lemons, sunshine and lemonade

Menton is a seaside town on the other side of Monaco … about 40 min train journey from Nice.

Every year on the same time as Nice holds it’s yearly Carnaval de Nice during the last 2 weeks in February Menton holds their Fête du Citron.  This year they held their 87e festival, that was cancelled the last 3 days due to the COVID-19 virus.

The “Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival), a unique event in the world, attracts more than 200,000 visitors every year.


For more than 15 days, come and enjoy the zest-flavoured of Golden parades and Night-time parades (parades of citrus floats and animated by groups), admire the Exhibition of citrus pattern displays in the Biovès garden (by day and/or night with the Gardens of lights).

We only visited the Exhibition and what a fantastic experience that became – we didn’t know about the Festival of Orchids that was held in Palais de l’Europe next to the Biovès garden … something for next time.

The Biovès garden is only a few minutes strolls from the railway station. Impossible to miss!! 

We should have taken a train after lunch, but the sun was far too strong …. and Oscar didn’t like it at all, but he still delivered. So for the next time, I know better. It was a beautiful day and the temperature was perfect, around +18C – neither was it too busy.

The sculptures are high as a 4 storage building … and the flowers were so carefully chosen for every display. This year every sculpture was a celebration of world festivals: the German October Festival and St. Patrick’s Day was some fo them.  Just magical.

In 1875, hoteliers proposed to the municipality to create a carnival parade to enliven the city in winter. As early as 1876, the carnival seemed to be successful with the inhabitants of the city and the winter visitors: kings, princes and artists that frequently visited the villas and palaces of Menton or have villas they built in and around Menton.

It was so pleasant to walk around and enjoy all the work that has gone into building those displays and all the flowers. Just the right amount of visitors – there were benches to sit on … and lemonade (excellent) to drink. There was also stands that sold really nice items related to lemons.

Citrus fruits are fixed on boxwood garlands structured on wire cages. At the end of the event, the fruits, 90% of which are in good condition, are sold at low prices.

We walked around for about 3 hours and then it was high time for some lunch … the ticket cost us 12€ each, but it means only one entry … I bought ours online on their website.

We took a short walk down to the seafront and found a really nice restaurant that served moules, Le Paris Palace. We didn’t see much of the sea because the view was blocked with spectator stands for the parade … but we had loads of sun on our back. Our first al fresco dining for 2020. I enjoy a Goat Cheese salad together with a glass of nice chilled white wine … while Anna Liisa was working her way through a big bowl of mussel with french fries.

After lunch, we walked along the seafront – that most parts were covered by the stands … we found a little bar for our coffee .. before returning to the station and the return to Nice.

The train journey is very scenery – expect in Monaco where the new station is built under the city, all you see is just a dark station, but I manage to get to capture Monte Carlo just before we entered the station.

We were back in Nice just after 4pm … and that evening we enjoyed Mc Donald’s Signature meal … just a block from our hotel.

“When life gives you lemons, take it. Don’t waste food”
Giselle Marquez

12 thoughts on “lemons, sunshine and lemonade

  1. What an amazing spectacle and creative use of lemons, Vivi! I have a friend who is constantly trying to use up all her lemons and I have a very small tree on my patio (just one lemon, so far! 🙂 ). We’ll have to get something goin!

  2. Menton looks and sounds amazing! We visited Nice last year and wanted to explore every single town and village along the coast, Menton including, but simply run out of time. You can easily spend weeks there and still not see everything. Thanks for sharing, your photos are so beautifully colourful. Aiva 😊

    • Aiva, thank you so much for the visit and for taking time to comment. Yes, the French Rivera is a lot more then sunshine and sea. All the medieval villages up in the mountains. I wish I could stay 14 days instead for a week, but that would blow my yearly travel budget.

  3. I am staggered at all the work that goes into those displays. Absolutely incredible, must take hours. Spent time in the South of France but didn’t know about the Fete de Citron. In Monte Carlo I learned to eat radishes with butter, French butter of course. Delicious. We went into the Casino for a look round but didn’t play. Too pricey.

    • Yes, that is what amazes me … and also the carnival carts in Nice … all the costumes, the carts and the organization behind it .. with security. Massive amount of job. Maybe the lemon festival wasn’t on when you visited the Côte d’Azur. I don’t think there is many of us that can afford to play in the Casino de Monte-Carlo. I have also done a walk around a couple of time. *smile I have also ate radishes with butter, but in Beaune. As you say absolutely delicious.

  4. 🙂 Dear Wivi,
    thanks for sharing all the beautiful pictures! It’s been ages since I’ve visited Menton. The Citrus festival sounds fascinating and is something I wouldn’t mind visiting myself.
    Looking forward to seeing you in June!
    Many hugs xo 🙂

    • Dia, you know … I’m always up for going back … for more, so when ever you feel for a bit of carnival spirit and lemon festival – you know I will tag along. *smile June can’t come soon enough. EveningHug.

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