Menton is a picturesque, sun-lit town where serenity reigns. The town’s French traditions blend seamlessly with Italian culture, not surprising considering it is right on the border with Italy.
The history of Menton, like other towns on the Côte d’Azur, is marked by numerous, historical conflicts, mainly between local noble families and pirates from the Eastern Mediterranean countries. The houses in the old town, built right up against one another, give the historical centre a peculiar shape, resembling a grand amphitheatre. This configuration, typical of the medieval towns in the Alps Maritimes and those of Liguria (Italy), formed a fortified wall against enemy invasions. It is fascinating to imagine the difficulties encountered by invading pirates who attempted unsuccessfully to penetrate this protected town.
Walking through the quaint, narrow streets of the old town it is obvious to visitors that Menton was built as an indestructible fort. However many Oriental legacies inside the walls tell the tale of how the Saracens managed to invade and conquer.
The Mentonnais (the local dialect) is a curious mix between French, Italian, Spanish and Arabic. The town of Menton remained under the power of the Grimaldi family of Monaco until 1848, when the town rose up against the family and declared independence. Menton became part of France in 1860, together with the Comté of Nice.
Legend says that Eve first fell in love with this perfect place. When chased from paradise to earth she brought a golden fruit with her. Because he was afraid of the wrath of God’s anger, Adam convinced Eve to hide the fruit. According to the legend Eve chose Menton to bury the golden fruit, hoping that its rich fertile soil would replace the paradise she lost.
Since then lemons have flourished and matured in this corner of paradise and the town of Menton dedicates its biggest festival to nature’s luscious fruits.
MENTON TOURIST OFFICE
MENTON TOURIST INFORMATION
8 Avenue Boyer
Le Palais de l’Europe
Tél : 33 (0)4 92 41 76 76
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