From Menton, Take a Scenic Walk from France to Italy

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Today, we are off to Menton, the easternmost resort on the French Riviera, for a walk that takes in all the best things about this blessed little spot: its history, its scenic location and its vicinity to la bella Italia.

The walk allows you to experience Menton’s picturesque historic town centre, provides you with splendid views over the Mediterranean and, at the very end, takes you across a proper, old-style border crossing into Italy.

And if that is not enough entertainment for you, you can extend the walk by making longer excursions to explore the sights along the way: the neighbourhood where Katherine Mansfield spent her last years, the exotic gardens of Val Rameh and Menton Cemetery, where many from the French Riviera’s first wave of visitors – most of whom had come here to cure their tuberculosis – found their final resting place.

The scenic walk from France to Italy

We start the walk on Rue Longue in Menton’s Old Town. Walk up towards St Michel Basilica …

"Parvis de Basilique de St Michel of Menton- part of a scenic walk from France to Italy"

… and continue from there via Rue Mattoni and Rue de la Coté all the way uphill until you reach the cemetery where you have to turn right, keeping the cemetery on your left hand side.

Enjoy the panorama from the viewing platform …

"postcard views of Menton - part of a scenic walk from France to Italy"

… a veritable post card view, and – this much I can already promise you – not the last one you will get along your journey.

Continue into Boulevard Garavan on your right hand side. The boulevard, Menton’s grandest, is lined with residential homes and villas, which range from the opulent and palatial …

"sumptuous villas in Menton - part of a scenic walk from France to Italy"

… to the dilapidated.

The city of Menton, always eager to please its visitors, has done a lot to “add value” to this walk. Iron bars have been sunk into the sidewalk, identifying trees by their name (their botanic species), but sometimes also pointing to houses and other sights along the way.

"informative signs along Menton - part of a scenic walk from France to Italy"

You will also spot information panels which break down vistas into their various elements (names of streets, churches, mountains etc.), but which sometimes also give you lessons in local biology or local history (also providing some background information about the grandest of the villas). Unfortunately, the information is only provided in French, but if you have a rudimentary acquaintance with the language, you will be generally able to pierce together some interesting facts.

"information panels along Menton - part of a scenic walk from France to Italy"

On your way, you will pass the Val Rameh gardens and, towards the end of the walk, the part of town where the writer Katherine Mansfield spent the happiest years of her short life before she, too, succumbed to tuberculosis. (Her actual house, now the “Katherine Mansfield Memorial”, is located in a small side street further down the hill near the railway tracks.)

"Katherine Mansfield museum in Menton -part of a scenic walk from France to Italy""

Finally, you will arrive at the French-Italian border. This is not one of the new-style, single-building border posts shared by guards from both countries but a proper old-style station featuring two stations, one French …

"French border to Italy - part of a scenic walk from France to Italy""

… and one (much larger) Italian with a strip of no man’s land in between – although in the age of the EU, this strip has lost its original purpose and acquired a new one, very much in the spirit of cross-border cooperation and trade.

"fruite and veg vendor in Italy - part of a scenic walk from France to Italy"

Right at the frontier, you will also find one of the world’s finest restaurants. Le Mirazur has been recently ranked at no. 6 by the World’s 50 Best website, higher than any other restaurant in France. Quality comes at a price, of course, and their cut-price lunchtime menu (only served outside the high tourist season) will still set you back € 55 p.p. without drinks.

"Restaurant Mirazur - part of a scenic walk from France to Italy""

For more modest fare, walk over to the La Grotta bar on the Italian side …

"La Grotta Bar in Italy - part of a scenic walk from France to Italy"

…where you can have a sandwich with a cup of coffee and still get change for a tenner – while enjoying what is pretty much the same splendid view.

For your return, you can take the bus to Ventimiglia, which stops right on the other side of the road from La Grotta, or the train from Menton-Garavan – the station is only a few hundred metres away from the border on the French side. Just remember to bring your ID or your passport!

We hope you will enjoy this scenic walk from France to Italy on your next visit to Menton!

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4 comments to From Menton, Take a Scenic Walk from France to Italy

  • Glad you like what we offer, Graham. Thanks for your kind comment. Calella de Palafrugell is a very charming seaside town, and you are right to call it the Riviera of Spain. We had the chance to visit it on a trip to Costa Brava some years back, and wrote about our visit too: (http://www.easyhiker.co.uk/category/europe/easy-hikes-spain/easy-hikes-in-catalonia/costa-brava/). I’m sure there are more to discover in your corner of the Riviera. Cheers!

  • Graham

    Thank you for this. Fantastic work as usual. I really enjoy the level of detail, both practical and informative, in your pieces and you have inspired my wife and I to follow in your footsteps as soon as we are in a position to step off the hamster wheel. Great photos too of course. We are fortunate enough to have a holiday home in Calella de Palafrugell, but you have awakened the green eyed god with all your exploration of the rivieras . Meantime, I will make do with changing the name of the costa brava to the Spanish Riviera ! Thanks again and best wishes.

  • It would indeed be a great walk for a lazy afternoon, Cez.

  • The scenic walk indeed! Charming. That would be a great lazy afternoon.

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