Attending La Fête du Citron in Menton

Written by on February 17, 2015 in Festivals and Carnivals, Provence-Alpes

Port-Menton

Menton is a charming village near the Italian border. It was love at first sight for author Darina Nykl…

Fête du Citron

Every year the “Fête du Citron” has a different theme, such as 2015’s “The Tribulations of a Lemon in China” – deliciously quirky. This is a unique event and involves giant sculptures of citrus fruits accompanied by music and confetti.

Menton enjoys the highest temperatures on the French Riviera thanks to the shelter of the mountains that surround it. It’s a fabulous place to spend the winter or enjoy the early spring sunshine. Thanks to this mild climate, lemon trees flourish and as early as springtime, the village is wrapped in a bright palette of lemon, orange and tangerines trees. It is a beautiful backdrop for the annual celebration of the Fête du Citron.

Created in 1934 the event now attracts thousands of visitors who come to relish the Promenade du Soleil, the dancers, confetti, music, parades and shows.

History of the “Menton lemon”

Menton-lemonsThe story of the Menton lemon goes back to the 15th century when it was modestly grown. Nowadays you can find a variety of lemons in the region, such as the Santa Theresa and the Villafranca lemon. The colour is bright yellow and reminds me of sunny days at the Riviera. The Menton lemon has a specific taste, it is rich in acid and essence and contains a high concentration of essential oil in the peel and has therefore a unique quality.  Each year 150 metric tons are produced and it is claimed that Menton is the only place in the world where the lemons taste delicious eaten from the tree.

At 24, Rue St Michel, you can find “Au pays de Citron”, a shop that sells lemon products like syrups, liqueur, olive oil and even honey.

At the Fete du Citron

Menton-Vieille-VilleWhen I visited this amazing spectacle, the sky was deep blue, the sun was shining, people were cheerful and palm fronds waved in the gentle breeze. The houses were the color of the citrus fruits which Menton is known for. Lemon and orange colors. A fruity view.

I strolled around for hours through the narrow, winding streets; on every corner delicious aromas assailed my senses. I climbed stairways to reach the top of the village and to delight in breathtaking views of the sea and the mountains. I had visited many villages on the Riviera, but this village stole my heart.

In the late afternoon I went to the beach and took a dip in the sea, I enjoyed the sun and the languorous ambience of the place. When it was time to go, I grabbed my stuff and headed to the beach bar, and relaxed in a lounge chair I sipped a cool drink and relived my day in Menton.

That evening, I walked through the maze of streets; it felt as if time had stood still. Laundry hung on the lines strung across the streets. The bell tower chimed it was time for dinner. The sound of the sea was mesmerizing and a full moon completed the magic…

Darina Nykl lives in Holland where she works in a hospital and is an author. She blogs about the stories she is writing which are mostly set in Amsterdam, Paris, Provence and the Cote d’Azur, places that inspire her: darinanykl.com

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