Destination Inspiration: Menton, France

Destination Inspiration: Menton, France

The go-slow harbour town of Menton makes for the ultimate romantic getaway. With a glittering coastline, colourful buildings and palm-fringed avenues, it’s the epitome of French Riviera chic.


Menton, France.

Why now?

The South of France is recognised for many things,
with its glittering coastline, rolling lavender fields and
world-class wine often topping the best-of lists. But, having been
made popular by writers, artists and celebrities, many of its
stretches of golden sand have become something of a haven for
sunburnt holidaymakers. We suggest skipping the tourist-swamped
Nice and St Tropez and, instead, savouring a slice of
traditional French culture in the delightful harbour town of

Nicknamed “the Pearl of France”, the town is located near the
Franco-Italian border between Provence and Genoa: picture a colourful streetscape
decorated with belle époque palaces, ruby-red, shuttered villas and
pops of marigold at every turn. Compact and bijou, this is a place
best explored on foot. Stroll palm-fringed avenues, hop between
serene beaches – Plage Rondelli is our favourite – and taste your
way through the area’s delicious culinary specialities, which
include hearty bouillabaisse and fluffy lemon desserts (this being
the centre of France’s lemon industry).

The promenade in Menton, France
Colourful houses in Menton, France

Don’t miss

Set aside some time to get lost in the Val Rahmeh-Menton Botanical Garden. Dating back to
1875, it is Menton’s oldest and best-loved green space. The
brainchild of Lord Percy Radcliffe, former Governor of Malta, the
garden is home to subtropical plants and the likes of kiwis,
avocados and ginger gifted from Asia and South America. Wander
between citrus trees and water lily-blanketed ponds, before basking
away the afternoon on a sea-facing bench.

Where to stay?

Book a room at Villa Genesis, partly for its huge, palm-flanked
swimming pool, but mainly for its super-comfortable beds.

Where to go for dinner?

The sign of a dependably good restaurant is tables packed with
locals. Enter, La
. This leafy oasis looks the part, too, its
ocean-blue shutters bookended by cascades of wisteria. The
courtyard, bathed by moonlight, is the centre of the action. We
love the prawn salad, especially when accompanied by an extra-large
Bloody Mary. Vegan? No problem. There are plenty of plant-based
dishes on the menu.

A street in Menton, France

And for a drink…

, for tapas-style feasting and fresh, flavour-packed

Who to take with you

Take your main squeeze and go to town on romantic candlelit

When to go

Unsure of where to spend your bank holiday? This is the place.
Temperatures tickle 20C, humidity is low and the summer crowds are
still some way off, making for an idyllic, sun-soaked long weekend
of R&R.

Essentials to pack

A hat. This Isabel Marant cap is the epitome of riviera
chic, effortlessly taking you from day to evening and complementing
your bouncy blow-dry.

How to get there

Fly direct from London Gatwick to Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, from
where Menton is just a 35-minute drive.

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