• 2024.06.11
  • Blog Liguria - French or Italian Menton? That is the dilemma
For some Ligurians Menton, the first French town after the unmanned border, is another country.
For other Ligurians Menton is a continuation of Liguria and should still be Ligurian.
You have read it correctly: Menton and some parts of France’s Côte d’Azur used to be Italian before their French acquisition.

Menton is a pretty seaside town just a handful of kilometers from the Ligurian Riviera. Nestled on a strip of land between Italy and the principality of Monaco, Menton enjoys a privileged microclimate that preserves the exotic gardens scattered throughout its territory and enhances the taste of its citrus fruits known throughout the world. But Menton is also a super-equipped seaside resort and a town of Art and History with a unique heritage. In short, a truly pleasant surprise.

The Marché des Halles (the covered municipal market) is a world which opened up to me. A riot of colors and flavors of the South of France inebriated my senses and I began to wander between one stall and another to discover the local specialties. The star of the market is the Menton lemon stand where you can enjoy natural or combined lemon scents with an incredible quantity of other products such as oil, sardines (with candied lemon) and focaccia to name just a few. And then again the spices, the tapenade (similar to an olive pâté) in a thousand different flavors to spread on bread and enjoy as an aperitif. And then the cheeses, the wines, but also vegetable dishes ready to take away. Among the local specialties is the socca (chickpea flour cooked in a wood oven and sister of Ligurian farinata) and the barbajuan (fried ravioli stuffed with ricotta and chard), both worth a try.

Socca is similar to chickpea farinata

View of Menton from the sea

The Menton town hall has a room which was admirably decorated by Jean Cocteau with gigantic paintings which are further testimony to his attachment to the city of Menton.
The Saint-Michel church has an ocher façade and the majestic Genoese style bell tower which has become the symbol of the city. Next to the church, another shining example of Baroque art is the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception built between 1680 and 1687. If you head to the cemetery on the hill, a bit spooky, you will be able to enjoy an extraordinary view of the city, the sea, the mountains and Italy in the distance.

Did you know that Menton is called the “garden town”?
Many of its green areas are labeled as noteworthy by the Ministry of Culture as they preserve an exceptional botanical heritage which makes Menton the green lung of the Côte d'Azur.
There are so many gardens because, at the end of the 19th century, the European aristocracy chose Menton as the ideal place where to spend the winter for its landscapes and micro-climate. Many of them were passionate about botany and began to bring back rare plants from their travels which were able to thrive in Menton thanks to a favorable climate. This is how the town came to have such a diversity of gardens.

Roquebrune Cap-Martin is a picturesque village just 300 meters above sea level a stone's throw from Menton, but getting there without a car can be a small feat.
Once you reach the village, directions easily lead to the 10th century castle that dominates the area and from which you can enjoy an exceptional panoramic view which alone is worth the entire road taken to get here. The castle is the only example existing in France of the so-called Carolingian castles, an embryo of those that will be built two centuries later and which will mark the apogee of feudalism.


  • Patrizia Margherita
  • Jobtranslator, interpreter, teacher

Although she was born in Italy, she is half Italian and half American and she has become a "multicultural person" who can speak five languages. She has lived and worked in the US, Brazil, Australia, France and the UK so she considers herself a citizen of the world. When she is not teaching or translating, she likes cooking Italian food, hiking and traveling around the world...She has traveled to 80 countries and counting!

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