When looking for property in France’s Mediterranean coast, don’t miss out Menton. This sweet, warm and sunny small town celebrates its lemon harvest every February, so we went to the Riviera to take a look…
Menton is situated in the department of the Alpes-Maritimes in the Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur area (otherwise known as “PACA”). It is very close to the Italian border and has long been renowned for its glamour and glitz.
This is a beautiful town with a fantastic climate, reminiscent of southern California with its own micro climate and a healthy average of around 316 sunny days per year. Even in winter time, the temperature is mild compared to many other parts of the French Mediterranean coastal area, protected as it is by the mountains.
The town has a long and ancient history. It was actually founded in the 13th century by the people from Genoa, then it was owned by Monaco in the 14th century, remaining as such for over 500 years. It did not become part of France until the late 19th century. From then on, of course, it has become and remains an incredibly popular holiday resort, visited by people of all nationalities from all over the world.
Why is Menton a great place to live?
As well as its glamorous, sophisticated reputation, Menton is known for its citrus fruit – lemons in particular! The climate here is ideal for the healthy growth of fruits such as oranges, tangerines, limes and lemons. Naturally, a symbol of the town is the lemon.
A stroll around this glorious town will reveal the wonderful fruit and plant life here since everything flourishes in the temperate climate. In winter time the citrus fruits, in particular the lemon, are celebrated.
As well as being famous for its fruit, you will discover some beautiful gardens and historical monuments here. The old town is just lovely with a huge ancient market place and softly painted old buildings. This is a town which is well cared for and is popular with international visitors all year round.
There are many activities and cultural events, as well as historical monuments to visit in Menton. A visit to the mairie or local tourist office will enable you to find out exactly what is going on including walking tours, bike rides and boat trips. As for monuments, it is well worth checking out the Basilica St. Michel which sits high up overlooking the old town and the Jean Cocteau museum, highlighting the work of the well known artist and film director.
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You’ll find several beaches here, a pretty port and a working harbour with superb views out across the sea. You will also find some excellent boutique shops, charming cafes and restaurants and there is a real atmosphere of relaxation here too. There is also a wonderful market “Les Halles” where you will find the most attractive array of food and drink goodies. It is close to the Italian border, so a trip over there for lunch is something many visitors and residents do.
La Fete du Citron (The Lemon Festival)
Menton is proud of its reputation for growing the very finest citrus fruits. Unsurprisingly, it is classified as a 4 star “ville fleurie” and has historically won numerous awards for its immaculate gardens. You will see as you walk along that many streets are lined with lemon and orange trees. Many restaurants specialise in lemon based dishes.
The actual “Lemon Festival” takes place between mid February and mid March each year, so still time to plan your trip for this one! The town completely opens up to tourists and all sorts of festivities are planned including live music, fetes, street artists and processions, all celebrating the lemon. This is a real joy to behold.
An excellent investment?
The sky really is the limit here! There is a wide variety of types of property in and around Menton from small modern apartments to luxurious grand homes and everything in between. Property is not cheap here of course, this really is a prime location, but any property purchase is more than likely to prove to be an excellent investment. There is a lively rental market here all year round and the signs are that this will continue – such is the allure of Menton.
A budget of around €300,000 will find you a small 1 to 2 bedroom modern apartment. You may be lucky and find one for a little less just outside of town. At the other end of the scale, there are some truly fabulous villas overlooking the sea for €1 million plus and if money is no object, some incredible chateau style residences with gardens and pool for a whole lot more!
Access from the UK
Nice airport is just over 16 miles from Menton so is by far the best option for British travellers. It is served by several airlines with frequent flights year round from various UK airports. You could take Eurostar to Paris and then down to Nice if you fancy a leisurely trip. This takes about 10 hours. Driving time down from the channel ports is approximately 11 hours.
Menton really does live up to its name as “the pearl of the French Riviera”. It is a beautiful and sophisticated town, proud of its heritage. Property prices may be on the high side here but, as with so many areas of France, they are still far less than the UK. A visit to Menton is something you will never forget, a property purchase something you will never regret!