Viewings in the City Menton
Once arrived to Menton, one can confidentially leave the car in an underground car park. In Menton, there is no need to drive a car in order to get to the worthwhile seeing sightseeings, except one wants to start to one of the numerous destinations for exursions in the surroundings.
But the veiwing of the oldtown is an absolute must for all visitors of Menton. As it is typical for France, the oldtown is located right at the harbour and extends up along a light hill. As it is usual, the church of the oldtown outstands. From the quay Napoleón and/or from the old harbour, one has the most beautiful view.
From the Vieux Port (old harbour) one can walk straight through the oldtown up to the church St. Michel. In the oldtown, there are some picturesque old alleyways that induce to do one or two side-trips. Once left numerous alleyways and staris behind, one finally arrives to9 the church square of the St. Michel Church. One can comfortably rest on this place. The pebble pavings are beautiful with the escutcheon of the Grimaldi (there is to consider that Menton was not relased by Monaco to France until the year 1860).
Of course, the St. Michel church itself is also impressive; it is the biggest baroque church of the whole region. From the church square, one has a beautiful view to the Vieux Port and the beaches of the Baie de Garavan. Of course it is possible to view up to Italy.
Those who descend the oldtown hill at the backside will get to the core of Menton. In the pedestrian area (Rue St. Michel) there are shops that either sell the typical tourist stuff as also very common supermarkets and other shops.
Of course, a walk on both boardwalks Promenade du Soleil and Promenade de la Mer are also a part of the obligatory programme during the visit of Menton. Underneath the oldtown, these two beach- and harbour promenades separate the old harbour with the Quai Napoléon. Der Quai Napoléon is a small headland (see adjacent map)that protects the harbour against the sea waves and of course serves at the same time as a docking place and an access to the boats at the harbour.
Up on the Quai Napoléon there is a small footway on which one can walk up to the end of the quay. From there, one has a fantastic view to the old harbour, the oldtown, the Baie de Garavan and of course to Italy. At the front part of the quay ther is the bastion (with the Musée Jean Cocteau). The small fortification, the way it is located at the coast, looks impressive and mighty. At this place, there is also hustle and bustle at nights. At nights, the place is almost brighter than during the day.
What one should not miss in any case during the visit of Menton is the market life on the streets and around the market during the forenoon. The market hall already looks very impressive from the outside; but what goes on in the interior beats anything I have ever seen before. As it should be for a market hall, in the interior, the stands string together. There are fruits, vegetables, meat, pasta and everything else a healthy stomach asks for is offered.
The food is so appetizingly arranged that one feels like buying it and start to cook. The tomatoes and apples are lovingly towered to pyramides. Different pieces of meat are cleanly separated in small bowls instead of laying crossed on each other. There are all varieties and forms of pasta; the Italian influence to the city is noticeable. What specially impressed me were the stands with spices (see the following picture at the right), where there are ten different sorts only of pepper. One already gazes by looking at the colour richness of the spices in the weaved bowls.
For those snacky moments there is socca. The food that once was the food for poor people develops increasingly to the speciality of the region. Socca is made of mashed chickpeas and baken in the log-fire. The best thing of socca is that it is very cheap: for a few euros, one is stuffed.
The adjacent picture shows the old harbour of Menton. The mountains that surround the city are visible at the background. This makes already guess that in the mountaneous landscapes at the back there are countless destinations for excursions that all are worthwhile for having a side-trip.
Those who go out in the evening in Menton might think that in this city, the lights never go down. But in fact, after midnight, the city falls into a resting state where only a few lights are on. But the oldtown is illuminated the whole night through. It is a dream picturesque view to see the fully illuminated oldtown by having a walk alongside the Promenade de la Mer in the very late night.
Copyright: Patrick Wagner, www.tourist-guide.biz