We are entering the festival period of the year and very soon all citizens of the French Riviera and guests of the coast will witness one of them – the annual Menton Lemon Festival which starts this year on 11th February.
Every year organizers find a curious topic and this year it will be American Broadway. What does that mean? It means that visitors will enjoy the main characters of the world famous musicals wearing bright and sunny costumes made of lemons.
Let us remind you a brief story of this traditional carnival. Starting in 1933 as a fruit show, the Lemon Festival has grown to be so much more and is now an internationally renowned event, drawing around 300,000-400,000 visitors to a joyful fruity jamboree every year.
But the Menton lemon has always been special. It’s a very bright yellow, elongated rather than round, and prized by chefs for its rich essential oil.
If you’re still unconvinced about the appeal of a lemon-based gathering, this is not a botanical show. While Menton is proud of its internationally-famous product, it doesn’t always take its festival too seriously.
After dedicating a triptych to Jules Vernes (2013-2015), the Municipality of Menton and the Tourist Information Office have now embarked on the organization of a new series, highlighting cities famous for their “major” art. After Cineccittà and Italian cinema last year, Broadway and musical comedies are the second feature of this new trilogy.
We leave Italy and cross the Atlantic, heading for the United States to get a taste of the Big Apple. John Lemon, who left to live the American dream, invites you to wander along the famous New York avenue and (re)discover the most famous musical comedies since the 30s.
Broadway in Menton is an opportunity to sing songs like Singing in the Rain in the sun, to discover a music hall with Mary Poppins, or to run into Dorothy and her faithful friend, Toto on a corner of the Yellow Brick Road, or even be invited to the Cats annual ball. It is your chance to go on stage and become a star of your favorite musical comedy: from 11th February to 1st March 2017.
The main event is obviously the Lemon and orange statues in the Jardins de Biovès. But perhaps the best time to visit the festival is during the “Golden Fruits Parade” which takes place in the afternoon of every Sunday (12th, 19th and 26th of February 2017 at 2.30 pm). In total 10 chariots will parade on the Promenade du Soleil this year.
Every Thursday night (16th and 23rd February at 9 pm) there is the famous Corso Nocturne, which involves a night time candle-lit procession followed by a firework display. The sub-text to this event is that the young men of the town would subtlety try to blow out the candle of one of the girls they admired, in the hope that they would receive a welcome kiss as a reward for re-lighting their “amour”.
Finally, each Friday evening from 8.30 pm, the Jardins de Biovès are lit up for the spectacular “Jardins de Luminères” (17th and 24th February 2017). This is a great French festival event for kids.
Up to 145 tons of citrus fruit (oranges and lemons) from Spain, 500,000 elastics used to attach the fruit to the different decorations, 120 liters of paint, 15 tons of metal used to create the figures and floats and hundreds of meters of metal netting used to cover the steel frames will be used this year for the Menton Lemon Festival.
In order to book your tickets or find out more detailed information about the Festival, please follow the link to the official website of the Menton Lemon Festival.
- Friday 10th February at 8.30 pm: Gardens of Light
- From 11th February to 1st March: an exhibition of citrus patterns
- Sunday 12th February at 2.30 pm: Golden Fruits Parade
- Thursday 16th February at 9 pm: Night-parade – followed by fireworks
- Friday 17th February at 8.30 pm: Gardens of Light
- Sunday 19th February at 2.30 pm: Golden Fruit Parade
- Thursday 23th February at 9 pm: Night-parade – followed by fireworks
- Friday 24th February at 8.30 pm: Gardens of Light
- Sunday 26th February at 2.30 pm: Golden Fruit Parade
Attention! Saturday 11st February: opening to gardens (exhibition of citrus patterns) at 2 pm.