Keep reading to uncover the best things to do in Menton, France.
Menton is a beautiful coastal town located on the famous French Riviera. Known for its colorful buildings, picturesque landscapes, and postcard-perfect beaches, Menton offers a variety of things to do and see for travelers of all kinds.
Menton is not just a beautiful town but also boasts a rich history, dating back to Roman times. It is one of my favorite places to visit in the South of France that should be on everyone’s itinerary. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or a taste of French Riviera elegance, here are ten of the best things to do in Menton.
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10 Best Things to Do in Menton, France
Explore the Old Town
Exploring the Old Town – also called Vieille Ville – is by far one of the best things to do in Menton to see and experience one of the most beautiful places in Europe. The narrow alleys are a winding maze of charming balconies, fresh flowers and little surprises just waiting to be admired. The buildings are all painted in pink, orange, and yellow hues with unexpected color combinations and whimsical details that are super unique and beautiful.
As you explore, discover the many local shops and boutiques hidden in the old town where you can find handmade crafts and souvenirs. You can easily spend hours getting lost in the streets and discovering all the hidden gems, beautiful buildings, and local shops.
In the evening, the Old Town has a very romantic ambiance making it one of the most romantic places in Europe ideal for couples. Exploring the old town is easily one of the best things to do in Menton for travelers of all interests.
Take a day trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer
One of the best things to do in Menton is to take a day trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer, a beautiful coastal town located along the French Riveria. To get there, hop on the short (& very scenic) train ride from Menton to Villefranche-sur-Mer, which takes approximately 20 minutes.
Once in Villefranche-sur-Mer, enjoy the charming Mediterranean atmosphere by strolling along the stunning Promenade des Marinières and admiring the colorful buildings lining the bay. Don’t miss the historic Citadel of Saint Elmo, offering panoramic views of the coastline.
One of the most popular things to do in Villefranche-sur-Mer is having a beach day soaking in the warm sun and stunning surroundings! If beach days aren’t your thing, you can spend a few hours exploring the quaint streets filled with boutiques and cafes. The Old Town is incredibly picturesque with its narrow alleys and charming squares.
A day trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer is something you do not want to miss to see and experience more of the lusted-after French Riveria.
Relax on the Beach
One of the best things to do in Menton is to relax on its beautiful beaches. Menton is renowned for its idyllic coastline, complete with crystal-clear waters and pebble shores, making it an ideal spot to unwind and soak up the Mediterranean sun.
Menton’s main beach is called Plage des Sablettes. This is the most popular and busy beach perfect for those seeking a complete beach day experience with people-watching, swimming, and stunning city views. For a more secluded experience, explore lesser-known coves like Plage du Fossan or Plage Rondelli. You can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas for added comfort at most beaches in Menton.
Whether you prefer sunbathing, swimming, or simply listening to the gentle waves, the beaches in Menton offer a perfect setting for relaxation.
Visit the Basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange
The Basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange is a must-see attraction in Menton. This vast religious structure showcases a blend of Baroque and Neoclassical architectural styles. Inside, you’ll be welcomed by the intricate frescoes, stunning artwork, and ornate details on the walls and ceilings. The basilica holds historical significance, serving as a place of worship since the 17th century.
While here, be sure to climb the bell tower for panoramic views of the town and its surroundings. The basilica offers a welcoming and inviting atmosphere for all, no matter the reason for visiting. This is one of Menton’s most prominent cultural gems and visiting is one of the top things to do in Menton.
Take a day trip to Monaco
One of the best things to do in Menton is to take a day trip to Monaco, the glamorous and luxurious city-state just a short distance away. To get there, catch a scenic train or bus from Menton for around 30 minutes and arrive in Monaco!
Once in Monaco, soak in its opulence and grandeur by visiting iconic attractions such as the Prince’s Palace, where you can witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, and the breathtaking Monaco Cathedral, where Grace Kelly is buried. Be sure to explore the famous Casino de Monte-Carlo and its surrounding gardens an iconic place you do not want to miss.
End your day with a walk along the picturesque Port Hercules, admiring luxurious yachts and savoring a delightful dinner at one of the many upscale restaurants.
Taste local cuisine
When in Menton, immerse yourself in the local cuisine and indulge in the flavors of the region. Start by trying socca, a chickpea pancake popular as a street food. Delight in farcis mentonnais, a dish of stuffed vegetables filled with a delectable meat and herb mixture. Sample barbagiuans, crispy turnovers filled with Swiss chard or spinach, rice, cheese, and herbs.
Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the famous Menton citrus fruits, known for their vibrant flavors, whether in their fresh form, as preserves, or in liqueurs. Explore the abundance of fresh seafood with dishes like bouillabaisse, grilled fish, and seafood platters.
Discovering culinary treasures is one of the top things to do in Menton.
Stroll along the Promenade du Soleil
One of the top things to do in Menton is to take a walk along the stunning Promenade du Soleil. This promenade stretches along Menton’s Mediterranean coastline, offering mesmerizing views of the sea and the town’s beautiful architecture.
As you walk along the promenade, you can admire the gardens, palm trees, and colorful flowers that line the pathway. Enjoy the sea breeze as you pass by charming cafes, boutiques, and restaurants. Take in the sights and sounds of local life and the tranquil ambiance of this idyllic location.
The Promenade du Soleil is the perfect place to unwind, snap some pictures, or simply enjoy a peaceful moment by the water.
Embark on a Day Trip to Èze
One of the best things to do in Menton is to take a day trip to Èze, one of the most beautiful places in Europe and a true hidden gem. To get there, catch a short train ride from Menton to Eze-sur-Mer, followed by taking the bus or hiking uphill to the charming village of Èze. I took a taxi from Saint Jean to Èze to avoid to busses and hike.
Once in Èze, you’ll fall in love with the village’s medieval beauty, narrow cobblestone streets, and panoramic views of the French Riviera. Visit the exotic gardens of Jardin Exotique for a mesmerizing display of succulents and captivating vistas. Explore the enchanting Èze Castle Ruins, offering a glimpse into the village’s rich history.
Èze is also known for its artistic heritage, so take the time to visit the numerous art galleries and boutiques showcasing local crafts and artwork. A day trip to Eze promises an unforgettable experience of history, nature, and culture.
Take a Boat Trip Along the Coast
Embarking on a boat trip along the coast of Menton is an incredible way to experience the beauty of the French Riviera. Cruise along the Mediterranean Sea and admire the stunning coastal scenery. Discover hidden coves and secluded beaches that are only accessible by boat to see and experience a more undiscovered part of the region.
If you are visiting in the summer season you can go snorkeling or diving to enjoy the waters and explore the marine life. Keep an eye out for dolphins and other marine wildlife that may make an appearance.
Some boat trips may also include stops at nearby coastal towns, allowing you to explore more of the French Riviera’s charm. For a truly magical experience, opt for a sunset cruise and watch as the sun sets over the sea, casting a warm and golden glow.
Attend the Lemon Festival (Fête du Citron)
The Lemon Festival, or Fête du Citron, is a unique event that takes place annually in Menton. Attending this festival promises a colorful experience complete with citrus-themed sculptures made entirely of lemons and oranges. These intricately designed works of art showcase the creativity and skill of the organizers.
Join the parade of floats made out of citrus fruits, as they make their way through the streets of Menton, accompanied by lively music and street performances. The festival also features nighttime illuminations, where the sculptures and floats are beautifully lit up, creating a magical ambiance. Immerse yourself in the joyful atmosphere, filled with the scent of citrus and the sounds of celebration.
Where to Stay in Menton
Menton offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. For a luxurious stay, consider booking a hotel along the Promenade du Soleil, offering stunning sea views and convenient access to the beach.
Alternatively, the Old Town area is known for its charming atmosphere and historic buildings, with boutique hotels and guesthouses available. If you prefer a quieter location, look for accommodations further inland, where you can enjoy a peaceful setting and potentially more affordable prices.Booking.com
When to Visit Menton
The best time to visit Menton is during the spring and autumn months, from April to June and September to October. During these periods, the weather is mild, with temperatures ranging from around 17°C to 25°C (63°F to 77°F). The days are mostly sunny, making it perfect for exploring the town and its outdoor attractions comfortably.
Spring brings the blooming of the famous Menton Lemon Festival (Fête du Citron). Autumn also offers a pleasant experience with fewer tourists, allowing you to enjoy the town’s beauty and attractions more peacefully.
Avoid visiting Menton during the peak summer months (July and August) if you’re not a fan of intense heat. Temperatures can reach over 30°C (86°F), and the town can get crowded with vacationers.
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