Carnival in Menton
This is the second largest public event of the winter on the French Riviera after the Carnival in Nice. It is held every year from mid-February until the end of the month.
The Lemon Festival combines carnival traditions with the celebration of Menton as Europe’s lemon capital. The celebration features magnificent themed rafts, built primarily of lemons and oranges, much of which are imported from Spain.
Decorating in themes – 2023 is Rock & Opera
A total of 180 tons of fruit are used to build the impressive figures that adorn the rafts and the entire area along the garden at Avenue Boyer.
Each year a special decoration theme is chosen for the festival. A few examples: in 1982 Jules Verne, in 1991 Mozart, in 1998 Tintin, in 2002 Pinocchio, in 2017 Broadway, and in 2018 Bollywood.
In 2023 the theme is Rock and Opera – see the link in the end of the article.
The idea arose in 1928
The first lemon festival was held in 1934, but the idea came as early as 1928, when a hotel owner thought of organizing a private exhibition of flowers and citrus fruits in the garden of the Hotel Riviera.
It was such a great success that the municipality itself took up the idea of making it an even bigger event. The first official festival was held in 1934 and has only been interrupted three times – by war in the years 1940-46, in 1991 by the Iraq war, and in 2021 due to COVID-19.
Menton is not a large city and with many people arriving long traffic jams quickly arise.
Therefore, arrive in good time (preferably from the morning) and park within a nice walking distance from the center. Avoid weekends if possible.
Watch this years program here – FÊTE DU CITRON MENTON
By Tommy Sverre – 2022
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