I was so thrilled to go to the ‘fete de citron’ in Menton this year during the end of February. It was particularly special for me because this year the theme was ‘Bollywood’ and as I am an Indian living in the South of France there are not too many opportunities to see a little something that reminds me of my culture.
So you may be wondering, what is the ‘fete de citron’?
Well every year in Menton, a fantasy world is created using lemons and Oranges. Festivities take place over a 3 week period with Night parades, fruit exhibitions, garden illuminations and free street animations. You can choose which event to go to, we decided to go to the illuminations which take place at night in the Bioves garden.
It was quite spectacular to see these towering structures of the Taj Mahal, Rickshaw, Ganesh, Elephants and Shiva. All decorated with lemons and oranges attached by elastic bands. I found it tricky to stop my 2 year old from arranging the lemons displayed on the floor😉.
There were also some animations including the puppeteer which my little kids loved, a fire performer; I hurried along when I saw him putting a sword all the way down his throat. How would I explain that to the little ones; kids do not try that at home. There were also some oriental dancers; not quite indian but beautiful none the less. The group that I was excited to see, were a Rajasthani music group which really got me moving my body; I felt like I was gatecrashing an Indian wedding.
Only down side was no Indian snacks!!! How I do miss my Somosas!!
A little History of the lemon festival
In 1928, Menton was the largest exporter of lemons. It was a hotelier that organised an exhibition of citrus fruits and flowers and this became so popular that the city decided to make this a festival in 1934 and in 1936 the Biovès garden was decorated in lemons, oranges and flowers.
So what happens to all these lemons and oranges?
I was told that they are sold after the festival at a bargain price. However with this years weather I wonder as some of the fruit must have got frozen!!
|The Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world|
|Classical Indian dancer dancing on the peacock|
|Ganesh, one of our most revered Indian God|
|Elephants in India have a majestic presence|
|The Kings and Queens would travel in style on the elephants|
|The famous rickshaw you see in the streets of India|
💨 Over 140 tonnes of lemons and oranges are used
💨 The first festival started in 1934
💨 The event attracts over 240,000 people
💨 Look out for other interesting events that take place during the same time or after; for example Nice Carnival, Holy Party, Orchard festival.
💨 Buy your tickets online, children under 6 go free
💨 Book your hotel early, as it gets quite crowded.