l’Europe.

Beaches 

Hawaii, the first beach in France when you arrive from Italy. Small, it is often exposed to swells, and many can have fun in its waves.

Rondelli, first sandy beach, near the supermarket in the Garavan district.

Les Sablettes, which before 1969 was a very small sandy beach, artificially enlarged between 1968 and 1969. Protected from swells and easterly winds by three dikes, since then they have gathered crowds of tourists at the foot of old Menton.

Market (or Bastion), near the old halls and the new Jean-Cocteau museum.

Casino, just behind the Menton casino.

Borrigo beach.

Gastronomy and restaurants

  • The famous lemon of Menton, celebrated each year with the lemon festival.
  • Barbajuans (also known as a Monegasque specialty).
  • Socca and farcis (also known as Monegasque and Nice specialties).
  • The mentonnaise fougasse.
  • The pichade.
  • Homemade jams Herbin.

Shopping

The city’s largest shopping center is Galeries Lafayette offering the most famous brandss. Tourists have access to a large Dior showroom, Lacoste and Chanel stores. The biggest discounts usually take place in July and January.

Transport and how to get to?

Roads

City served:

by the RD 6098 in the Alpes-Maritimes;
by the A8 motorway, exit 59 Menton, Sospel.

Distances:

From Paris (tolls) – 9 h 22 min (967 km), via A6 and A7

From Nice (tolls) – 41 min (29.8 km), via A8

From Marseille (tolls) – 2 h 37 min (237 km), via A8

Public transport

Bus network line 100 TAM from Menton to Nice via Monaco for the sum of 1.5 euros each way.

Railway

Daily connection from and to Paris by direct TGV.

Carnolès train station on the territory of the municipality of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, just at the western entrance to Menton and a few hundred meters from the seaside.

Air transport

Monaco heliport
Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport

Ports

Ports of Menton: Old port and port of Menton Garavan,
Port Lympia (port of Nice),
Port Hercule (Port of Monaco).

Shortest distance by car:

From Monaco: 27 min (9.6 km) via D6007

From Beaulieu-sur-Mer: 41 min (21.2 km) via M6098 and D6007

From Villefranche-sur-Mer: 46 min (25.6 km) via M6007 and D6007

From Nice (tolls): 36 min (29.9 km) via A8

From Cagnes-sur-Mer (tolls): 45 min (44.3 km) via A8

From Antibes (tolls): 1 h (53.5 km) via A8

From Cannes (tolls): 1 h 9 min (64.1 km) via A8

From Mandelieu-La Napoule (tolls): 57 min (67.6 km) via A8

From Fréjus (tolls): 1 h 17 min (95.3 km) via A8

From Saint-Raphaël (tolls): 1 h 23 min (98.0 km) via A8

From Sainte-Maxime (tolls): 1 h 41 min (129 km) via A8

From Saint-Tropez (tolls): 2 h 2 min (143 km) via A8

From Cavalaire-sur-Mer (tolls): 2 h 11 min (149 km) via A8

From Toulon (tolls): 2 h 2 min (180 km) via A57 and A8

From Aix-en-Provence (tolls): 2 h 20 min (206 km) via A8

From Nîmes (tolls): 3 h 21 min (311 km) via A8

From Marseille (tolls): 2 h 35 min (229 km) via A8

From Avignon (tolls): 3 h 1 min (291 km) via A8

From Montpellier (tolls): 3 h 45 min (357 km) via A8

From Sète (tolls): 3 h 54 min (385 km) via A8

From Agde (tolls): 4 h 8 min (410 km) via A8

From Pézenas (tolls): 4 h 10 min (412 km) via A8

From Béziers (tolls): 4 h 18 min (421 km) via A8

From Perpignan (tolls): 4 h 55 min (505 km) via A9 and A8

From Argelès-sur-Mer (tolls): 5 h 16 min (532 km) via A9 and A8

From Collioure (tolls): 5 h 21 min (540 km) via A9 and A8

From Narbonne (tolls): 4 h 27 min (445 km) via A9 and A8

From La Baule-Escoublac (tolls): 11 h 40 min (1,249 km) via A7

From Saint-Nazaire (tolls): 11 h 36 min (1,235 km) via A7

From Nantes (tolls): 10 h 54 min (1,174 km) via A62

From Saumur (tolls): 9 h 49 min (1,044 km) via A7

From Les Sables-d’Olonne (tolls): 10 h 54 min (1,162 km) via A62

From Cognac (tolls): 7 h 5 min (744 km) via A8

From Angoulême (tolls): 9 h 9 min (947 km) via A62

From Eauze (tolls): 7 h 22 min (721 km) via A8

From La Rochelle (tolls): 9 h 40 min (1,011 km) via A62

From Rochefort (tolls): 9 h 16 min (983 km) via A62

From Saintes (tolls): 8 h 57 min (947 km) via A62

From Arcachon (tolls): 8 h 29 min (885 km) via A62

From Royan (tolls): 9 h 23 min (951 km) via A62

From Biarritz (tolls): 8 h 30 min (893 km) via A64

From Saint-Jean-de-Luz (tolls): 8 h 33 min (899 km) via A64

From Bayonne (tolls): 8 h 20 min (881 km) via A64

From Dax (tolls): 8 h 21 min (860 km) via A64 and A8

From Lourdes (tolls): 7 h 20 min (759 km) via A8

From Pau (tolls): 7 h 34 min (777 km) via A8

From Périgueux (tolls): 8 h 19 min (867 km) via A8

From Bordeaux (tolls): 7 h 57 min (833 km) via A62 and A8

From Toulouse (tolls): 5 h 48 min (592 km) via A8

From Carcassonne (tolls): 4 h 56 min (501 km) via A9 and A8

From Andorra (tolls): 7 h 36 min (681 km) via A8

Main information

Area: 14 sq. km

Population: 29 100

Languages: French

Currency: euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

Coordinates: 43°46′30″N 7°30′00″E

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