Where to Stay in Nice in 2024: Best Places in 10 Neighborhoods
French Riviera

Day Trip from Nice to Menton

View of Menton

Menton is an easy and delightful day trip from Nice. Just a few kilometers from the Italian border, Menton is famed for its mild climate and its annual Fete de Citron (lemon festival) each February. The long stretch of beach attracts sun-worshippers in the summer but there's a great deal to see all year. The mixture of French and Italian influences makes the Old Town a fascinating place to wander with constant reminders of its history. Framed by luxuriant Mediterranean greenery, Menton is one of the prettiest towns on the Riviera. So let's get started.

Getting to Menton

Train to Menton

Menton is easily accessible by bus or train from Nice. The fastest way to get to Menton is to take the train from Nice. It only takes 35 minutes from Nice train station to the Menton train station. Do not descend at the Garavan train station which is on the eastern edge of Menton. From the Menton train station, it's about a 20-minute walk downhill to the town center. The price is about €13 return.

Although it's certainly possible to buy a ticket at the train station, lines at the train station ticket machines can be long and the process can be time-consuming if you're not used to it. It's better to buy your tickets now on thetrainline or download their app (Android or iPhone). The SNCF website also handles online ticketing but the app (Android or iPhone) is faster and more user-friendly. Once your ticket is on your phone with a QR code you're good to go. The tickets no longer need to be validated in a machine before boarding the train. A controller may ask to scan the QR code when you're onboard.

Bus to Menton

At €2.50 the bus to Menton is cheaper but it takes 1 1/4 hours to make the journey, maybe more, depending on traffic. It is a scenic journey as the bus takes the coastal road stopping at Villefranche-sur-Mer, Beaulieu-sur-Mer and Monte Carlo. Catch bus 600 at Port Lympia which runs every 15 to 30 minutes. Do not take the bus to the Gare Routiere in Menton as it's outside the town center. Instead, get off at the Place d'Armes or Casino.

Getting Around Menton

Menton has launched a free shuttle service that covers 10 stops from the train station through the town center. It runs every 20 minutes from 9am to 6pm daily. Just hop aboard! Check out the map:

Menton free shuttle

Dining in Menton

Menton cuisine is heavily influenced by neighboring Italy. You can't go wrong with a plate of seafood pasta. As Menton is famous for lemons, you must try a local lemonade. Look on rue Saint Michel.

Menton lemonade stand

There are a number of restaurants lining the Promenade du Soleil bordering the sea. The best is La Mandibule. There are a number of restaurants on the pleasant Place du Cap. Try Pizza Vesuvio for pizzas and pinsas.

Vesuvio, Menton

Map of Menton Sights

Things to Do on a Menton Day Trip

Admire Belle Epoque Architecture

Menton is a town divided between the "new" portion which lies south of the train station and the "old" portion which lies to the east. New Menton developed from the 19th century and contains some excellent examples of Belle Epoque architecture. Walk down from the train station through the shady Jardins Biovés and on your left you'll see the

Palais de l'Europe, built in 1909 and now housing the tourist office

Palais de l'Europe, Menton

the Residence Victoria, formerly the Residence Victoria et des Princes, built as a hotel in 1868

Residence Victoria, Menton

Further east on the rue de la Republique is the Hotel de Ville (town hall) built in 1860

Hotel de Ville, Menton

If it's open, take a peek at the Salle des Marriages with murals painted by Jean Cocteau.

Stroll the Promenade du Soleil

Promenade du Soleil, Menton

Menton's seaside Promenade recalls Nice's Promenade des Anglais but with less traffic. On one side are Menton's beaches and on the other stately hotels and residences.

Shop at the Marché des Halles

Marché des Halles, Menton

This colorful covered market was designed by architect Adrian Rey and built in 1898. It's a great place to pick up fruit, cheese, fish, meat and snacks. Open daily until 1pm.

Stop in the Jean Cocteau Bastion Museum

Jean Cocteau Bastion Museum

This tiny museum lodged in an abandonned 17th-century fort was entirely designed by the painter Jean Cocteau before his death in 1963. Look for multicolored pastels, tapestries, paintings and ceramics. Open 10am-12.30pm & 2-6pm (closed Tuesday).

Jean Cocteau tapestry

Wander the Streets of the Old Town

Street in Old Menton

The narrow streets of Menton's Old Town are a pleasure to wander. Menton was a part of Monaco from 1346 to 1848 and then spent 10 years under the House of Savoy before joining France in 1860. The pastel houses of the Menton Old Town recall Vieux Nice, also under Savoy rule. The town is sprinkled with markers of its history such as the Porte Saint Antoine, one of the four medieval gates to the town

Porte Saint Antoine

Many of the historical sites are accompanied by plaques that explain the site in French and English. Helpful!

Hit the Beach

Menton Beach

The long Menton coastline stretches east and west of the old town. The beaches are narrow and can fill up but the water is clean and calm. See more about Menton beaches.

Visit the Basilique Saint Michel Archange

Saint Michel Ramp

Take the stairs, Les Rampes Saint Michel (above) to the 17th-century Saint Michael's Basilica, a baroque jewel. The richly decorated interior is a festival of 17th and 18th-century style. The church is open 3-5pm Mon-Fri, 10am-noon and 3-5pm Saturday and for 11am mass on Sunday.

Basilique Saint Michel Archange

Across from the church is the entrance to the charming rue Mattoni and a network of medieval streets.

Rue Mattoni, Menton

North of the church is the Chapelle des Penitents Blancs, built in 1687.

Chapelle des Penitents Blancs, Menton

Visit the Cimitiere du Vieux Chateau

Just a short walk up from the churches is Menton's cemetery with spectacular views over the coast. It's a peaceful spot with elaborately carved tombs.

Menton cemetery

View from Menton cemetery

Jardin Exotique Val Rahmeh

Jardin Exotique Val Rahmeh

From the cemetery, take boulevard de Garavan to the Val Rahmeh botanical gardens, a delightful oasis of greenery overlooking the coast. Admire 100-year-old olive trees, lotus flowers and giant water lilies in the pond. Entrance €8, closed Tuesdays.

 

 

 

 

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