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Menton Coat of Arms
Menton (France)
region Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
Department Alpes-Maritimes
Arrondissement Nice
Canton Menton
Community association Riviera Française
Coordinates 43 ° 46 ′  N , 7 ° 30 ′  E Coordinates: 43 ° 46 ′  N , 7 ° 30 ′  E
height 0-774 m
surface 14.05 km 2
Residents 28,958 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 2,061 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 06500
INSEE code

The port and the old town
View of the old town of Menton
Bastion ( Musée Jean Cocteau )

Menton [ mɑ̃ˈtõ ] (in Occitan [meⁿˈtaⁿ] , which is written in the classical norm Menton , in that of Frédéric Mistral Mentan ; in Italian Mentone ) is a municipality , at the same time a city , in the French department Alpes-Maritimes on the Côte d'Azur in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region with almost 30,000 inhabitants. The municipality is on the border with Italy across from Ventimiglia . Menton is the first French place after the Italian border and thus also the first or most easterly French place on the Côte d'Azur.

Location and climate

Protected by the foothills of the Maritime Alps in the hinterland, Menton is characterized by a particularly mild climate.

Thanks to its protected location, Menton is the warmest place on the French Côte d'Azur even in winter. The most pleasant months to travel are May and mid-September to mid-October. The months with the most rain are February and March. In general, the temperatures are a few degrees above the temperatures in Germany. The months June to August can get very hot. However, many events and exhibitions take place in August, the holiday month for the French and Italians. The winters are mild, there is hardly any frost in Menton, and snow falls about every ten years.


In Roman times, the bay of Menton was called Pacis Sinus ("peaceful bay"), but nothing is known about a settlement from this time.

Until 1146 the city was owned by the Counts of Ventimiglia . Then Menton was under the rule of the commune of Genoa or the Genoese Vento family until it came to the Grimaldi of Monaco together with Roquebrune in 1346 .

Monegasque rule lasted until 1848, in the same year the city of Menton and Roquebrune rose against the taxes imposed by Monaco and proclaimed an independent republic. Then the French Emperor Napoléon III attacked. and bought Menton from the Monegasque royal house.

In 1861, the residents of Menton voted to belong to France. Tourism started at the end of the 19th century. At that time, the climate on the Côte d'Azur was recommended by doctors to promote the healing of tuberculosis. That is why this city was a popular winter quarter for the English and Russians in the 19th century. Among other things, the British Queen Victoria stayed here on her winter holidays. You can still admire the large hotels and gardens that were built for the English at the time, as well as an Orthodox church.

In 1872 the city was connected to the railway network via the Marseille – Ventimiglia line. During the First World War , numerous wounded soldiers were staying in Menton to recover.

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats died in Menton on January 28, 1939 . During the Second World War Menton was quickly occupied by Italians with the surrender of France, and in 1943, after the surrender of Italy, by the Germans, from whom it was taken away in 1944 during heavy fighting. Menton was in ruins and it wasn't until the mid-1960s that the city was rebuilt. Since then, tourism in Menton has developed strongly. With the growing mobility of the affluent population of northern Italy, Menton gradually came back under Italian influence. Since the end of border controls and the introduction of the euro, many Italian citizens have found a new home here.

Population development

year 1962 1968 1975 1982 1990 1999 2006 2016
Residents 19,904 25,040 25.143 25,086 29,141 28,812 27,655 28,486
Sources: Cassini and INSEE

coat of arms

Description: The coat of arms is split into blue and silver. In front everything in gold, the Archangel Michael is standing with his right leg on a prone lying devil, holding the trident in his right hand and holding a sword ready for stabbing in his right hand and a pair of scales in his left . In the back a green tree, growing out of a green mountain, bearing eight golden lemons . The blue sign foot is through wave cut and the blue shield main with three silver five-pointed bar setting made stars just separated.


The economy of Menton is characterized by tourism and service offers. Many Menton residents work in Monaco, twelve kilometers away, and Nice, which is 25 kilometers away . The construction industry has been firmly in Italian hands since the internal European borders disappeared.

The climatically favorable location made lemon cultivation the most important branch of business in the 19th century . Today the traditional cultivation is of little economic importance. The lemon, to which the Fête du Citron (Lemon Festival ) has been dedicated since 1934 (late February - early March), is the symbol of the city. More than 1000 tons of citrus fruits are needed for the preparation of the moving van and the decoration of the Parc Biovès, which today come mostly from Spain because of the huge amount required. Lemon jam from Menton is a popular souvenir from tourists.

On the beach in Menton
Saint-Michel cathedral

Culture and sport


The annual lemon festival has been celebrated since 1930.

An international chamber music festival is held in August.

Native language

Another type of Provencal language is spoken in Menton , which is called "Mentonasc" and represents the transition to the Ligurian language .


Sailing competitions are held in Menton. In addition, every year in July or August there is a kart race near the new port.

Menton is the southern end point of the GR 52 long-distance hiking trail , which is also used as an alternative to the E2 / GR 5 European long-distance hiking trail .


See also: List of Monuments historiques in Menton

The old town with its pastel-colored house facades has a strong Italian flair. The city has numerous gardens and parks, especially in the suburb of Garavan, with some rare subtropical plants that thrive particularly well in Menton's favorable microclimate. The Promenade du Soleil, the waterfront in Menton, with a beautiful beach is less touristy than z. B. Nice and Cannes .


  • The baroque Saint-Michel cathedral from 1675. In front of the church there is a mosaic with the coat of arms of the Grimaldis, who ruled the city for centuries.
  • The Capuchin Monastery of L'Annonciade from the 18th century with a view over Menton


Musée Jean Cocteau / Museum Jean Cocteau
  • Musée Jean Cocteau : Art museum designed by Jean Cocteau himself during his lifetime and equipped with his own paintings and ceramics in the former bastion directly on the harbor
  • Town hall ( Hôtel de ville ) : wedding hall ( Salle des Mariages ) designed by Jean Cocteau
  • Prehistoric Museum (Musée de Préhistoire Régionale) : contains, among other things, the skull of the so-called Grimaldi man , which was found in the grottoes east of Menton.
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Menton , Musée des Beaux-Arts du Palais Carnolès : picture gallery with Italian, French and Flemish painters from the 14th to 17th centuries. century
  • Musée Jean Cocteau Collection Severin Wunderman : The Séverin Wunderman collection with many works by Jean Cocteau in the new museum at the east end of the beach promenade in front of the old market hall - since November 2011


Serre de la Madone garden
  • Jardin du Palais Carnolès : Oldest garden in the city with numerous citrus trees and sculptures
  • Jardin de la Villa Marina Serena : the garden of the villa designed by Charles Garnier in 1880 contains numerous rare subtropical plants.
  • Jardin Fontana Rosa : Formerly the private garden of the Spanish writer Vicente Blasco Ibáñez with illustrated ceramics for Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616), which became the property of the city of Menton in the 1990s and has been open to the public from time to time. Parts of the Fontana Rosa facility are visible from the Garavan train station.
  • Jardin Botanique Val Rameh in Garavan. Botanical garden with a collection of subtropical plants
  • Serre de la Madone , the restored garden of the English garden planner Sir Lawrence Johnston (1871–1958)
  • Le Jardin des Colombières , restored private garden, main work of the horticultural artist Ferdinand Bac (1859–1952)


Menton by night


  • Karl Dominik Albini (1790–1839), "Apostle of Corsica "
  • Luciano Sgrizzi (born October 30, 1910 in Bologna , † September 11, 1994 in Monte Carlo ), composer, pianist and organist at the Italian Swiss Radio; he spent the last years of his life in Menton.
  • Philippe Soirat (* 1961), jazz musician

Town twinning



  • Jens Rosteck : Instructions for use for Nice and the Côte d'Azur . Piper-Verlag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-492-27554-5 (literary-cultural-historical portrait of the region including a chapter on Menton).
  • Ralf Nestmeyer : Provence and Côte d'Azur. Literary travel pictures from the Midi . Klett-Cotta-Verlag, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-608-93654-8 .
  • Ralf Nestmeyer: Côte d'Azur . 7th edition. Michael-Müller-Verlag, Erlangen 2012, ISBN 978-3-89953-680-5 .
  • Britta Sandberg : Côte d'Azur . 5th, revised edition. DuMont-Reiseverlag, Ostfildern 2016, ISBN 978-3-7701-7359-4 .
  • Côte d'Azur French Riviera (=  The Green Guide ). Michelin Reise-Verlag, Karlsruhe 2002, ISBN 2-06-000246-X .
  • Barbara F. Freed, Alan Halpern: Artists and their museums on the riviera . Abrams, New York 1998, ISBN 0-8109-2761-6 (An English-language guide to all museums, churches, chapels, collections, works of art and homes and gardens of artists on the Côte d'Azur with 20th century art by Cocteau , Picasso, Léger, Renoir, Chagall, Matisse, Jakovsky).


  • Woldemar Kaden and painter Hermann Nestel: The Riviera - hiking destinations and winter asylums on the Ligurian coast from Nice to Spezia . W. Spemann, Berlin / Stuttgart 1884 (detailed description of the area around Menton from the 19th century).

Web links

Commons : Menton  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. John Lukacs: In Menton, Quiet days and silent nights . In: The New York Times , November 17, 2002, accessed March 16, 2018.
  2. Website Fête du Citron 2018 à Menton sur la Côte d'Azur . November 7, 2017, accessed March 16, 2018
  3. Olivier Bosia: Luciano Sgrizzi. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland . December 1, 2011 , accessed February 18, 2020 .