Nicknamed the Pearl of France, Menton is well-situated between mountains and the Med. The city was ruled by the Princes of Monaco until the French Revolution. It rejoined Monaco in 1814 and then separated from Monaco again about 40 years later. Apparently this was partly due to the tax that was being imposed on lemon exports. Lemons are a big deal in Menton.
Oranges and lemons
Even today, there’s a very popular Lemon Festival with a parade that has loads of floats decorated with lemons, oranges and tangerines. The parade runs every year in February. On average, this area has warmer winter evenings and milder winters than the rest of the Riviera, which make it a great place to grow citrus.
To be honest, I didn’t see all that many oranges growing on trees. I probably saw more in the streets of Tarragona. I’m guessing there are groves outside of the city limits where they’re farmed, but I didn’t see them.
The next leg
After exploring Menton and just a few nights in the olive grove campsite, we were on our way again. This time we were going to drive into Italy. The drive started off with lots and lots of tunnels. In no time we were in a different country and on our way to Florence.