Top 10 Highlights of the Menton Lemon Festival

The Menton Lemon Festival (La Fête du Citron), an annual citrus extravaganza held from 17 February to 3 March 2024 in the charming town of Menton on the French Riviera, is a vibrant celebration of all things lemon. With its rich history dating back to 1929, the festival has evolved into a world-renowned event that attracts over 200,000 visitors from across the globe.

As it celebrates its 90th birthday, we discover the top 10 highlights that make the Menton Lemon Festival a unique and unforgettable experience.

  1. Incredible Citrus Sculptures

    At the heart of the Menton Lemon Festival are the mesmerizing citrus sculptures. Skilled artisans meticulously carve lemons and oranges into intricate designs, transforming the fruit into stunning works of art. The festival’s theme influences these sculptures, taking its inspiration this year from the upcoming Olympic Games, creating a citrus wonderland that captivates the imagination.
  2. Gorgeous Parades

    The Menton Lemon Festival is known for its lively and colourful parades that wind through the streets of the town. Elaborate floats adorned with citrus fruits, dancers in vibrant costumes, and musicians create a festive atmosphere. The parades showcase the creativity and dedication of the participants, turning the streets into a dynamic stage for lemon-inspired performances.
  3. Citrus-Infused Cuisine

    Local restaurants and vendors join in the celebration by incorporating lemons into their culinary creations. From lemon-infused pastries to zesty seafood dishes, visitors can savour the unique flavours of Menton’s famous lemons in a variety of delectable treats. The festival is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse range of lemon-themed delights. Three Michelin-starred restaurant Mirazur offers a gastronomic 6 course Citrus Carnival Surprise Menu from 15 February to 17 March.
  4. Garden Visits

    Menton takes pride in its stunning gardens, and during the festival, they come alive with citrus-themed displays. Visitors can wander through lush landscapes adorned with lemon trees, showcasing the town’s commitment to horticulture. These gardens provide a tranquil escape and also a perfect backdrop for the drawing workshops. 
  5. Traditional Folk Performances

    Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region through traditional folk performances. Dancers and musicians dressed in colourful attire showcase local traditions and celebrate the connection between Menton and its beloved lemons. These performances add a touch of authenticity to the festival, connecting attendees with the town’s roots.
  6. Interactive Workshops and Demonstrations 

    Visitors have the opportunity to engage with the festival on a more personal level through interactive workshops and demonstrations. Expert citrus carvers share their skills, allowing attendees to try their hand at creating small lemon sculptures. These hands-on activities enhance the festival’s interactive nature and provide a deeper appreciation for the artistry involved.
  7. Local Artisans and Markets

    The Menton Lemon Festival supports local artisans and businesses, with market stalls offering a variety of lemon-themed products. From handmade crafts to citrus-scented souvenirs, visitors can take home a piece of the festival. This aspect of the event promotes the local economy and contributes to the overall charm of the experience.
  8. Educational Exhibits

    For those interested in the science behind the citrus, educational exhibits provide insights into the cultivation and history of Menton’s lemons. Visitors can learn about the agricultural practices that contribute to the town’s renowned citrus industry, gaining a deeper understanding of the importance of lemons to the region.
  9. Musical Events

    This year, the tribute band “Vipers”, an Italian band paying homage to Freddie Mercury and Queen, will be in concert on February 24th. And the Gala Dinner on March 1st will feature the sextet “Jazz Time” led by Luc Fenoli, who will entertain guests with classic songs by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Michel Legrand, and Nat King Cole.
  10. Community Spirit

    Above all, the Menton Lemon Festival is a celebration of community spirit and joy. The infectious enthusiasm of both locals and visitors creates a festive atmosphere that permeates every aspect of the event. The sense of camaraderie and shared appreciation for the humble lemon make the festival an unforgettable experience for all who attend.
Isabelle Bryan
Isabelle Bryan
Isabelle is a co-founder and editor of Riviera Traveller. She has lived in France, the UK and Australia and is equally at ease writing in English and French. She has been coming to the South of France since she was a child and now lives here with her young daughter. She has been published in ELLE, Premiere Movie Magazine, the Melbourne Age, the Australian Financial Review magazine and the Herald Sun. Isabelle loves swimming in the turquoise waters off the Iles de Lerins or strolling around the outdoor sculptures at Fondation Maeght in St Paul de Vence.

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