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Menton - undiscovered beauty on the French Riviera

Menton is the last town on the French border before Italy; it is nicknamed the Pearl of France

Menton is the last town on the French border before Italy; it is nicknamed the Pearl of France

Unlike many towns, Menton seems to be thriving with young people and fewer homes and businesses for rent

Unlike many towns, Menton seems to be thriving with young people and fewer homes and businesses for rent

Saint Michel Basilica; the city has been ruled by France, Monaco and Italy and combines the best of each

Saint Michel Basilica; the city has been ruled by France, Monaco and Italy and combines the best of each

The most famous sight in Menton is the Jean Cocteau Museum dedicated to the famous French writer and artist

The most famous sight in Menton is the Jean Cocteau Museum dedicated to the famous French writer and artist

Menton was acquired in 1346 by Charles Grimaldi, Lord of Monaco, and ruled by the Princes of Monaco until the French Revolution

Menton was acquired in 1346 by Charles Grimaldi, Lord of Monaco, and ruled by the Princes of Monaco until the French Revolution

Grimaldi Man was found in Menton in 1901; they were two skeletons of the Upper Paleolithic period and were dated to 26,000 to 22,000 years ago

Grimaldi Man was found in Menton in 1901; they were two skeletons of the Upper Paleolithic period and were dated to 26,000 to 22,000 years ago

I was surprised to see a statue of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in this small French town

I was surprised to see a statue of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in this small French town

Saint Michel Basilica, 1659, sits at the top of a set of massive stairs providing tremendous views from the plaza in front of the church

Saint Michel Basilica, 1659, sits at the top of a set of massive stairs providing tremendous views from the plaza in front of the church

Menton is often 10 degrees warmer than neighboring parts of France and is said to have 316 days of sunshine per year

Menton is often 10 degrees warmer than neighboring parts of France and is said to have 316 days of sunshine per year

What perfect bougainvillea!; the microclimate here allows citrus production, with the city noted for its Lemon Festival in February

What perfect bougainvillea!; the microclimate here allows citrus production, with the city noted for its Lemon Festival in February

A huge development project is underway to create a sandy beach and promenade to further beautify Menton

A huge development project is underway to create a sandy beach and promenade to further beautify Menton

There were so many colorful squares in Menton; the town is only 30 minutes by train from Nice

There were so many colorful squares in Menton; the town is only 30 minutes by train from Nice

Menton has become a foodie destination thanks to several Michelin starred restaurants

Menton has become a foodie destination thanks to several Michelin starred restaurants

The Chapel of Saint Jacques of Menton was built in 1688; the fishing industry was devastated in the 1980s and 1990s by overfishing and hypoxia in the bay

The Chapel of Saint Jacques of Menton was built in 1688; the fishing industry was devastated in the 1980s and 1990s by overfishing and hypoxia in the bay

The terrain increases the number of properties with magnificent views; Menton has two train stations on either end of town

The terrain increases the number of properties with magnificent views; Menton has two train stations on either end of town

I discovered a huge grove of olive trees and a skittish flock of sheep; Menton was the only sizable settlement captured by Italy during its invasion of France in June 1940

I discovered a huge grove of olive trees and a skittish flock of sheep; Menton was the only sizable settlement captured by Italy during its invasion of France in June 1940

An English doctor published a book in 1861 touting the great climate of Menton which made the town a popular destination for people suffering from tuberculosis

An English doctor published a book in 1861 touting the great climate of Menton which made the town a popular destination for people suffering from tuberculosis

When the railroad reached Menton in 1869, tourists could reach the town from Paris in only 24 hours

When the railroad reached Menton in 1869, tourists could reach the town from Paris in only 24 hours

Every time I turned a corner I found another photogenic scene; the pastel colors and flowers just made the town so inviting

Every time I turned a corner I found another photogenic scene; the pastel colors and flowers just made the town so inviting

Saint Michel Basilica sanctuary; the organ and pulpit both date from 1652

Saint Michel Basilica sanctuary; the organ and pulpit both date from 1652

The Chapel of the White Penitents was built in 1687 and lies on the same plaza with the basilica

The Chapel of the White Penitents was built in 1687 and lies on the same plaza with the basilica

It was great to discover such a beautiful town that hasn't become a popular tourist destination yet and remains unspoiled

It was great to discover such a beautiful town that hasn't become a popular tourist destination yet and remains unspoiled

One of the most famous sights in Menton is a 19th century botanical garden but it was closed on the day I visited

One of the most famous sights in Menton is a 19th century botanical garden but it was closed on the day I visited

The local market was housed in this gorgeous building; William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, died in Menton

The local market was housed in this gorgeous building; William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet, died in Menton

Orient Palace; Menton sister cities include Montreux, Switzerland and Laguna Beach

Orient Palace; Menton sister cities include Montreux, Switzerland and Laguna Beach

Dogs are everywhere in France and are quite pampered; I saw clothing stores for dogs and, of course, they were in grocery stores and restaurants too

Dogs are everywhere in France and are quite pampered; I saw clothing stores for dogs and, of course, they were in grocery stores and restaurants too

Like most of the French Riviera, the beach in Menton has no sand, but rather pebbles; a small sacrifice for the incredible views

Like most of the French Riviera, the beach in Menton has no sand, but rather pebbles; a small sacrifice for the incredible views

In 1848, Menton seceded from Monaco due at least in part to a tax imposed on lemon exports

In 1848, Menton seceded from Monaco due at least in part to a tax imposed on lemon exports

The frescoes on the ceiling of Saint Michel's Basilica were stunning; every surface of the church was painted

The frescoes on the ceiling of Saint Michel's Basilica were stunning; every surface of the church was painted

The Church of the Black Penitents; I struggled sightseeing here since I didn't have a guide book

The Church of the Black Penitents; I struggled sightseeing here since I didn't have a guide book

Unfortunately the sun was in the wrong place to show how perfectly sited Saint Michel's Basilica is

Unfortunately the sun was in the wrong place to show how perfectly sited Saint Michel's Basilica is

A view from Menton looking east towards Italy; many Italians cross the border every day to work in France

A view from Menton looking east towards Italy; many Italians cross the border every day to work in France

Menton combines the best of Italy and France in this town often called the prettiest in France

Menton combines the best of Italy and France in this town often called the prettiest in France

On a future visit, I'd love to take a boat along the coast here to get a different perspective; so many areas are tough to reach by bus or train

On a future visit, I'd love to take a boat along the coast here to get a different perspective; so many areas are tough to reach by bus or train

Posted by VagabondCowboy 12:14

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