If I were to ask you about cultural or traditional french events that take place during winter on the French Riviera, no doubt the world-renowned Nice Carnival and its flower battle would come to mind. But that’s not the only celebration you can attend at the moment. Every year, a festival is held to showcase one of our region’s typical fruits. I’m talking, of course, about the Lemon Festival (Fête du Citron). The festival takes place from 17 February to 4 March in the town of Menton, which is very close to the Italian border and seven kilometres from Monaco. For this year’s 85th festival, Mumbai and India are taking centre stage: the theme for 2018 is the highly colourful cinematic world of Bollywood.
The lemon is particularly well suited to the Mediterranean climate, and is grown in Menton and surrounding villages such as Castellar, Gorbio, and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. And we’re not talking about an ordinary lemon here! Its flavour (it is less acidic and has more aromas than other varieties), traditional harvest by hand, environmentally friendly cultivation and protected geographical indication (PGI) all contribute to making the Menton lemon a taste which is not to be missed!
Enormous patterns made up of thousands of citrus fruits are produced for the occasion, in accordance with a theme which changes every year. More than 140 tonnes of fruit (mostly lemons and oranges) and over 20,000 hours of work go into creating them! In the evening, they are also exhibited in the cleverly lit gardens for spectators to admire. In addition to the processions of floats also known as “corsos” and the fireworks, you can watch parades, bands and street performances. In other words, you certainly won’t regret coming. So take advantage of your language course in France to enjoy an unforgettable experience!