The Fete du Citron (Citrus Festival) is a traditional Riviera event which takes place in Menton, Cote d’Azur every year. For just over two weeks the town is filled with day & night float parades, light shows, exhibitions & regional produce. More than 250,000 visitors arrive to be entertained, to witness the sheer extravagances and to be a part of this wonderful celebration.
Additional highlights during the event include evening fireworks displays on the seafront, evening displays at the Palais de l’Europe, adjacent to Gardens, the Festival des Orchidées (Orchid Festival) and the extremely popular Salon de l’Artisanat (traditional arts and crafts fair), as well as guided tours to take you to local produce factories, orchards and plantations.
However, the star of the event is, of course, the Menton Lemon! This famous lemon, grown locally, is used worldwide by some of the top chefs in the culinary field. For Michelin star chefs, including Mauro Colagreco, the Menton lemon is perfection and with ideal flavour and composition it proves time and time again to be the ‘caviar of citrus’. Included in the creative festival floats are lemons, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, limes, mandarines, mineolas, pomelo, clemenvillas, etrog, kaffir limes and kumquats.
The festival was first held in 1895 in a smaller capacity to liven up the winter atmosphere and quickly became the ‘must do’ event for the rich & the famous who spent their winters on the Riviera. This included royal families, famous artists and international performers. The festival became an official regional event in 1935 and was named ‘Fete du Citron’. In the subsequent years different exhibitions were added to the festivities to form the grand annual event we can witness in Menton today.
Golden Fruit Parade (extravagance, colour kaleidoscopes, excitement)
An absolute explosion of fruit, colour and high-spirited festivities. The parade showcases handcrafted floats surrounded by performers, models, musicians and traditional bands.
Dates: Sundays 16, 23 Feb and 2nd Mar 2014 at 14h30
Location: Promenade du Soleil (seafront)
Gardens of Lights (enchanting nights)
The Biovès Gardens are home to the jardins des lumières (Gardens of Light). The full length of the gardens is adorned with illumination effects, vibrant exhibitions and sounds of the natural world.
Dates: Sun 16 Feb, Tues 18 Feb, Sun 23 Feb, Tues 25 Feb, Sat 1st Mar 2014
Times: 20h30 to 22h30
Location: Biovès Gardens – main entrance in front of Casino Barrière
Night Parades (nocturnal celebrations)
Get a taste of true Riviera festival fun with the night parades in Menton.
Dates: On Thurs 20th Feb and 27th Feb 2014 at 20h30
Place: Promenade du soleil (seafront)
Exhibition of Citrus Patterns (traditional craftsmanship)
Citrus sculptures standing up to 10 meters high rule over the Biovès Gardens. Some sculptures take weeks to build by hand as the artists place each fruit lovingly on the displays one by one. The end result is eccentric and genuinely unique masterpieces!
The Orchid Festival (splendours of nature)
Explore the gardens of the Palais de l’Europe and discover the seasonal opening of orchids. Orchids in this garden are some of the most beautiful in the world so be sure to have your camera ready.
Traditional Arts and Crafts Fair (authentic, local and natural)
Regional craftsmen showcase their talents in wood sculpting, glass engraving, ceramics, pottery and more…You can taste and purchase the local foods, preserves, delicacies, beverages and a diverse range of other regional produce.
Date: from Sat 15 Feb to 05 Mar 2014
Location: Palais de l’Europe
Times: Mon to Fri from 10h00 to 18h00 & Weekends from 09h00 to 18h00
- 15th February to 5th March in 2014
- Access via trains, buses, car and private transfers from Friend In France
- No pets allowed
- Wheelchair access