The town of Menton is full of places to visit that'll only cost you a few euros or are completely free of charge. And they're far from dull. There couldn't be a more varied choice of activities on offer: gardens with extraordinary flora, historical monuments, breathtaking views and ancient remains. So why not take a stroll through the town and discover these local attractions at your own pace.

    Whether you're vacationing alone or with your family or friends, you'll be able to enjoy a range of activities that may even ignite a new passion. Here are 10 tips for visiting the 'Lemon Capital' of Menton without breaking the bank.

    1

    Saint-Michel-Archange Basilica

    A jewel of Baroque art in the heart of Menton

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Saint-Michel-Archange Basilica (Basilique Saint-Michel-Archange de Menton) is a jewel of baroque art, majestically presiding over a pretty cobbled square. It can be reached from the coast road via a stunning pebblestone staircase. Take a moment to appreciate the impact of the vertical and horizontal lines, the bell tower and the coat of arms of Monaco immortalized in pebblestone in the square.

    Once inside, you'll see the 3 naves housing the basilica's many treasures – in particular, the Genoese damask wall hangings and the processional statue of Saint Michel, as well as a number of other altarpieces and chapels. The building is remarkable on a number of different levels and is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, as well as hosting the Menton Music Festival (Festival de Musique de Menton).

    Location: Place de l’Église, 06500 Menton, France

    Open: Accessible from 3 pm to 5 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

    Map
    2

    White Penitents Chapel

    A chapel rich in history and treasures

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    • History
    • Photo

    The Chapel of the White Penitents, also known as the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception (La Chapelle de l'Immaculée-Conception), is a wonderful example of Reformation artwork and was once the seat of the Confraternity of White Penitents. Built between 1680 and 1687 in the Capitole district, the chapel has 2 alcoves along the front of the building, home to statues of Saint Isidore and Saint Elmo. A bas-relief sculpture representing the Immaculate Conception sits above the main entrance.

    Further up, in the central alcove, you can see a representation of Saint Charles Borromeo, revered by the White Penitents. The small dome of the bell tower stands at 40 meters. Once inside, the chapel appears before you, clothed in a habit of scarlet wall hangings theatrically embodying all the majesty of baroque art. You can visit this historic monument either on your own or, for a few euros, with a guide approved by the Ministry of Culture.

    Location: 2 place de la Conception, 06500 Menton, France

    Open: Hours vary, please refer to the heritage department for more information

    Phone: +33 (0)4 92 10 97 10

    Map
    3

    Monastery of the Annunciation

    An ancient relic and symbol of Menton

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    The Monastery of the Annunciation (le Monastère de l’Annonciade) is a symbol of Menton. Perched atop a hill at an altitude of 225 meters, this historic monument offers a breathtaking panorama across the town. Built in the 10th century, the town has seen the development of Menton, known as the 'Lemon Capital'.

    You'll discover the fascinating history of this building, originally no more than a small chapel, that has survived through periods of famine, revolution, changes of ownership and an earthquake. Its survival is undoubtedly due to the townspeople's love of Mary within the Order of the Annunciation, as well as with the Capuchin monks and Sisters of the Annunciation, who strove tirelessly to keep this sacred place alive.

    Location: 2135 corniche André Tardieu, 06500 Menton, France

    Open: Hours vary, please refer to the heritage department for more information

    Phone: +33 (0)4 93 35 76 92

    Map
    4

    Menton Russian Church

    A surprising building, symbol of the Russian community in Menton

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    • History
    • Photo
    • Unusual

    The Menton Russian Church, a symbol of the Russian community in Menton, is a rather unusual addition to the town's landscape. The church was built and consecrated in 1892 and is faithful to the Russian style of the 17th century. It was built next to the Russian House (la Maison Russe), constructed at the instigation of Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia, with the aim of helping Russian inhabitants who were ill or in need.

    It's near the commune of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and is all the more spectacular at dawn or at dusk when the sun enhances the ochre yellow, blue and gold colors of the façade and dome. If you'd like to visit the inside of the church, richly decorated with a number of frescoes and icons, please check the schedule of services, as the building is closed outside of these hours.

    Location: 14 rue Paul Morillot, 06500 Menton, France

    Open: Open only for services

    Phone: +33 (0)4 93 04 05 78

    Map

    photo by Jpak (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    5

    Trabuquet cemetery

    A peaceful cemetery, where some famous people are buried

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo
    • Unusual

    Trabuquet Cemetery (la Cimetière du Trabuquet) takes its name from the traps that were once set for migratory birds on top of the hill. It appears, from the hill that overlooks it, to levitate above the bell towers of Église Saint-Michel and the Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs. Laid out in a rather haphazard way, this vast cemetery will soon discourage those looking for the resting places of specific leading figures.

    It's therefore best to just have a wander and let fate decide what you might see along the way. As well as military cemeteries, you'll find the graves of Russian sculptor Léopold-Bernard Bernstamm, Georges Pissaro – son of the famous artist with whom he shared his passion for neo-Impressionism and his anarchist convictions – or Belgian crime writer André Steeman.

    Location: Chemin du Trabuquet, 06500 Menton, France

    Open: Open daily from 10 am to 8 pm.

    Phone: +33 (0)4 93 57 95 99

    Map

    photo by Renek78 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Boulevard de Garavan

    A steep view down over the water and a string of dream villas

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Boulevard de Garavan, established in 1888, derives its name from a district of the town located along the border with Italy and is a fascinating place to walk. The 3 km route is bordered by pepper plants and carob trees that contrast beautifully with the turquoise waters in the distance. Between 2 mountains, the superb views across the Mediterranean are almost enough to distract you from the magnificent villas that are a testament to the prosperous period in which Menton was still a popular destination on the French Riviera.

    The boulevard will take you all the way to the old town. Halfway along, you'll find the beautiful Parc du Pian, a public park incorporating around 600 200-year-old olive trees. The tropical flora is both lush and varied, thanks to the favorable climate.

    Location: Boulevard de Garavan, 06500 Menton, France

    Map

    photo by Espirat (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Carnolès Palace Gardens

    A remarkable citrus garden in the "lemon capital"

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Carnolès Palace (Palais de Carnolès), former residence of the princes of Monaco, is surrounded by a magnificent garden featuring citrus fruit, in particular the famous Menton lemon trees, sweet and bitter orange trees, and grapefruit, pomelo and mandarin trees. The garden represents one of the largest citrus fruit collections and comprises around 140 varieties of citrus fruit of all kinds, totalling around 350 specimens.

    Listed as a 'remarkable garden', this center for acclimation and research is a great place for scientists and horticulture enthusiasts. Entry is free of charge, and you'll no doubt enjoy meandering along the many paths bordered by magnificent statues and through the pretty flower-covered hills and the princes' vegetable garden. Carnolès Palace is also home to the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts).

    Location: 3 avenue de la Madone, 06500 Menton, France

    Open: Open weekends only.

    Phone: +33 (0) (0)4 89 81 52 70

    Map
    8

    Pian Park

    A gorgeous olive grove in the heart of Menton

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Pian Park (Parc du Pian), benefiting from its exceptional location opposite the sea, is home to an extraordinary olive grove arranged in stepped terraces. Across these 3 hectares, 540 olive trees – some of which are centuries old – sit peacefully, bathed in the warm Menton sun. Although famous for lemons, Menton also owes much of its wealth to the olive tree through the sale of olive oil, ointments and fine wood.

    The luxuriant Pian Park is also known for its values, primarily environmentalism. This can be seen through the practice of onsite eco-grazing, as well as other provisions that have been made for walkers and families. There is no better place to get some fresh air, picnic or simply indulge in a little reverie and contemplation.

    Location: 11 avenue Blasco Ibanez, 06500 Menton, France

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 7 pm.

    Map
    9

    Fossan Beach

    A superb city beach with, as a bonus, spectacular views

    • Budget
    • Couples
    • Families
    • Photo

    Fossan Beach (Plage de Fossan) is one of the nicest in Menton. It is near the town center, next to the new Jean Cocteau Museum on Malecon Francis Palmero. It's easy to park nearby and has a large decked area ideal for sunbathing. With its shallow waters and lifeguard tower, the beach is particularly well-suited to families with young children who can enjoy the sea in complete safety.

    Visitors of all ages will love the numerous activities on offer here, as well as the many nearby cafes and restaurants. The cherry on the cake is, of course, the spectacular views over the old town, the mountains and the sea. It's a feast for the eyes, from dawn to dusk.

    Location: 1780 promenade du soleil, 06500 Menton, France

    Map
    10

    Hôtel Adhémar de Lantagnac

    All the tradition of the great Provençal aristocratic residences

    • Budget
    • History
    • Photo

    Hôtel Adhémar de Lantagnac is a private mansion with 4 façades offering a pretty view over the courtyard, the gardens and the Rue Saint Michel, which was once the only road to Italy. This charming, busy street was extremely prestigious in the 18th century and was the perfect place for this simple yet elegant building, whose façade is accentuated by large bay windows and enhanced by a delicate arch.

    Inside, the decor displays a number of different styles, in particular the Rocaille Louis XV style and the simpler Louis XVI style. This visit is certainly worth a detour and will delight architecture lovers while demonstrating the way of life of a bygone era.

    Location: 24 rue Saint-Michel, 06500 Menton, France

    Open: Closed in November. Open Monday–Saturday from 10.30 am to 12.30 am and from 2 pm to 5 pm.

    Phone: +33 (0)4 92 10 97 10

    Map

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