Menton is reachable by car along the A8 motorway, or if time isn’t pressing you could take the coast road. We however went by train. An adult return fare from Vallauris-Golfe Juan to Menton is €14.66 for a journey that takes just over the hour.
Menton Railway Station
The area itself has been inhabited since pre-historic times but only gained some importance when under Roman influence. However it was in the 11th century that an initial permanent settlement was created. Since then control of the town passed from one noble to another until after the French Revolution when it was annexed to France.
From around the late-1800’s tourism became a major factor in the town’s growth. This was mainly due to Doctor James Henry Bennett who encouraged tuberculosis sufferers to visit the area as a way to improve their health.
Doctor James Henry Bennett
The town was popularised by English and Russian aristocrats who constructed luxurious villas, hotels and palaces. A frequent visitor was the writer Robert Louis Stevenson. Queen Victoria also visited Menton.
The Winter Palace The Orient Le Balmoral
We stayed at Le Balmoral – a quaint hotel. Certainly not to the standards of hotels that I have been used to in Australia: for one thing there were no beverage making facilities in the room nor a fridge, but classed as a 3 star hotel so perhaps being France it doesn’t qualify for those facilities. The staff, on the other hand were friendly, helpful and efficient. We had dinner at the hotel on the first night of arrival [Monday 18th] and the food was superb. Breakfast the following morning was another story and was most disappointing. The single room I occupied was another let down. Although the room in itself was adequate the bed was possibly intended for a child. It was extremely low and narrower than one would expect a normal single bed. The rate for the night was €87 which I thought was high for a 3 star hotel and for the “lack” of facilities in the room. Oh! They did have a TV – at least that was something.
However I didn’t go to Menton for the hotel. I spent most of the time walking around the town sight-seeing; and there was so much to see.
Although Menton is nice to visit in summer, I am told the best time is February for their Lemon Festival. I guess I will be heading off again then to witness this event, although I shall not be staying at Le Balmoral.
As pictures speak louder than words here are a just a few snaps of the place for your pleasure:
A word about the beaches they are consisted of a conglomerate of stones rather than sand – so a bit tough on the feet. If you are after sandy beaches then you won’t find any until you reach Golfe-Juan.
If the beaches aren’t for you then there is a vast array of boutiques, shoe shops, museums, galleries, cafés, restaurants, and gardens, as well as a casino to keep you more than occupied.
Menton is a beautiful town, one worth a visit, and even worth returning to.
For more information check out the Menton Visitors’ Guide at:
Until the next time – Happy Travelling!!
RLB – Tomewriter