Further eastwards along the coast near the Italian border, but still only 30 minutes from Nice airport, is the normally sedate and rather aristocratic Menton. For a century they have been offering an assault on the senses with 130 tonnes of oranges and lemons transformed into carnival floats.
It’s an amazing spectacle. But what do they do with all afterwards? Well, there’s a lot of fruit juice in town, but you can go on an excursion to jam-makers (enquire at the tourist office), and patisseries all over town sell the famous tarte du citron mentonnais.
Take a trip to the citrus groves – where the scent of the flowers still in blossom is overwhelming. Wonderful!
Menton’s Fête du Citron is 70 years old this year, so it promises to be something special, with nearly half a million people descending on the town. There are huge citrus sculptures are on show in the Boivès Gardens. This year’s theme is Alice in Wonderland.
Staff in the modern Hotel Riva by the sea will be wearing traditional mentonnais costumes and there’s a special citrus menu (Send them an e-mail; rooms cost from £60), but for a taste of La Belle Epoque try the sumptuous Aiglon Hotel and restaurant (send an e-mail), an old villa with lemon groves and bougainvillea gardens. Special festival weekend packages on request.
You can reach Menton easily from Nice on the coastal train.