Looking for a taste of Italy on your trip to the French Riviera? Well, Menton is the perfect spot.
Just a few steps from the Italian border, this charming town has a Mediterranean feel with its colorful buildings, fresh seafood, and lemons galore and is definitely worth visiting.
Due to its proximity to bigger cities like Nice or the Italian border town of Ventimiglia, Menton is the perfect place for a day trip or even just a few hours if you’re short on time. However, although it is technically possible to visit Menton for just a day, we recommend staying for at least 2 days to fully experience everything this Mediterranean gem has to offer.
In this guide, you will find a two-day Menton itinerary to make the most of your time in this lovely corner of France.
If you are visiting Menton, chances are you’re coming from Nice. The two cities are only about 35 minutes apart by car or train, making Menton the perfect day trip destination from Nice.
There are several ways to get from Nice to Menton:
By car: The drive from Nice to Menton is very straightforward and takes about 25 minutes. It’s almost the same distance to get to Menton from Nice, as it is to get to Antibes in the other direction. Simply follow the coastal road (also called the Corniche Road) east until you reach Menton.
By bus: Several buses run daily from Nice to Menton, and the journey takes about one hour. The buses depart from Nice’s main bus station, located just to the north of the city center.
By train: Trains are a fast and convenient way to get from Nice to Menton. The journey takes about 38 minutes, and trains depart every 30 minutes or so from Nice’s main train station, located just to the west of the city center.
In this itinerary, we have gathered all the best things to do in Menton so that you can get the most out of your time in this lovely town.
Day 1 in Menton
Start your first day in Menton with a stroll around the Old Town.
This is the best way to get your bearings and see some of the town’s most important sights.
You can start by visiting the Palais Carnoles, an 18th-century palace that houses a museum with rotating exhibitions. Then, start exploring the streets of old town and climb to see the Basilique St-Michel, an imposing basilica in the heart ofthe city.
After seeing the Basilique, make sure to go down the stairs in front of it to take a look at one of the most photographed point in Menton (the staircase is yellow and perfectly framed by the basilica!).
After exploring the Old Town, head to the Val Rahmeh-Menton Botanical Garden for a peaceful respite from sightseeing. This botanical garden is home to over 2,000 species of plants, many of which are native to the Mediterranean region.
In the afternoon, take a drive or catch a bus to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a beautiful peninsula just east of Menton. This is the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon by the water. If you’re feeling active, there are plenty of hiking trails in the area as well like Pointe du Cap Martin Loop from Carnolès and Sentiero Le Corbusier.
Head back to Menton for sunset. And end your first day in Menton with a sunset stroll along the Promenade du Soleil.
This promenade runs along the seafront and offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sun set over Menton before heading back to your hotel for the night.
For dinner on your first night in Menton, you have many good options to choose from.
For a splurge, head to Mirazur, a Michelin-starred restaurant with sweeping views of the Mediterranean.
If you’re looking for something more casual, check out one of the many seafood and Italian restaurants lining the harbor. Tony Restaurant, Le 31 and Le Petit Port are fantastic choices.
Day 2 in Menton
On your second day in Menton, start with a visit to the Musée Jean Cocteau. This museum is dedicated to the work of French artist Jean Cocteau and houses a large collection of his paintings, drawings, and films.
Afterwards, stroll down to Plage des Sablettes, one of Menton’s most popular beaches. If the weather is nice, this is a great spot to relax, swim, and soak up the sun.
In the afternoon, you can head to Marché des Halleurs, Menton’s covered market. This is the best place in town to buy fresh produce and seafood. You can choose between having lunch there or head to Place aux Herbes, Menton’s central square, to find a restaurant with outdoor seating. It’s as lovely as eating at the quaint cafes in Paris.
This is also the perfect spot to pick up some souvenirs or try some of Menton’s famous lemon products, especially the sorbet au citron.
By the way, did you know that Menton hosts the famous Fête du Citron for two weeks in Feb or March every year. The festival showcases an array of Citrus floats, lemony dishes, citrus gardens, and lemon-focused arts and crafts. Usually visited by over 200,000 people every year, the next Fête du Citron is from February 11 to 26, 2023.
After lunch, I recommend heading to Monaco to explore this tiny country for a couple of hours. You can easily reach Monaco by bus or train from Menton in no more than 30 minutes, or book a small group guided tour from Cannes.
Alternatively, if you want to stay in Menton you can go visit Salle des Mariages, the wedding hall in the city hall which was designed by Jean Cocteau, see the Old Château Cemetery and the Musée de Préhistoire Régionale.
Tips for visiting Menton
First – The best time to visit Menton is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists.
Second – Menton is a small town, so it’s easy to get around on foot. However, if you’re planning on exploring Cap-Martin or the Bioves Garden, you may want to rent a car or take public transportation.
Third – Be sure to try some of Menton’s famous lemon products! The town is known for its delicious lemonade, sorbet, and candy.
Fourth – If you’re looking for a unique souvenir, stop by one of Menton’s many perfume shops. The town has a large availability of perfums from Grasse, which is home to a number of fragrance companies and has a long history of producing high-quality perfumes.
The best time to visit Menton is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and there are fewer tourists. I visited in early November and the weather was still wonderful.
However, for the highest temperatures summer is the best time to visit, from June to August. It’s important to remember that this is also peak season so accommodation and activities will be more expensive.
Where to stay in Menton, France
Menton is home to many lovely hotels. Hotel Napoléon, Ibis Styles Menton Centre and Ibis Style Menton Centre are some of my favorites.
Conclusion: How to spend two days in Menton, France
That’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to spend two days in Menton, France. This beautiful seaside town is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the Mediterranean lifestyle. Be sure to try some of the local specialties like fresh seafood, lemon products, and perfume.
Have you ever been to Menton? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!
About Cami from Explore The Riviera
Camila Neves is a travel blogger based in Nice, a city on the heart of the French Riviera. She dedicates most of her time to exploring this beautiful region and writing about it on her blog, Explore the Riviera. Follow Cami on Instagram and Pinterest here.
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