21.5.11

On the Edge of the French Riviera

Saturday, 8 August 1891 - Menton, France

Menton, France (unless you ask the Italians who call it Mentone)
Today I went about as far east you can go on the French Riviera before it becomes the Italian Riveria. Menton is almost on the border. In fact I was told there is a marker not far from here where one can stand so you can brag to the folks back home you were in France and Italy at the same time. One feels like they are already in both countries walking about the streets. The French town has a strong Italian flavor.

Until the 1860s Menton was a sleepy little fishing village surrounded by lemon, orange and olive orchards. Then the tourists discovered it. Now it is filling with villas for the wealthy and hotels for the not so wealthy. Unlike Nice, that is being turned into a poor imitation of Monte Carlo by gamblers, Menton is sticking to it’s tourist roots as a refuge for retirees and invalids sent forth by doctors in London.

Menton is mostly uphill
Menton is built mostly up the mountainside since there is little flat land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Maritime Alps. The town dates back to the middle ages, and I’m told there are prehistoric remains in the area.

I found a room on the west side of the bay at the Hotel des Isles Britanniques or Hotel of the British Isles. I wasn’t surprised to find the clerk spoke English. I have a room overlooking the garden. Sea views cost more. The staff is courteous and the place is clean. I would recommend it to any time travelers passing through.

Hotel of the British Isles
I’m looking forward to exploring this quaint town. I’m hoping to find the villa Queen Victoria stayed in.

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