When life gives you lemons, pack your bags and book a trip to Menton’s Lemon Festival 2024!
Although Menton may be one of more quiet towns in the French Riviera, it’s not without its charm and is undoubtedly hailed as the Pearl of France. The town boasts stunning coastline, pastel-coloured houses, a mild Mediterranean climate, a laid back atmosphere, and a picturesque backdrop of the snow-capped Alps. During the first months of the year, this sleepy town morphs into a vivid burst of yellows and oranges.
Behold the Lemon Festival, the annual colourful celebration of the town’s vibrant culture. Don’t miss the chance to join the festive spirit along with other tourists from all over the world.
A brief History of Lemon Festival
Fête du Citron, as they call it, is an exuberant celebration with a long history. The land’s abundant lemons and oranges, which the locals call fruits d’or or golden fruits, would be used by farmers in the 19th century to decorate their carts during the carnival season. Over the years, this tradition evolved into the vibrant and internationally renowned event that it is today.
The festival takes place on the 16th of February and stretches on until the 3rd of March, it also features a different theme every year. The last event’s theme was “Rock and Opera”, and this 2024’s event will revolve around the spirit of the upcoming Olympic games. Dubbed “The Olympic Games from Antiquity to the Present Day”, the 90th edition will be a true feast for the senses that will leave you in awe!
Here’s why the Lemon Festival is a must-see when visiting the French Riviera.
The main highlight – the fabulous citrus sculpture exhibition
Prepare to be amazed by the extravagant sculptures that line the streets of Menton, they are like nothing ever seen before! As you stroll along the roads and gardens, you’ll witness an array of larger-than-life statues covered in lemons and oranges. Pretty zesty and cool, if you ask us!
These featured works of art are painstakingly created by the local artisans.
In the recent festivals, the town’s lemons have magically transformed into Buddhas, dancers, animals, and even various architectural forms. With the Olympic games as next year’s theme, we can expect sculptures featuring different mythical creatures from the sports realm to be gleaming under the radiant Mediterranean sun.
Here are some amazing facts about the Lemon Festival’s sculptures and floats:
- Around 140 tonnes of citrus fruits are used in the garden and float displays
- Up to 18 tonnes of fruit is used for the most magnificent designs
- 5 tonnes of lemons and oranges are used to replace damaged fruit
- 750,000 elastic bands are used for attaching the fruits together
But of course, don’t forget to take a photo of Menton’s very own lemon mascot, John Lemon.
The joyful and vibrant festival parade
Join in on the festivities along with other tourists and the colourful floats weave through the town’s streets. To add to the excitement, the event also includes spirited costumed performers, citrus-themed displays, music, confetti, food and refreshments.
The infectious atmosphere will make it impossible to avoid engaging with the energy and enthusiasm of the locals and tourists. Your family and friends will relish in the collection of photos you will be able to capture to immortalise this magical festival.
The Garden of Lights at The Bioves Garden
As the sun sets, the Lemon Festival takes on a magical aura at The Garden of Lights or Jardins de lumières. The gigantic sculptures are illuminated with a kaleidoscope of lights, creating an enchanting spectacle that transforms Menton’s streets into a surreal wonderland.
The Night Parade
You can admire the display of colours at the Garden of Lights as well as enjoy The Night Parade. Although the featured lemon sculptures are the same during both of these segments, you’ll benefit from a whole different experience during the evening display as various lights and projectors illuminate the promenade.
A string of lively dancers and acrobats add thrill to the event with their impressive performances.
You’ll definitely not want to skip out on the spectacular 10 minute firework display that caps off the parade. A vibrant explosion of colour and light bursts onto Menton’s sky, making this a magical experience you’ll be sure to remember!
Art and Cultural Enrichment through Arts and Crafts
Fancy some art and crafts? The Lemon Festival also can also enrich your cultural and art senses. Apart from the stunning lemon and orange sculptures, there are fabulous art displays, exhibitions and workshops that are perfect for the whole family.
Instructors at the Palais de l’Europe typically conduct classes teaching the art of sculpting, ceramics, woodwork, glass engraving, and various other activities.
Gastronomic Lemon Delights
It’s a gastronomic feast you can’t miss when participating in The Lemon Festival. Savour the taste of a wide range of locally created lemon infused dishes and treats. Don’t miss out on the local favourite Tarte au Citron de Menton, a pastry filled with lemon cream. Yum!
The town’s restaurants and cafes offer a delightful culinary experience from lemon tarts, jams, and other lemon-flavoured delicacies. And with every delicious treat comes a decent amount of beverages to choose from including lemon cocktails and beers.
Menton’s idyllic location on the French Riviera just adds to the festival’s allure. Its backdrop of azure waters, charming pastel-coloured buildings, and lush gardens create an enchanting setting. It’s a feast for the eyes and soul.
Rent A Boat going to Menton!
Sail through the town of Menton onboard one of our luxury boats. There’s nothing more fascinating than experiencing the town’s coastline from the deck of your own private boat.
Travelling with a large group? We got the Squadron 52 Flybridge and the Princess V50 readily available for rent! But if you’re planning an intimate getaway to Menton with just your loved ones, we also have the Gobbi/Azimut Atlantis 315sc or the Cranchi 41. Our fleet is just what you need to explore the magnificent city of Menton.
Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer, a solo traveller, a cultural explorer, travelling with your family, or simply wanting to experience something extraordinary, the Lemon Festival is sure to leave you with a lasting impression.
See the lemons come to life – book a boat trip to Menton now!