Mighty Menton? Well, Menton is approximately 5.5 sq miles in area and has a population of around 30,000. So it’s hardly mighty in size but it is a special place nonetheless. Menton is a beautiful town on the French Riviera. It is the final town in France on your way to Italy, or the first French town on your way into France from Italy! Menton is extremely quaint and charming. What it lacks in glamour and grandeur of the rest of the glitzy Côte d’Azur, it gains in natural charm and beauty from the Mediterranean.
In all honesty, as beautiful as it is, the French Riviera can be rather tiring sometimes. So much of the Côte in the summer is about public displays of wealth and attention seeking, that I find incredibly tiring and passé. I can see you now gawping in disbelief. Do not think me arrogant, it is just that I have come to realise that I am not sufficiently high maintenance to summer on the Côte d’Azur 😉 . I love Menton’s laid back atmosphere. I find it to be rather relaxing and refreshing.
Menton is beautiful. Sandwiched directly in between the Alps and the Mediterranean sea, you often hear locals boasting of skiing in the mountains in the morning and, swimming in the sea in the afternoon. Does the weather seriously allow for that? I am not sure, but the point is that Menton has a nice variety of both surf and turf. This mixed terrain is also reflected in the local cuisine. The close proximity to Italy means that Menton is a melée of French and Italian, in the cuisine, the dialect, the culture and the atmosphere.
Menton’s beaches are mostly pebbly, but the water in the Baie du Soleil (Bay of Sun) is lovely. The long Promenade du Soleil, which runs along the coast line is full of restaurants and bars. Each has its own identity and offers a pleasant dining experience. A table under a large umbrella on the Promenade offers welcome relief from the hot Mediterranean sunshine.
Those of you who have read my last post, “Lyon je t’adore!“, will now know that I have a small dog. So, the highlight of my visit to Menton was of course the dog-friendly beach. For a country that is so amazingly and wonderfully dog-friendly, there are surprisingly few French beaches open to dogs in the summer months. Menton however, has a great beach for dogs, located directly in front of the Casino. The beach is small, but definitely large enough for our canine friends. The beach was clean, as was the water. Everyone there (inc. the pups) was so well behaved. I have especially fond (and hilarious) memories of the little Italian chihuahua dachsund, who greeted every new visitor to the beach, both human and canine, with a playful bark and would not cease until he not only completed his meet and greet duties, but also completed his own inspection report. Almost everyone passed.
As mentioned previously, the beach is pebbly, but the sea itself is relatively sheltered providing the dogs with a certain degree of safety, allowing you to enjoy your time at the beach with your pup. There is even a shower with two different shower heads (one high up (think human) and one low (think dog)). The dog-friendly beach felt like such a novelty to me because it proved quite difficult to find such a beach. Plus, this was the first time I brought my dog to the beach – this was his first swim in the sea. What a fun and happy experience it was! Even though swimming is instinctive to dogs and it is no big deal to most people, I felt it akin to watching your child take its first steps.
With hindsight, I would have liked to have been more prepared. You cannot rent any umbrellas or chairs on the dog beach, although it is possible on the human beaches. The dog-friendly beach was full of happy families and their dogs, who came prepared with deck chairs, sun loungers and most importantly umbrellas. They had umbrellas for themselves, and even slightly smaller umbrellas for their dogs. Ingenious! They must have done this before!!
Mighty Menton? It is to me. I love the relaxed, laid back atmosphere, the Mediterranean charm, the colourful architecture, the welcoming people and the dog-friendly beach. I shall return! 😀