Menton is a town and commune in the Alpes-Maritimes département of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur région of France. It has been called the most beautiful town on the French Riviera, and its nickname is La perle de la France ("The pearl of France").
The site of Menton dates from paleolithic and was regularly inhabited since. Characteristic archaeological there remains a visible section of the via Julia Augusta , (oldRoman way which connected Vintimille with Nice
- Cimiez) and with Rome, currently Long street, which crosses the old city, in the prolongation of the via Aurelia
Menton is located on the Franco-Italian border, within the confines of the Côte d'Azur and the Ligurian Alps. It boasts a warm micro-climate favorable to lemon, tangerine, and orange groves.
The fishing industry was devastated in the 1980s and 1990s when the "killer Algae" Caulerpa taxifolia (a non-native Asian tropical green algae first discovered in the Mediterranean Sea adjacent to the Oceanographic Museum of MONACO
-monte-carlo in 1984) that was introduced to the local environment spread throughout the coastal sea floor decimating the local fish life.
Perhaps the most famous aspect of Menton is its world-renowned gardens, including the Serre de la Madone, the Le Val Rahmeh, the Fontan
a Rosa, and the Maria Serena garden. Le Val Rahmeh, named for his wife, was established in 1905 by Englishman Sir Percy Radcliffe, the first owner of the gardens. Villa Fontan
a Rosa was built in 1922 by Blasco Ibáñez, a Spanish novelist, and the gardens of the villa are now open to the public.
The baroque basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange, with its bell-tower is one of the most beautiful spots of the area.
Every year in February, the Lemon Festival takes place in the town. There are huge temporary statues built and covered with citrus fruit (lemons and oranges), and every year the festival follows a given theme. Past themes include Viva España, Disney, Neverland, and India. The festival lasts for a few days, with different bands passing through Menton's streets on foot or truck trailers. The casino gardens in the centre of town are decorated in the theme of the festival, using the celebrated fruit to cover the exhibits. The Casino Gardens are also the location for Menton's Christmas Festival.
The Menton Classical Musical Festival is also held every year in the heart of the atmospheric old town.
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- CL0S DU PEYRONNET
Laid out by Humphrey Waterfield, these gardens blend colour and movement by means of a water stairways composed of successive ponds.
- JARDIN DE MARIA SERENA
The most temperate garden in all France. Tropical and sub-tropical plants were acclimatized here in a garden of 3.75 acres, including an important collection of palm-trees and cycas.
- JARDIN DES COLOMBIERES
Designed by the painter-novelist Ferdinand Bac, this garden is planned out like a voyage around the Mediterranean. It mainly contains cypress and olive trees.