Just a 40-minute drive from Nice Airport, with fantastic views and a stop-off in Monaco, Menton has year-round appeal – for parents and children.
Because it enjoys a subtropical microclimate, citrus fruit and exotic gardens have thrived here for centuriesand it has been on the map for its 365 days of sunshine a year.
The narrow, cobbled streets are filled with fruit sculptures, bright colours and the sound of marching bands. It also has two lovely town beaches with shallow, clean water, and there is plenty to explore.
When you’re not mingling with lemons and oranges, there is plenty more to see in this beautiful town. There are cafés in the main square, and for families it’s a convenient place to relax in because it’s accessible and good for children on wheels.
The markets showing off all of the locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables are a must-see – a good way to tempt reluctant toddlers to try something a little more exotic than apples and bananas. Menton has four French markets and three Italian markets each week, so there’s plenty of variety.
The town also has beautiful gardens to explore, two imposing baroque churches and two town beaches.
Don’t miss: The Fête du Citron, the annual Lemon Festival, which happens in February or March, and is one of the most vibrant times ofyear to visit.
Menton bursts into life as the locals celebrate the town’s citrus fruit production. An endless surge of families and masked revellers in fancy dress advance through the town. It’s a visual spectacular with something for everyone and the festival has been pulling crowds since 1895.
Highlights include a Moonlit Parade, the Parade of the Golden Fruit, a citrus display in the Jardin Biovès, a light and sound show, an orchid festival, and the chance to see local artisans in action, carving wood, engraving glass, and showing off their ceramics, pottery, and local cuisine. Kids will love the parade atmosphere.
Where to stay: The main bay sweeping round from the Italian border, on the Porte de France, has a pretty promenade with informal places to eat, as well as a number of hotels.
Set on the seafront, the Hôtel Napoléon has a swimming pool and a cool, modern feel. All rooms have TV, iPod dock and air conditioning and the hotel is 100m away from a private beach.
The staff there all speak good English and enquiries can be made through the website about activities in the area and around the hotel, as well as the accommodation and family facilities.
Price: From €275 for double occupancy with a garden or mountain view room.
How to get there: British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Nice; from £78 return.
Travel time: It is a 3 hour flight, with 45 mins transfer from Nice Airport to Menton.