Saturday, February 28, 2015

Menton, France

Menton, France
Another small village of note along the Riviera is Menton. Situated  along the Franco-Italian border, it is nicknamed la perle de la France ("The Pearl of France"). We took bus #100 from Nice and traveled through several other coastal towns, including Monaco, on the one hour ride. The bus is a cheap way to travel along the coast, but is often crowded, and we had to stand most of the way.

Empty streets in Menton's centro storico
Menton is a quaint, unpretentious, and attractive village, just 5 miles from the Franco-Italian border at Ventimiglia. It was a pleasant change from Nice, with few tourists, lower prices, and a sandy beach.

The Jean Cocteau Art Museum
The Jean Cocteau Museum houses the collection of American businessman and Cocteau enthusiast SĂ©verin Wunderman, and is situated along the beach. Unfortunately, it was closed the day we were there, a Tuesday. (I've become accustomed to museums being closed on Mondays in Italy, but in France they're closed on Tuesdays, which caused us to miss out on seeing several of the great art museums in Nice.)

Mosaic in front of the Baroque basilica Saint-Michel-Archange
I learned later that Menton is also famous for its gardens, another aspect that we missed seeing. I should have done more research on the area before the trip: having a traveling companion made me lazy, it seems.

Empty beach!
It was an overcast day, and the beach was completely devoid of people. Unlike the rocky composition of the beach in Nice, Menton's beach is sandy, and I was able to walk along the shore in my bare feet.

Looking out to the Riviera
We wandered around Menton for a few hours, did some shopping, and stopped to eat galettes at a creperie. Galettes are crepes made of buckwheat flour, and are usually savory, instead of sweet.

Le Milady Creperie
A savory galette, with eggs and chorizo
I first became acquainted with galettes when I visited my friend Monica in Paris in 2012. She took me to a creperie where I had a galette with a salad on top. It was incredibly delicious! You can read about it here: Arrival in Paris.

I tried several galettes while in France this time, but none of them matched the one I had in Paris. Instead, I found them to be heavy and wanting in flavor.

View of Menton from the beach
After a peaceful visit in Menton, we boarded the bus, and headed back to Nice. As we traveled through Monte Carlo, I was only able to get a few shots of the town, famous for its casinos and status as a country separate from France.

That way to the casinos!
Monaco's license plate, denoting it's status as a unique country.

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