A collection of villas in eye-catching shades of yellow, pink and orange, punctuated by the occasional church spire, cascade down the mountainside towards the glittering azures of the Mediterranean, where the pebbly beaches, while full during the summer season are refreshingly less so as the year dwindles — even though the sun rarely stops shining. This, the pretty village of Menton is perched on the edge of the French border with Italy, the last stop before the Côte d'Azur transforms into the Riviera Ligure, and a surprising little town that has all the beauty of nearby Monaco and Nice, but barely a smattering of the popularity.
Away from the beaches, Menton’s charms are aesthetic and culinary — and there’s an undeniable Italian flair to it all. The backstreets of the old town rise and fall in narrow, red-brick streets filled with cafes, shops and the occasional Italian delicatessen, all perfect for lazy summer strolls. Pasta restaurants line the seafront close to the port, and the world’s best restaurant in 2019 — 3 Michelin-starred Mirazur — sits perched overlooking the water and boasts its own gardens filled with enviable produce that chef Mauro Colagreco uses to create exquisite dishes that pay particular attention to Menton’s symbolic citrus fruits. Visit Menton in February to witness the carnival-like Lemon Festival that celebrates the vast lemon harvest with numerous parades and wacky sculptures made from so many lemons and oranges.