The Yellow Tones of Menton’s Lemon Groves
When approaching Menton from the beach the first thing to greet you is the beautiful sight of the old city. Welcoming you are the densely built, pastel-coloured houses, stacked in rows all the way down to the harbourfront. The countless hours of sun have bleached the colours and created a unique scenery and atmosphere you feel as soon as you dock. When stepping onto the harbour you are immediately hit by the scent of fresh lemons, and you realise that you have just arrived at a very special place.
Walking the streets of Menton you find yourself availed by unique and sensual inspiration everywhere. The beautiful dusty colours continue to meet your eyes wherever you look, but some shades stand out more than others. One of these is a dusty yellow, which is continuously integrated throughout the city. The colour stems from the many lemon groves found all over the area, with rich yellow tones in deep and dusky shades peeping out from between the leaves – it is in this combination that city and nature are melted together into one.
Citrus fruit is more than just a colour palette for Menton; the Provencal town was actually the first place in Europe to succeed in growing lemons, and it has become an important tradition for residents over several hundred years. The whole city is imbued by a sublime aroma of lemons, which creates an interesting contrast between the fresh scent and the dusty, almost sleepy colours of the city.
Walking around the ‘yellow’ streets of Menton you feel a harmonious atmosphere. It’s easy to sense the local intimacy and admire the bleached yellow painted buildings which are one of the most charming things about this French coastal city. The town’s citrus groves and shops selling the ‘fruits d’or’ (golden fruit) represent a core of cultural existence on the Côte D’Azur, and the idealistic optimism that the Riviera represents for residents and visitors alike – they are even celebrated with an annual festival in the town, the Menton Fête du Citron, which is now in its 86th year.