With the holiday festivities out of the way, the relaxed month of January is the perfect time for a visit to Menton and its cultural treasures.

The first thing most people associate with Menton are lemons. True enough, they are emblematic for the region. But there is so much more to the beautiful small town, nicknamed The Pearl of the Riviera: It also has a cultural life that has no reason to hide behind Monaco, Nice, and Cannes, its bigger neighbours. Beyond Menton’s internationally famous classical music festival every summer, it also has a few museums of world renown. And these offer a programme this winter that feeds not only the mind but also the body. Two of our Must See tips:

Palais de Carnolès Musée de Beaux Arts
Temporary exhibition of Asian arts

A former summer residence of the Monaco princes, the Palais de Carnolès now houses a Fine Arts museum with a priceless collection ranging from Renaissance Flemish and Italian painters all the way to contemporary representatives of the art, like Raoul Dufy. This winter, and through April 30, a temporary exhibit of Asia arts, titled Regards sur les collections asiatiques, will join the eclectic ensemble of art work, featuring Chinese, Indian and Balinese paintings from the 15th to the 20th century, but also everyday Chinese and Japanese ceramics, furniture, and objects. Uniting contrasting concepts such as rich ornamentation and purist patterns, realism and symbolism, and calm and vibrant colours, Eastern art questions our view of nature.

The splendid sculpture-studded park around the museum – which has earned the distinction of Jardin Remarquable – is an exceptional assembly of rare citrus fruit trees, and well worth a visit as an extension of the impressive indoor collection.

Palais de Carnolès

3, avenue de la Madone
06500 Menton

Open daily (except Tuesdays & public holidays) from 10h – 12h and 14h – 18h

Tel : 04 93 35 49 71

Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman
Les Matinales

The Jean Cocteau museum is always worth a visit, any time of the year and any day of the week. Its unique collection, honoring the town’s most famous son, features a never-ending stream of interesting temporary exhibits. But Sunday mornings are an especially good reason to visit: Les Matinales, a once-a-month series of classical concerts followed by brunch, offer cultural and culinary sustenance in equal measure. The next Matinale on Sunday, 5th February at 11 am presents Russian music with the spotlight on Piotr Tchaikosvki. (See the full programme through June here).

Admission to the concert is free, brunch (optional) is €18/person.

(Brunch reservations are accepted by phone at 04 92 10 50 16 until the Thursday night preceding the date.)

Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman

2, quai de Monléon
06500 MENTON

Phone 04 89 81 52 50

Bonus tip

Admission to all Menton musems is free on every first Sunday of a month. As January 1, falling on a Sunday, was a public holiday on which museums are traditionally closed, the day of free admission has been postponed to January 8, 2017.


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Lead image of Musée Jean Cocteau collection Séverin Wunderman courtesy Ville de Menton

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