The Lemon Festival Of Menton: History And Traditions
Emblematic event of the city of Menton, the Lemon Festival is in the pure tradition of carnivals. Since the 1930s, this Côte d'Azur town has played the card of originality by putting citrus fruits in the spotlight in the form of floats and spectacular installations.
What are the origins of these festivities in Menton?
It was in 1895 that hoteliers proposed to the municipality of Menton to create a carnival parade to animate the city in winter.
The Carnival of Menton is then similar to its neighbor Nice with a parade of big heads, throwing confetti and Battles of flowers ...
Ancestor of the current Lemon Festival, this carnival seduces the inhabitants and the rich winterers who used to come and spend the winter on the French Riviera.
The carnival of 1882 remained in the memories because of the presence of a prestigious guest: the Queen Victoria. The festivities then ended with a Fireworks grandiose on the bay of Garavan.
How did the Lemon Festival come about?
In 1929, the city of Menton is the leading producer of lemons in Europe. A hotelier then has the idea to organize an exhibition of flowers and citrus in the gardens of the Hotel Riviera.
The success is such that the following year, carts of shrubs planted with oranges and lemons parade through the streets with charming Mentonnaises on board.
The municipality, eager to develop tourism, seeks to give the Carnival a typically local color and institutes the Lemon Festival in 1934.
Two years later, the first citrus and flower exhibition was held in the Biovès gardens. François Ferrié was commissioned to Design the designs for the lemon and orange floats and the motifs in the gardens.
The success of this Event will be confirmed year after year, to the point that the Lemon Festival has become one of the unmissable events in Menton.
How has the Lemon Festival evolved to the present day?
The lemon has become the symbol of the city of Menton which has chosen as an emblem and as part of the graphic charter of all its documents.
The collaboration with animation professionals such as those of Disneyland Paris has rejuvenated the traditional lemon festival.
With each passing edition, the municipal teams work to create more and more elaborate and elegant subjects and deploy real artistic talent, to the delight of visitors.
This festival could even become a source of inspiration for other animations in the world since projects are being studied with the Disney World of Orlando in Florida and with Tunisia...
The next edition of the Lemon Festival of Menton will take place from 11 to 26 February 2023 on the theme Rock and Opera! The exhibition of citrus patterns in the Gardens Boviès is accessible for free.
At the same time, the Orchid Festival (also free) is held in the Palais de l'Europe. Lovers of flowers and carnival, these two events are not to be missed and will amaze you!