After spending the month in the south of France last summer visiting various cities large and small, there was one town in particular that I just couldn’t forget. It had the most beautiful, pastel-colored buildings you could imagine and it overlooked a turquoise-blue bay on the Mediterranean Sea. Nestled in the corner of France, and literally on the border of Italy, Menton was a town I longed to return to one day.
Well, this past summer turned out to be that day!
In June, I rented a lovely Airbnb with a fantastic view in the small French town of Menton and spent two glorious weeks basking in the Provençal sun and indulging in everything the town had to offer.
It’s weeks like those that I am truly thankful to be working remotely. Just imagine this: Waking up in the morning, grabbing a cappuccino in town, eating a croissant on the beach, and then swimming in the sea on an uncrowded beach before starting work. It’s a dream come true!
Here are several of my favorite places from my restorative trip to Menton:
Get a Tan on Plage des Sablettes
Plage des Sablettes is the nicer of Menton’s two main beaches. It faces a small bay that is partially sectioned off from the Mediterranean Sea by long rock piers. People go swimming here every day because you don’t have strong waves from the sea.
Walk Down the Sunny Promenade du Soleil
The Promenade du Soleil is a long walkway adjacent to the other main Menton beach. It’s a lovely place to take a walk along the coast.
The history of the promenade dates back to the mid-19th century when Menton was rapidly developing as a resort town for wealthy tourists. The promenade was originally a simple walkway along the beach, but it gradually expanded and improved over time.
In the early 20th century, the promenade was extended to connect the old town of Menton with the newer areas of the town, and during the 1920s and 1930s, the promenade was further embellished with ornamental gardens, fountains, and sculptures, creating a beautiful and peaceful oasis.
Admire the View from the Saint Michael Archangel Basilica
The Basilique Saint Michel Archange de Menton is a beautiful Catholic church in Menton’s old town, and the plaza in front of it offers stunning views of the beach.
The church has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century. Construction of the church began in 1619, at the behest of the Princes of Monaco, who controlled Menton at the time. The church was designed in the Baroque style, which was popular at the time, and it was built using locally quarried stone. The main altar of the church was consecrated in 1653, but construction of the church continued for several more decades. Finally, on May 8, 1675, Monsignor Maur Promontorio, Bishop of Ventimiglia, consecrated the new church in the presence of Prince Louis I.
You have to take a steep climb of stairs to reach the church, but the view is totally worth it! If you’ve watched the TV show Riviera, one of the scenes was filmed in this square!
Restaurant Mirazur is a Michelin-starred restaurant serving creative French dishes while overlooking the sea. Inspired by both the sea and the mountains, Chef Mauro Colagreco put together creative dishes you won’t forget.
Marché des Halles
Also called La Pescaria de Menton, the Marché des Halles is where you can shop for fresh fish in Menton if you want to cook at home!
Val Rahmeh-Menton Botanical Garden
The Jardin Botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton is a scenic 19th-century botanical garden with exotic plants, trees, and a pond.
Jean Cocteau Museum – Severin Wunderman Collection
The Jean Cocteau Museum houses the work of Jean Cocteau (1889-1963), a French artist, writer, and filmmaker, known for his influential work in a variety of creative fields, including literature, poetry, theater, visual art, and cinema. He was associated with various avant-garde artistic movements, including Surrealism, and was a key figure in the cultural life of France in the first half of the 20th century.
The museum was designed by the architect Rudy Ricciotti and opened in 2011. It contains a collection of artworks, personal items, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials related to Cocteau’s life and career.
The museum’s collection includes paintings, drawings, ceramics, and other works by Cocteau, as well as pieces by other artists who were part of his circle, such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The museum also includes a screening room for showing Cocteau’s films, as well as a gift shop and a cafe.
Grab some French pastries and drink tea at this highly-rated bakery in Menton called Vanilla, located at 3 Av. Félix Faure.
Explore the Old Town
I loved exploring the beautiful city center of Menton, with its pastel-colored buildings and neoclassical sculptures on seemingly every block.
If you’re traveling to Menton and feel like taking a hike, be sure to check out Cimetière du Vieux Château, where you can see the best view in Menton!