©Franck Barbier

Our Top 12 Must-Do's in Menton, Riviera & Merveilles!

For a colorful and sunny escape, head to Menton, Riviera & Merveilles!

Here, Lemons take the spotlight, and our destination is brimming with places to explore for a perfect vacation! Whether it is museum visits or beach relaxation, there are activities to suit every desire in the South of France. Between culture, nature, and heritage, we present you with the 12 must-do experiences of our destination!

1- The Saint-Michel Archange Basilica

Town of Menton

Do you see that tall bell tower in the city center of Menton? That is the Saint-Michel Archange Basilica! Since 1639, it has been casting its orange hues over the old town. The magic begins right from its square, where the chapel and the white penitents create a perfect harmony. And keep an eye out: you can catch a glimpse of the Sablettes Bay below! In the summer, music and good cheer are in full swing! The Saint-Michel Archange Basilica is celebrating, hosting the Menton Music Festival within its walls. So, are you ready to join in?

2- The Villa Eileen Gray

Are you familiar with “Villa E-1027”? Far from being a house straight out of the Star Wars universe, it is a true modern icon created by architect Eileen Gray! Located facing the Mediterranean, in the town of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, this small palace can only be reached after a walk along the coastal path. Around it, plants and lemon trees thrive under the Menton, Riviera & Merveilles sun, maintaining its bucolic setting.

3- The Trophy of Augustus

Village of La Turbie

A symbol of Italian power, the Trophy of Augustus proudly overlooks the surroundings of the village of La Turbie from its lofty height of… 35 meters! Take a day to meander through Menton, Riviera & Merveilles on the Via Julia Augusta, and venture to visit this Italian stronghold. At the site, history enthusiasts will eagerly seize the opportunity to explore the Trophy Museum, which recounts its complete history and showcases the remnants uncovered at this location. And, for an up-close view: an unparalleled sight of the azure beaches of the Monaco Bay!

4- The Riviera Palace

Town of Beausoleil

Welcome aboard the railway-themed experience at the Riviera Palace. This historically classified building was constructed on behalf of the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits! Envision the Riviera Palace during its heyday: affluent residents staying here, drawn by the beauty of Menton, Riviera & Merveilles… as well as Beausoleil. One can easily understand why! The town with its “Belle Époque” architecture offers a splendid view of the Mediterranean, from Cap Ferrat to Italy. During your visit to Beausoleil, a stroll through the splendid winter garden of the Riviera Palace is a must, with its glass roof designed by Gustave Eiffel. Quite the experience!

6- The Saint-Michel Cathedral

Village of Sospel

Welcome to one of the largest churches in the Alpes-Maritimes region: the Saint-Michel Cathedral! In the heart of the sunny village of Sospel, this Baroque building, classified as a historical monument, continues to charm travelers heading to Menton, Riviera & Merveilles. And if the cathedral’s exterior exudes enchantment, wait until you discover the treasures hidden within… In the chapel or the choir, trompe l’oeil, gilding, and paintings are the masterpieces of a majestic ensemble! And lastly, the pinnacle of the experience: immersing yourself in the music of the Agati brothers during a Baroque music concert. Can you hear it? We can almost perceive the melodious tunes of Italy from here…

8- The Notre-Dame-des-Fontaines Chapel

Village of La Brigue

You can experience the essence of the Sistine Chapel without traveling all the way to Italy, right here in Menton, Riviera & Merveilles! And more precisely, in the village of La Brigue. Surrounded by nature, the Notre-Dame-des-Fontaines Chapel carefully preserves exceptional artworks: the best-preserved frescoes in the region! A true immersion created by artists Canavesio and Baleison in the 15th century. Over 220 square meters, from floor to ceiling, symbolic religious scenes come to life. Admire them if you can manage to figure out where to look!

9- Water Activities

The village of Breil-sur-Roya

Dive (quite literally!) into the heart of nature in Menton, Riviera & Merveilles! In the Roya Valley, a multitude of water activities await both novice and experienced athletes. Canyoning, rafting, kayaking, or simply hiking, the crystal-clear waters of the Roya are the favorite playground for those who want to stay active in Menton, Riviera & Merveilles! So, are you ready to take the plunge?

10- The Monastery of Saorge

Village of Saorge

At the doorstep of Mercantour National Park, the village of Saorge (one of the most beautiful villages in France) appears to float in the air! Between sky and earth, discover with wonder its Franciscan monastery, graced by a sun-kissed façade in the heart of Menton, Riviera & Merveilles. Amidst the gardens, enjoy a true moment of serenity… and if you wish, relish a view of the mountains!

11- Embark on the Train des Merveilles to discover the Museum of Wonders

Village of Tende

Hop aboard the “Train des Merveilles”! Your destination? A place with an equally magical name: the Departmental Museum of Wonders! And after stepping onto the platform, a leap through time awaits you. Here, 400 million years of history have left their mark on the “Vallée des Merveilles” (The Valley of Wonders)! Rock engravings or the reconstruction of a genuine Ice Age Man, the museum visit allows the entire family to imagine wildlife in Menton, Riviera & Merveilles. Are you ready for a journey to the Copper Age?

12- La Vallée des Merveilles (The Valley of Wonders)

In the “Vallée des Merveilles” (The Valley of Wonders), we invite you to step back into the Bronze Age, where the beauty of our destination is worth its weight in gold! This is THE perfect place to blend history, heritage, and hiking, where the first humans lived nearly 5,000 years ago! During a hike, explore Mount Bégo and its rock engravings, as well as landscapes bursting with color. Green, ochre, or blue… The “Vallée des Merveilles” (The Valley of Wonders) near Menton dazzles your sight with its array of hues!

Frequently Asked Questions About Activities in Menton, Riviera & Merveilles

  • What are the Top things to Do in the city of Menton?

    In Menton, make sure to include a visit to one of the remarkable gardens on your list: Val Rahmeh or Serre de la Madone. The Jean Cocteau Museum, the square in front of the basilica, and the esplanade of Sablettes are also iconic spots in the city of Menton. Additionally, the Garavan Harbor is a pleasant place to admire boats and enjoy a panoramic view of the sea. At the Old Château Cemetery of Menton, you can also take in a breathtaking view of the old town and the Mediterranean Sea. If you’re hungry, head to the Menton market halls! This lively covered market is located in the heart of the city. You will discover a wide variety of fresh local products, including the delicious Menton Lemons.

  • Which event is the city of Menton particularly famous for?

    Menton is famous for its Lemons, and every year the city hosts the Lemon Festival to celebrate this culture. Menton Lemons are renowned for their flavor and are used in many local dishes and artisanal products.

  • Which garden to choose for a stroll in the city of Menton?

    Menton is renowned for its splendid gardens, including the Val Rahmeh Botanical Garden, the Citrus Garden of Palais Carnolès, and the magnificent Serre de la Madone Garden. These green spaces offer a delightful escape amidst the city and invite you for a soothing walk!

    Looking to find the garden that suits you? ​Discover the most beautiful gardens of Menton for a leisurely stroll!

  • Is it possible to explore citrus gardens in Menton?

    The city of Menton is famous for its citrus fruits. You can discover various varieties of lemon and other citrus trees. The garden of Palais Carnolès houses an impressive collection of citrus fruits and is particularly worth a visit. However, in Menton, you can also and especially visit private citrus orchards. The appointment is therefore made, at the source of this tangy nectar!

  • What are the best beaches in Menton?

    The most popular beaches in the city of Menton are Plage des Sablettes and Plage du Fossan. Both offer azure and shallow waters, perfect for family swimming.

  • What water activities are available to enjoy in the city of Menton?

    Menton is an ideal destination for water sports enthusiasts. You can go scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, or simply relax on the sandy beaches in Menton or nearby.

  • What are the options for family-friendly activities in Menton?

    The city of Menton is a perfect family destination. You can spend a fun day at Parc du Pian, a beautiful olive grove, or at Koaland Park, a small amusement park that will delight both young and older children! In the city center of Menton, opt for a family stroll in the gardens and the old port, with a mandatory ice cream break in the old town!

  • What are the cultural festivals not to be missed in the city of Menton?

    Outre la Fête du Citron, ne manquez pas le Festival de Musique de Menton qui accueille des artistes renommés dans un cadre spectaculaire.