Posted by: Marco | February 21, 2011

Lemon Fest!

Every year in February, the town of Menton goes crazy for lemons. Sure, the town is famous for its citrus fruit. Its micro-climate is perfect for the cultivation of all kinds exotic and semi-tropical fruit, but the citrus is king. In one public garden alone, 150 varieties of «agrumes», as they are called in French, are on display. In the Jardin du Carnolès, everything from tiny mandarins to giant pomelos compete for attention. February however is time to go lemon crazy.

This year from 18 February to 9 March, Menton is celebrating «La fête du citron». This is a major tourist attraction for the region so the town goes all out. Months of work go into the planning and preparation of this celebration. In the centre of town, in the gardens situated on the median of the Menton’s busiest boulevard, organizers set up  a static display of lemons and oranges. At this point, you must be thinking: “A static display of lemons….sounds like a grocery store.” You would be wrong…so unbelievably wrong. You see, the displays have to adhere to a theme. This year the theme is Great Civilizations. Decorated with oranges are a Mayan temple, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Sphinx, Stonehenge and more. It is stunning. See below for photos of the displays. Click here to see the full album on Picasa.

During the festival, the town hosts three major parades, or corsos as they are called. This involve bands, dancers, and huge floats decorated with lemons and oranges. Unfortunately, we left Menton before the first corso, but we did get to watch the kids parade, Le défilé des enfants.

Of course, the best thing about the Lemon Festival (La fête du citron), is the lemon itself and all the lovely products made with it. In Menton, the lemon is the main ingredient in several liquors, aperitif wines, liqueurs, jams, candies, soaps, lotions, aromatic oils, and lemon flavoured olive oil.

The next time you find yourself on the Côte d’Azur near the Italian border in February be sure to check out Menton’s Fête du Citron!

Carpe annum!

Trojan horse and soldiers (they don't look Greek!)

Anique and citrus mammoth

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Responses

  1. Wonderful experience – Wish I could be there to enjoy it as well. Passed Menton
    in 1998, driving up from Italy, to South of France , and always wanted to return.
    These photos are fabulous, so thank you for letting me enjoy them.
    Happy travels, Rose and Vic. Auckland. New Zealand.

  2. La fete du citron looks amazing! I can see this festival is no lemon. Orange you glad you were there?
    K

    • You’re great Koren!! Made me laugh out loud! Marco loves puns.

      Hope you are all well!

      Shannon

  3. WOW!!!! those pics were AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!

    thanx!


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