Menton - The last town on the French Riviera

The coastal town of Menton marks the end of the French Riviera on the east side. In fact, it's the very last town on the south coast before crossing the Italian border. Known as the 'Pearl of France,' Menton doesn't disappoint and offers an authentic glimpse into the luxuries of the Cote d'Azur. On the whole, Menton is a welcomed extension of the coast. ​

Menton - The last town on the French Riviera

This charming town is home to historical monuments such as Saint Michel Basilica and renowned art institutions including the Jean Cocteau Museum. You’ll also find several manicured gardens. These green spaces showcase the best of Mediterranean flora and fauna. When you’re not marveling at military fortifications or admiring landscaped gardens, you’ll likely be enjoying seafood in the harbor or exploring the winding roads of nearby Mercantour National Park. 

A Stroll Around the Old Town 
Menton's Old Town is where you'll get your history fix and culture kick. You'll find a number of historical monuments and places of interest, including the Basilica of Saint Michel Archange. Built around 1653, and dedicated to the Prince Honore de Monaco, this Baroque Roman catholic church features a 17th-century organ. The building's yellow and green facade make it quite hard to miss when exploring the Old Town on foot. 

Similarly, the baroque architecture found on the Chapel of the White Penitents is also impressive. The chapel once belonged to Catholic laypeople in 1680 and today still stands tall in the center of the Old Town.

For your fix of greenery, add the Val Rahmeh Garden to your Menton to-do list. This picturesque botanical garden dates back to the 19th-century. The gardens are home to exotic trees, a fish pond, and subtropical plants. There's over one hectare of land to explore! In addition to this, another green area of interest is the absolutely spectacular Madonna's Greenhouse. Designed by American businessman Lawrence Johnson in the 1920s, the gardens are quintessentially French and delicately designed. 

The Jean Cocteau Museum 
No trip to Menton's is truly complete without brushing up on the history of Jean Cocteau. Cocteau, a French poet, playwright, and novelist (amongst other things), was a frequent resident of Menton. The poet stayed in Santo Sospir villa and, as such, developed a deep love for the town. He became an honorary citizen of Menton in 1958 after decorating the town's wedding hall. The Jean Cocteau Museum honors and protects the work of Cocteau. Inside you’ll find over 1000 graphic works. The museum spreads across seven sections, and guests can enjoy a guided tour of the exhibits or explore at leisure. 

A Road Trip to Sainte Agnes
Just a short drive north of Menton sits the commune of Sainte Agnes. The small town overlooks Menton and the Mediterranean Sea. Subsequently, it has been a popular road trip destination for years. 

The area's main draw is the Fort of the Maginot Line. This historical landmark is an old military base. The fort shares its name with the former Minister of War, Andre Maginot, and consists of concrete barricades. The barricades were previously used to deter a German invasion. The fort has been open to the public since 1978. Hence visitors jump at the chance to explore the Maginot Line Museum. Inside you'll find an array of historical artifacts, including weaponry. 

To get to Sainte Agnes, FranceRent can organize a private transfer by car. Alternatively, you can arrive by helicopter. The journey by road takes just under 30-minutes and involves sublime switch-back roads. However, the flight time is considerably shorter. From the air, you can enjoy spectacular birds-eye views of the French countryside and Mediterranean coastline. 

A Gateway to the Roya Valley
While Menton is entertainment enough, it also functions as a gateway to the nearby Roya Valley. The valley runs north from Menton to the small town of Tende. The road winds its way through traditional French villages as it goes. The area is a popular destination with hikers thanks to the surrounding Mercantour National Park. Consequently, you’ll notice plenty of walking trails. Day trips from Menton to the Roya Valley should cover the towns of Breil-sur-Roya. Don’t forget to visit Saorge, Fontan, and La Brigue too. 

One notable stop on the Roya Valley route is the Notre Dame de la Menor. This spectacular chapel sits atop a grassed stairway surrounded by rolling green hills. You'll find it on the road between Sospel and Moulinet, just 11-miles north of Menton. If you enjoy photography, don't forget your camera as this particular church is picture-perfect. 

Alternatively, another picture-perfect area nearby is the Tete de Chien. While not technically part of the Roya Valley, the Tete de Chien offers elevated views over the French Riviera. This rocky promontory stands at 550 meters high, and you'll find it just a short drive from the village of La Turbie. The rocky outcrop is the highest point on the Grande Corniche road, and, as such, offers unrivaled views as far as the eye can see. The outcrop is also one of the most visited spots on the route. On a clear day (which is most of the year-round) you’ll be able to see Monaco from your position on the rock.

Menton - The last town on the French Riviera

Admittedly sometimes, when planning a trip to the French Riviera, the town of Menton is forgone in favor of the bright lights of Nice, Cannes, and Monaco. However, this seaside resort town has just as much charm, glamour, and character as the bigger cities dotted along the coast. Menton also holds its own when it comes to boutique accommodation, fine-dining restaurants, and picturesque harbors. Undoubtedly, Menton has worked hard to earn the nickname of the 'Pearl of France.' In short, give Menton a shot. 

From Nice Cote d'Azur Airport, Menton is just a 40-minute drive or a short boat ride away. FranceRent can take care of all your luxury transfers needs in advance of your trip. If you want to touch down in Menton in style, consider chartering a yacht or arriving by private helicopter from Monaco. Alternatively, Menton makes a great end destination for those looking to sail the French Riviera from west to east. 

Related articles

Loading, please wait