Introduction to the Festival
The Menton Lemon Festival brings the French Riviera to life each February in one of the most creatively unusual ways imaginable. What started in 1929, when a hotelier organised an exhibition of flowers and citrus fruits in the garden of Hotel Riviera, has flourished into the one of the largest events in the French Riviera, attracting a greater crowd even than Monaco’s Grand Prix.
Video credit: Fête du Citron
The Lemon Festival – which will take place from Saturday 11th February to Wednesday 1st March – annually attracts nearly one quarter of a million visitors, who gather to celebrate the region’s famous exports: citrus fruits. Visitors revel in merriment, enjoying marching bands, gigantic fruit sculptures, costumed entertainers, parades and fireworks. Menton’s delicacy dish, lemon pie, is also not to be missed.
The Theme for 2017
This year marks the 84th celebration of the Lemon Festival. The theme for 2017, Broadway, pays tribute to the iconic musicals of New York. Envisage fanciful costumes, entertaining spectacles and, of course, lemons! Not sure what to expect? Here’s a list of highlights that will make the Menton Lemon Festival 2017 one not to forget.
Video credit: Fête du Citron
The Highlights of the Festival in 2017
- Friday 10th February at 8.30 pm – Gardens of Light
- From 11th February to 1st March – an exhibition of citrus patterns
- Sunday 12th February at 2.30 pm – Golden Fruits Parade
- Thursday 16th February at 9 pm – Night parade, followed by fireworks
- Friday 17th February at 8.30 pm – Gardens of Light
- Sunday 19th February at 2.30 pm – Golden Fruit Parade
- Thursday 23th February at 9 pm – Night Parade, followed by fireworks
- Friday 24th February at 8.30 pm – Gardens of Light
- Sunday 26th February at 2.30 pm – Golden Fruit Parade
While the garden of lights opens on the evening of Friday 10th February, The citrus exhibitions in the gardens are open from Saturday 11st February at 2 pm.
Arts and Crafts Show
Aside from entertainment, the festival offers a craft market, Salon de l’Artisanat, where local artisans present their work, ranging from wooden sculptures to ceramics and glass engravings. Don’t miss the local limoncello, a refreshing lemon liquor!
Be sure to book a table at Mirazur, where the two-Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco will create plates that burst with the ingredients, flavours and colours of the Côte d’Azur, with a special nod citrus fruits. Describing the special Menton lemon, Colagreco said: ‘It has an extraordinary smell, thanks to Menton’s very specific climate. The variation in temperature between night and day during winter makes it different to other lemons.’
How to Get to the Menton Lemon Festival 2017?
Situated less than 15 miles from Monaco, Menton not only offers the flair of the festival each year, but is also known for its unending sunshine, inspiring Italian architecture and exquisite French cuisine. Dubbed the “Pearl of France,” Menton is growing in popularity both with locals and tourists. Many residents venture from their apartments in Monaco to visit the favourable resort town of Menton, enjoying the relaxed pace of life and the friendly seaside atmosphere, among other attractions.