1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers
> 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes
(e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.
Menton (French pronunciation: [mɑ̃tɔ̃];
Occitan: [meˈta], written
Menton in classical norm or Mentan in
Mistralian norm; Italian: Mentone [menˈtoːne]) is a commune in the
Alpes-Maritimes department in the
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region
in southeastern France.
Situated on the French Riviera, along the Franco-Italian border, it is
nicknamed perle de la
France ("Pearl of France").
4 Colleges and universities
6 Origin of the name
7 Annual town events
9 Notable residents
10 International relations
11 See also
13 External links
Menton area has been inhabited since the paleolithic era, and is
the site of the original "Grimaldi Man" find of early modern humans,
as well as remains of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons. In Roman times,
the Via Julia Augusta, a road connecting Placentia (now Piacenza) with
Arelates (now Arles) passed through Menton, running along the Rue
Longue in the old town. The first major settlement occurred during
the 11th century CE, when the Count of Ventimiglia constructed the
Château de Puypin (Podium Pinum) on the Pépin hill, north and west
of the modern town centre. During the 13th century, the seigneury of
Puypin fell to the Vento family of
Genoa who built a new castle along
the Roman road, now the site of the Vieux-Château cemetery, providing
the core around which the current town grew.
Menton was thus
incorporated into the Republic of Genoa. The first mention of Menton
dates from 21 July 1262, in the peace treaty between Charles of Anjou
and Genoa. Its position on the border between the Angevin-ruled
Provence and the Republic of Genoa, which at the time claimed Monaco
as its western limit, made it a coveted location.
Menton, as part of Monaco, was the extreme western area of the
Genoa (green color) in 1664.
Acquired in 1346 by Charles Grimaldi, Lord of Monaco,
Menton was ruled
by the Princes of
Monaco until the French Revolution. Annexed during
Menton remained part of
France through the First
Empire. It belonged to the district of
Sanremo in the department of
Alpes-Maritimes, which at the time included
Monaco and Sanremo.
Menton was included in a reconstituted principality of Monaco
which, after Napoleon's
Hundred Days in 1815, became a protectorate of
the King of Sardinia. The Princes of
Monaco were obliged to do homage
to the King for Menton, although not for
Map of the territory of the free cities of
Menton and Roquebrune in
In 1848, Menton, along with its neighbour Roquebrune, seceded from
Monaco, due at least in part to a tax imposed on lemon exports.
They proclaimed themselves a "free city" during the 1848 revolutions
related to the Italian Risorgimento, then two years later placed
themselves under the protection of the
Kingdom of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia where they
were administered by the
House of Savoy
House of Savoy for ten years.
The Treaty of Turin concluded on 24 March 1860 between the Kingdom of
Sardinia and Napoleon III's
France called for the annexation of
County of Nice
County of Nice to France, subject to a plebiscite, as a reward for
French assistance in Italy's war against Austria. The plebiscite, with
universal adult male suffrage, was held on April 15 and 16, 1860, and
resulted in an overwhelming vote in favour of annexation (833 for
versus 54 against in
Menton and Roquebrune), despite complaints of
rigged elections from, among others, Nice-born Italian nationalist
Giuseppe Garibaldi. The county of
Nice was thus
France that June, and Napoleon III paid 4 million
francs in compensation to the prince of Monaco, who renounced his
rights in perpetuity on 2 February 1861.
The publication of Winter and Spring on the Shores of the
Mediterranean (1861) by the English doctor
James Henry Bennett
James Henry Bennett had a
profound effect on Menton, making it a popular destination for
sufferers of tuberculosis. By the end of the 19th century, tourism
was an important factor in Menton's growth. The town was popular with
English and Russian aristocrats who built many of the luxurious
hotels, villas, and palaces which still grace
Menton today. Many of
these hotels and palaces were pressed into service as hospitals during
World War I to allow injured troops to recuperate in a pleasant
Menton harbour, photograph by Jean Gilletta, early 1900s
Menton was the only sizable settlement captured by
Italy during its
France in June 1940. Following the armistice of June 22,
1940, two-thirds of the territory of the commune was annexed by Italy
as terra irredenta. The annexation lasted until 8 September 1943.
Although officially returned to Vichy France,
Menton was in fact
Nazi Germany until its liberation by American and Canadian
troops of the
First Special Service Force
First Special Service Force on 8 September 1944.
The port and the old part of town
View of the port of Menton
Menton, nicknamed the Pearl of France, is located on the Mediterranean
Sea at the Franco-Italian border, just across from the Ligurian town
The fishing industry was devastated in the 1980s and 1990s when a
combination of overfishing and hypoxia in the bay. At the time, the
devastation was erroneously attributed to the dubiously nicknamed
Caulerpa taxifolia (a non-native Asian tropical green
alga first discovered in the
Mediterranean Sea adjacent to the
Oceanographic Museum of
Monaco in 1984) spread throughout the coastal
sea floor. Later, sound scientific findings revealed that the seaweed
was adept at absorbing pollutants and excess nutrients, actually
aiding the recovery of native
Posidonia sea grass and enhancing
local fish populations and overall biodiversity.
Menton has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa, according to the
Köppen climate classification). However, the milder winters (on
average) and the warmer nights in summer (on average), compared to the
rest of the French Mediterranean coastal area, provide
Menton with a
particular micro-climate (experienced from
Menton, toward the Italian border) that is favorable to tangerine,
orange and lemon groves, hence one of the town's symbols, the lemon.
Winter frosts are extremely rare but may occasionally occur every few
years. Likewise, summer temperatures are relatively moderate, rarely
rising above 30°C.
Climate data for
Alpes-Maritimes department, France),
2009-2016 temperature data only[a]
Record high °F (°C)
Mean maximum °F (°C)
Average high °F (°C)
Average low °F (°C)
Mean minimum °F (°C)
Record low °F (°C)
Source: Météo Climat BZH
^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the expected highest and lowest
temperature readings at any point during the year or given month)
calculated based on data at said location from 2009 to 2016. Extremes
from 2009 to 2016 as well.
Menton from the sea
Menton decorated window
Menton is famous for its gardens, including the Jardin Serre de la
Jardin botanique exotique de Menton
Jardin botanique exotique de Menton ('Le Val Rahmeh'), the
Fontana Rosa, the Maria Serena garden, and the modernist gardens of
Les Colombières. Le Val Rahmeh was established in 1905 by
Englishman Sir Percy Radcliffe, the first owner of the gardens, and
named for his wife. Villa
Fontana Rosa was built in 1922 by Blasco
Ibáñez, a Spanish novelist, and the gardens of the villa are now
open to the public.
The baroque basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange, with its belltower, was
built in 1619 by the Genoese architect Lorenzo Lavagna.
The Bastion Museum, which features decoration by Jean Cocteau, is
located in the Bastion of the port of Menton. The bastion, built
overwater in 1636 as an advance defense for the port by the Princes of
Monaco, is now located at the shoreline.
The wedding room at the Mairie (town hall) was painted in the 1950s by
Cocteau, transforming it into a giant work of art.
Menton is home to at least half a dozen beaches.
The historic covered market was built in 1898 by local architect
Adrien Rey. The market is open every day from 5 am until
1 pm in the summer; in the winter, it opens at 5:30 am. Over
30 kiosks both inside and around the market sell local and imported
Belle Époque structure was one of many famous
buildings constructed by the architect in the region.
Next to the beach and the covered market is the
Jean Cocteau Museum.
It opened in 2011 and is close to the Bastion Museum.
Colleges and universities
Middle East and Mediterranean campus of Sciences Po
Mentonasc dialect is currently spoken by about 10% of the
population in Menton, Roquebrune, and the surrounding
villages. It is taught within the French educational
system, as a variety of
Niçard (i.e. Provençal and Occitan).
However, in nineteenth-century linguistic descriptions, as well as
in contemporary linguistic scholarship,
described as an intermediate between
Niçard and the
of Ligurian. Some scholars insist that
Mentonasc is, at its base, a
Ligurian dialect, with French influences coming only later, and
that its supposed misclassification as a variety of Provençal has
essentially political motives.
Origin of the name
Although the name's spelling and pronunciation in French are identical
to those for the word that means "chin", there does not seem to be any
link with this French word. According to the French geographer Ernest
Nègre, the name
Menton comes from the Roman name Mento. However,
it is possible that the name of the city comes from Mons Ottonis
(reconstituted) from the name of Otton II, the Count of
Ventimiglia from 1162-1200. In Mentonasc, the city's name is
Mentan (pronounced [mẽˈtã]), and in Italian Mentone
An inhabitant of Menton, un mentonnais or un mentonasque in French,
would be O mentonasc in the local dialect.
Annual town events
Lemon Festival takes place every February. The festival follows a
given theme each year; past themes include Viva España, Disney,
Neverland, and India. The festival lasts a few days, with different
bands passing through Menton's streets on foot or on truck trailers.
The Casino Gardens in the centre of town are decorated in the theme of
the festival, using lemons to cover the exhibits, and huge temporary
statues are built and covered with citrus fruit.
The Casino Gardens are also the location for Menton's Christmas
Menton Classical Musical Festival is also held every year in the
centre of the old town.
Menton has a football team, Rapid de Menton, who play at the stadium
Stade Lucien Rhein.
Menton also has a rugby team, Le rugby Club Webb
Ellis de Menton.
Émile Appay - Menton
Notables who were born, lived, or died in
Jérôme Alonzo (born 1972), French first division football
goalkeeper, born in
Menton 20 November 1972
Richard Anconina (born 1953), French actor; before his film career, he
worked for several years at a holiday club for seniors in Menton
Émile Appay (1876–1935), French landscape painter, spent time in
Menton over the years with beautiful paintings of the sea.
Ferdinand Bac (1859–1952), French illustrator, lithographer, and
writer; developed the house and gardens of
Les Colombières above
Menton for Émile and Caroline Ladan-Bockairy. The house contains
frescoes and modernist furniture by Bac, with a large garden set over
Les Colombières is a Monument Historique and has been
Aubrey Vincent Beardsley
Aubrey Vincent Beardsley (1872–1898), English illustrator and author
Lesley Blanch (1904–2007), English-born writer
Blasco Ibáñez (1867–1928), Spanish author; at the end of
his life, lived on his estate, Fontana Rosa, in Menton
René Clément (1913–1996)
Jean Cocteau (1889–1963), French artist, spent much time in Menton
over the years; the
Jean Cocteau Museum is in Menton; decorated the
wedding room in Menton's town hall, and the small stone bastion in
Menton's harbour wall
Olivier Echouafni (born 1972), French first division football
midfielder, born in
Menton 13 September 1972
William Webb Ellis
William Webb Ellis (1806–1872), inventor of rugby; lived in Menton
at the end of his life and is buried in the old cemetery
Sébastien Gattuso (born 1971), Monégasque athlete specializing in
Ivan Grigorovich (1853–1930), Imperial Russian Navy admiral, lived
Menton after the Russian Revolution
Panait Istrati (1884–1935), Romanian writer of French and Romanian
expression (friends with Romain Rolland); lived in
Menton for a brief
period and has a street in
Menton named after him
Joseph Joffo (born 1931), French author; lived temporarily in Menton
during World War II
Anatoly Lunacharsky (died 1933), Russian Marxist revolutionary and the
first Soviet People's Commissar of Enlightenment responsible for
culture and education; died in Menton
Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923), New Zealand modernist short story
writer who lived and worked in a street now named after her. Her
former home, the Villa Isola Bella is used as the residence for New
Zealand writers who receive the
to live and write there for a year.
Charles H. Spurgeon
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1892), British Baptist preacher; died in
Graham Sutherland (1903–1980), English painter
Philip Meadows Taylor
Philip Meadows Taylor (1808–1876), British Indian civil servant and
Hans-Georg Tersling (1857–1920), Danish architect, designed many
buildings in the town
Cédric Varrault (born 1980), French first division football defender;
began his career with the
Menton football club
William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats (born 1865), Irish writer and poet; died in
Menton 28 January 1939 (aged 73).
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in France
Menton is twinned with:
Laguna Beach, United States
Gisburn, United Kingdom
Knights of the Redeemer
List of historical unrecognized states
Former countries in Europe after 1815
Communes of the
^ "Menton, "perle de la France"" (in French). Office de Tourisme de
^ Émile Rivière, Découverte d'un Squelette Humain de l'Époque
Paléolithique Dans les Cavernes des Baoussé-Rousse dites Grottes de
Menton (Discovery of a Human Skeleton from the
Paleolithic in the
Caverns of Baoussé-Rousse also known as the Grottes de Menton),
(J.-B. Baillière et Fils, Paris, 1873) (in French)
^ La rue Longue (Official site of the town of Menton, accessed April
2009) (in French)
^ Ermanno Amicucci. Nizza e l'Italia. Mondadori editore. Milano, 1939.
Menton on the
French Riviera (accessed April 2009)
^ Ermanno Amicucci. Nizza e l'Italia. p 58-61
^ a b Monaco, Menton, and Roquebrune
^ Ted Jones (15 December 2007). The French Riviera: A Literary Guide
for Travellers. Tauris Parke Paperbacks.
^ La libération de
Menton (The Liberation of Menton, Official site of
the town of Menton, Accessed April 2009) (in French)
^ Jaubert, J. M., J. R. M. Chisholm,
G. Passeron-Seitre, D. Ducrot, H. T. Ripley, and
L. Roy. 1999. No deleterious alterations in
Posidonia beds in the
Menton (France) eight years after Caulerpa taxifolia
colonization. Journal of Phycology 35:1113-1119.
^ Francour, P., M. Harmelin-Vivien, J. G. Harmelin, and
J. duClerc. 1995. Impact of
Caulerpa taxifolia colonization on
the littoral ichthyofauna of northwestern Mediterranean. Hydrobiologia
^ "Station Name: MENTON (FRANCE)". March 2017. Retrieved
^ "The "Colombières" garden".
Menton – Gardens. Menton.com.
Archived from the original on 6 December 2013. Retrieved 17 November
^ "Belle Epoque in Menton". Riviera Kitchen. 2011-09-29. Retrieved
^ a b Edwards, Natasha (16 October 2012). "Menton, France: On the Jean
Cocteau museum trail". The Daily Telegraph.
^ James Bruny Andrews, Il dialetto di Mentone, in quanto egli tramezzi
ideologicamente tra il provenzale e il ligure (The dialect of Menton,
in which it is ideologically intermediate between Provençal and
Ligurian) in Archivio Glottologico Italiano XII, 1890/92, pp. 97-106.
^ J.-P. Dalbera, Interférences entre provençal et ligurien dans la
génèse du système morphologique mentonnais (Interferences between
Provençal and Ligurian in the genesis of the Mentonnais morphological
system) in Bulletin du Centre de romanistique et de latinité tardive
4-5, Nice, 1989, pp. 89-97.
^ W. Forner L'Intemelia linguistica, in Intemelion 1, Sanremo, 1995,
pp. 67-82. (in Italian)
^ Le mentonnais entre toutes les chaises ? in Lexique
Français-Mentonnais (Caserio & al. 2001) (in French)
^ Werner Forner.À propos du ligurien intémélien - La côte,
l'arrière-pays, Travaux du Cercle linguistique de Nice, 7-8, 1986,
^ F. Toso, Il brigasco e l'olivettese tra classificazione scientifica
e manipolazioni politico-amministrative Intermelion #14 p. 103, 2008
^ Ernest Nègre, General Toponym of France : Etymology of 35,000
place names, Geneva : Librairie Droz, 1990. Volume I :
Pre-Celtic, Celtic, and Roman names, § 11 118, p 664 (in French).
^ (in French)Fondation de Menton
^ "Rugby Club Webb Ellis Menton : présentation des règles du
rugby, boutique maillot de rugby". Rugbyclub-webbellis.com.
2012-12-15. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
^ "The "Colombières" garden". Domain Colombières. Monument
historique. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
^ Foreman, Liza (24 August 2013). "More Than Just a Famous Garden".
The New York Times.
^ "Obituary: Lesley Blanch". The Guardian. 10 May 2007.
^ "Association Suisse des Communes et Régions d'Europe".
L'Association suisse pour le Conseil des Communes et Régions d'Europe
(ASCCRE) (in French). Archived from the original on 2012-07-24.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Menton.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Menton.
Tourist office website
Tourist office website (English version)
City council website
Menton at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Images of Menton
Menton holiday information page
Culture and local traditions
Communes of the