Fête du Citron
With the ease and cost efficiency of traveling along the Côte d’Azur, my friends and I attended another festival welcoming the coming of spring. The little town of Menton, France, hosts an annual citrus festival to celebrate the region’s fruit season. Taking the 1,50€ bus 100 to Menton, we arrived at the Broadway-themed carnival and chose to wander through the festival gardens rather than endure yet another parade that week.
Before even seeing the structures, you could smell them. The sweet-and-sour scent of citrus floated on the crisp Mediterranean breeze and enveloped visitors in a warmth as satisfying as the February sunshine. The larger-than-life displays, inspired by some of the world’s most well-known musicals, created an incredible show of their own. Towering over spectators, the displays delivered sensual experiences: radiating color, familiar tunes, and, of course, the all-natural citrus perfume.
Thousands of lemons and oranges, stacked, spaced, and spread, created the stationary floats of popular Broadway productions. Songs from the shows enhanced the experience, while the stimulating smell of citrus complemented the garden promenade.
If the yellow walls and blue and white gingham-printed shower curtain in my childhood bathroom serve as any clues, my favorite citrus display was of “The Wizard of Oz.” From the characters, to the poppies, to the ruby red slippers, I enjoyed the highlights of the show in fruit form almost as much as I do the show itself. The only thing missing? Toto!
My friends and I ended the garden walk with freshly squeezed lemonade and a “Roi du Menton,” a crêpe filled with lemon syrup and sugar.
While Nice’s Carnival was slightly tacky and confusing, Menton’s Citrus Festival was stunning and authentic (for the most part). If visiting the Côte d’Azur for the celebrations of the region, skip a day in Nice and make your way to Menton!
Paix, Amour, Nice,