when life gives you lemons – “fête du citron®”

I’m returning to my week on the French Rivera!!!

In parallel with the Carnaval du Nice, there is also the awesome ” Fête du Citron” in Menton.

Menton is located on the other side of Monaco and nearly on the Italian border. Also a famous resort on the French Rivera. Direct trains a couple of times every hour from Gare de Ville Nice.  The train journey goes along the coast and takes about 40 min and costs roughly 10€/return. I’m able to travel as a senior slightly cheaper.  

From the railway station is only a few minutes walk to the Biovès Gardens, very well signed at the station. In Biovès Gardens you find the most amazing sculptures made of lemon and oranges. Every year, it takes thousands of hours to create these ephemeral sculptures, with the fruits placed one at a time… New theme every year,  the theme of 2022 was “Operas and Dances”.

1928, Menton was still the number one lemon-growing region in Europe. A hotelier had an excellent idea of organising an exhibition of flowers and citrus fruit in the gardens of the Hôtel Riviera. It was so successful that, the following year, the event moved into the streets, with carts covered with orange and lemon. The Lemon Festival was born in 1934.

Like the Carnaval du Nice does this event has its grand parade, the Promenade du Soleil … but it falls on the same Sunday as the Nice has theirs.

The Exhibition of Citrus Patterns I visit, this exhibition is what I visit – that is also illuminated in the evening. Which I have never been to, mostly because the trains are running that frequent in the evening. But it’s on my do it list for next year.

This year the exhibition was free, the set-up in the park was different, each sculpture was individual and there were fewer of them. Must be because of the COVID situation. Only 6 displays, normally it’s 13.

Still just amazing as normal …  

  • 140 tonnes of citrus fruit for the gardens and floats
  • Over 750,000 elastic bands for attaching the citrus fruit
  • And the festival has its own mascot: John Lemon!
  • 240,000 spectators each year
  • 10 floats covered with citrus fruit parade the Promenade du Soleil.

One of the displays this year was made by the Peking Opera.

This year I visit the orchid festival in the Palace of Europe – which is just next to the park. Free entrance, but I never picked it up until this year.  Presented by Association of Orchidophiles and Epiphytophiles of France .. hounded and hounded of orchids on display Just so breathtakingly beautiful.  

After I visit the garden I wanted to enjoy mussels on my favourite waterhole in Menton, Le Paris Palace – they close at14.00 and it was too late for an order.

So I found a cafe just by the park, JEAN LUC PELE. Nothing wrong with a French ham & cheese baguette, great cafe latte and an almond muffin. Was sitting outside in the lovely weather on the corner of  Rue Partouneaux and Av. Boyer.

The only downfall with Menton is that the station doesn’t have lifts (under construction) so I had to carry my stroller down and upon arrival, got help from two lovely young ladies. Otherwise, I never would have managed up the stairs to the station. “Home” no problem the train depictured from the station track. Neither are the trains very friendly for buggies of any kind. Have to sit by the doors and move when people are getting on and off. Terrible is the right word for that.

So I hope those elevators are in use next year because I will be back!!!!

“When Life Gives You Lemons, Add Tequila and Salt”
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John Lemon!!!

14 thoughts on “when life gives you lemons – “fête du citron®”

  1. Have been to Menton so many times but had never heard of these ! The wrong season . . . and perchance my visits were too long ago ? Thank you for the fabulous photos . . . would have loved to have stood next to you especially since ‘opera’ was mentioned, but hurried you along to get those mussels in time – I love them also . . . Meanwhile hope you had a reasonable Easter . . . hugs . . .

    • Thanks, Eha …. yes, I should have left a bit earlier … just, love their mussels and on the seafront. But next year. It’s truly an awesome event. Next year will I enjoy the park illuminated. Normally they have an evening parade too, but this year .. only one and it collided with the big parade in Nice and that one is more important to me. Thanks, had a very reasonable Easter, Didn’t celebrate at all. *smile

  2. I’ve never heard of this but it looks amazing and I’d love to have your snack/lunch. 🙂 When life gives me lemons, I make lemonade. There’s a lemon tree on the other side of the wall next to where I walk so I often find lemons on the ground in the morning. I carry a bag just so I can take as many as I find. 🙂 Lemonade made from found/free lemons tastes even better. 🙂

    janet

    • Janet, thank you so much …. I only found out about the event 2 years ago. So it’s very new to me too … I love lemonade. It’s gone very popular here in Europe for the last 2 years. Not so much in Sweden. Yes, a French baguette … is fantastic any time of the day. Just like their croissants. Lemon trees on the balcony or patio have gone very popular but if I buy one it will be dead in a couple of weeks. Do you Limoncello too??? Wivi

    • Hello, Ladyfriend … nice to see you again. I’m sure that your lemon tree will give you both lemonade and Limoncello. Good reason enough to visit Florida. *laughing – make sure that your Limoncello is stored in the freezer at all times. One bottle at the time. So it’s thick as oil when you pour it. Good luck with your little tree.

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