Menton was one of the places we had not been to before and specifically targeted for a brief exploration this time. Literally “the last” point on the French Riviera – you cannot move eastward of Menton without crossing the border into Italy – it is a resort town famous for its beaches which also offers a few cultural highlights. Several of them celebrate the works of Jean Cocteau, whom we briefly mentioned while exploring Villefranche. Cocteau’s unique painting style may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but its distinctiveness is a good reason all by itself to check out his works.
Inside the town hall building, Salle des Marriages is a Cocteau masterpiece from 1958.
Weddings are reportedly conducted here all the time, but on a midweek morning we had the room to ourselves. For a nominal fee, you get to listen to an audio presentation – available in a number of languages, we were told – that unveils the history of the project and describes what the painted scenes depict.
Of a couple of other Cocteau-related museums in Menton, the one which I expected would allow us to see more of his works was closed for renovation. In a bit of a planning fail, I assumed that the Cocteau Museum at the Bastion is a branch of the multi-location collection, but in fact, it is a separate museum devoted to Cocteau’s career in movies, which was only marginally interesting to us. Here is the bastion itself, as viewed from the connected ramparts.
From roughly the same vantage point, colorful perspectives of the Old Town of Menton.
Glimpses of the sea.
The previous shot was taken from the edge of Place de la Conception, the highest point of the Old Town, which is headlined by the Basilica of Saint Michael Archangel (on the left in the next shot) and the Chapel of the White Penitents.
I came by the square a few minutes before noon, and – surprise, surprise! – both churches already locked their doors for the midday break.
The Saint-Michel stairway descends down from the basilica.
A few random corners of Menton.
And a mountain-road view of the town from a distance.
As practically any destination on the Riviera, Menton is not without charms, and could likely sustain a longer visit than the one we graced it with.