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Menton

Menton
The harbour of Menton, with the basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange beyond, viewed from the Quai Napoléon III
The harbour of Menton, with the basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange beyond, viewed from the Quai Napoléon III
Flag of Menton
Flag
Coat of arms of Menton
Coat of arms
Menton is located in France
Menton
Coordinates:
Country France
Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Department Alpes-Maritimes
Arrondissement Nice
Intercommunality Riviera française
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jean-Claude Guibal
Area1 14.05 km2 (5.42 sq mi)
Population (2012)2 29,073
 • Density 2,100/km2 (5,400/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 06083 / 06500
Elevation 0–774 m (0–2,539 ft)
(avg. 16 m or 52 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Menton (French pronunciation: ​; Occitan: , written Menton in classical norm or Mentan in Mistralian norm; Italian: Mentone ) is a commune in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.

Situated on the French Riviera, along the Franco-Italian border, it is nicknamed la perle de la France ("The Pearl of France").[1]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Population 3
  • Townscape 4
  • Mentonasc language 5
  • Origin of the name 6
  • Annual town events 7
  • Sport 8
  • Personalities 9
  • International relations 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13

History

The Menton area has been inhabited since the paleolithic era, and is the site of the original "Grimaldi Man" find of early modern humans, as well as remains of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons.[2] In Roman times, the Via Julia Augusta, a road connecting Placentia (now Piacenza) with Arelates (now Arles) passed through Menton, running along the Rue Longue in the old town.[3] The first major settlement occurred during the 11th century CE, when the Count of Ventimiglia constructed the Château de Puypin (Podium Pinum) on the Pépin hill, north and west of the modern town center. During the 13th century, the seigneury of Puypin fell to the Vento family of Genoa who built a new castle along the Roman road, now the site of the Vieux-Château cemetery, providing the core around which the current town grew. Menton was thus incorporated into the Republic of Genoa. The first mention of Menton dates from 21 July 1262, in the peace treaty between Charles of Anjou and Genoa. Its position on the border between the Angevin-ruled Provence and the Republic of Genoa, which at the time claimed Monaco as its western limit, made it a coveted location.

Menton, as part of Monaco, was the extreme western area of the Republic of Genoa (green color) in 1664.

Acquired in 1346 by Charles Grimaldi, Lord of Monaco, Menton was ruled by the Princes of Monaco until the French Revolution. Annexed during the Revolution, Menton remained part of France through the First Empire. It belonged to the district of Sanremo in the department of Alpes-Maritimes, which at the time included Monaco and Sanremo.

In 1814 Menton was included in a reconstituted principality of Monaco which, after Napoleon's Hundred Days in 1815, became a protectorate of the King of Sardinia. The Princes of Monaco were obliged to do homage to the King for Menton, although not for Monaco itself.

Map of the territory of the free cities of Menton and Roquebrune in 1848.[4]

In 1848, Menton, along with its neighbour Kingdom of Sardinia where they were administered by the House of Savoy for ten years.[6]

The [7]

The publication of Winter and Spring on the Shores of the Mediterranean (1861) by the English doctor James Henry Bennett had a profound effect on Menton, making it a popular destination for sufferers of tuberculosis.[8] By the end of the 19th century, tourism was an important factor in Menton's growth. The town was popular with English and Russian aristocrats who built many of the luxurious hotels, villas, and palaces which still grace Menton today. Many of these hotels and palaces were pressed into service as hospitals during World War I to allow injured troops to recuperate in a pleasant climate.

Sailboats in Menton harbor, photograph by Jean Gilletta early 1900s

Menton was the only sizable settlement captured by Italy during its invasion of France in June 1940. Following the armistice of June 22, 1940, two-thirds of the territory of the commune was annexed by Italy as terra irredenta. The annexation lasted until 8 September 1943.

Although officially returned to Vichy France, Menton was in fact occupied by Nazi Germany until its liberation by American and Canadian troops of the First Special Service Force on 8 September 1944.[9]

The port and the old part of town.

Geography

Menton, nicknamed the Pearl of France, is located on the Mediterranean Sea at the Franco-Italian border, just across from the Ligurian town of Ventimiglia. It boasts a warm micro-climate favorable to lemon, tangerine, and orange groves whence one of the town's symbols, the lemon.

The fishing industry was devastated in the 1980s and 1990s when a combination of overfishing and hypoxia in the bay. At the time, the devastation was erroneously attributed to the dubiously nicknamed "killer algae" Caulerpa taxifolia (a non-native Asian tropical green alga first discovered in the Mediterranean Sea adjacent to the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 1984) spread throughout the coastal sea floor. Later, sound scientific findings revealed that the seaweed was adept at absorbing pollutants and excess nutrients, actually aiding the recovery of native Posidonia sea grass[10] and enhancing local fish populations and overall biodiversity.[11]

Population

The Bastion Museum

Townscape

Menton from the sea
Menton decorated window

Menton is famous for its gardens, including the Jardin Serre de la Madone, the Jardin botanique exotique de Menton ('Le Val Rahmeh'), the Fontana Rosa, the Maria Serena garden, and the modernist gardens of Les Colombières.[12] Le Val Rahmeh was established in 1905 by Englishman Sir Percy Radcliffe, the first owner of the gardens, and named for his wife. Villa Fontana Rosa was built in 1922 by Blasco Ibáñez, a Spanish novelist, and the gardens of the villa are now open to the public.

  • The baroque basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange, with its belltower, was built in 1619 by the Genoese architect Lorenzo Lavagna.
  • The Bastion Museum, which features decoration by Jean Cocteau, is located in the Bastion of the port of Menton. The bastion, built overwater in 1636 as an advance defense for the port by the Princes of Monaco, is now located at the shoreline.
  • The wedding room at the Mairie (town hall) was painted in the 1950s by Cocteau, transforming it into a giant work of art.
  • Menton is home to at least half a dozen beaches
  • The historic covered market was built in 1898 by local architect Adrien Rey. The market is open everyday from 5 am until 1 pm in the summer and in winter opening at 5:30 am. Over 30 kiosks both inside and around the market sell local and imported vegetables. The Belle Époque structure was one of many famous buildings constructed by the architect in the region.[13]
  • Next to the beach and the covered market is the Jean Cocteau Museum. It opened in 2011 and is close to the Bastion Museum.[14]

Mentonasc language

The Mentonasc dialect is currently spoken by about 10% of the population in Menton, Roquebrune, and the surrounding villages. It is taught within the French educational system, as a variety of Niçard (i.e. Provençal and Occitan). However, in nineteenth century linguistic descriptions,[15] as well as in contemporary linguistic scholarship[16][17][18] Mentonasc is described as an intermediate between Niçard and the Intemelio dialect of Ligurian. Some scholars insist that Mentonasc is, at its base, a Ligurian dialect, with French influences coming only later,[19] and that its supposed misclassification as a variety of Provençal has essentially political motives.[20]

Origin of the name

Although the name's spelling and pronunciation in French are identical to those for the word that means "chin", there does not seem to be any link with this French word. According to the French geographer Ernest Nègre, the name Menton comes from the Roman name Mento.[21] However, it is possible that the name of the city comes from Mons Ottonis (reconstituted) from the name of Otton II, the Count of Ventimiglia from 1162-1200.[22] In Mentonasc, the city's name is Mentan (pronounced ), and in Italian Mentone ().

An inhabitant of Menton, un mentonnais or un mentonasque in French, would be O mentonasc in the local dialect.

View of the port of Menton

Annual town events

Menton Lemon Festival
Menton Lemon Festival
Menton Lemon Festival
Menton Lemon Festival

The Lemon Festival takes place every February. The festival follows a given theme each year; past themes include Viva España, Disney, Neverland, and India. The festival lasts a few days, with different bands passing through Menton's streets on foot or on truck trailers. The Casino Gardens in the centre of town are decorated in the theme of the festival, using lemons to cover the exhibits, and huge temporary statues are built and covered with citrus fruit.

The Casino Gardens are also the location for Menton's Christmas Festival.

The Menton Classical Musical Festival is also held every year in the centre of the old town.

Sport

Menton has a football team Rapid de Menton who play at the stadium Stade Lucien Rhein. Menton also has a rugby team Le rugby Club Webb Ellis de Menton.[23]

Personalities

Notables who were born, lived, or died in Menton:

Émile Appay - Menton

International relations

Menton

Menton is twinned with:

See also

References

  • INSEE
  1. ^ """Menton, "perle de la France (in French). Office de Tourisme de Menton. 
  2. ^ Émile Rivière, Découverte d'un Squelette Humain de l'Époque Paléolithique Dans les Cavernes des Baoussé-Rousse dites Grottes de Menton (Discovery of a Human Skeleton from the Paleolithic in the Caverns of Baoussé-Rousse also known as the Grottes de Menton), (J.-B. Baillière et Fils, Paris, 1873) (in French)
  3. ^ La rue Longue (Official site of the town of Menton, accessed April 2009) (in French)
  4. ^ Ermanno Amicucci. Nizza e l'Italia. Mondadori editore. Milano, 1939.
  5. ^ Menton on the French Riviera (accessed April 2009)
  6. ^ Ermanno Amicucci. Nizza e l'Italia. p 58-61
  7. ^ a b Monaco, Menton, and Roquebrune
  8. ^ Ted Jones (15 December 2007). The French Riviera: A Literary Guide for Travellers. Tauris Parke Paperbacks.  
  9. ^ La libération de Menton (The Liberation of Menton, Official site of the town of Menton, Accessed April 2009) (in French)
  10. ^ Jaubert, J. M., J. R. M. Chisholm, G. Passeron-Seitre, D. Ducrot, H. T. Ripley, and L. Roy. 1999. No deleterious alterations in Posidonia beds in the Bay of Menton (France) eight years after Caulerpa taxifolia colonization. Journal of Phycology 35:1113-1119.
  11. ^ Francour, P., M. Harmelin-Vivien, J. G. Harmelin, and J. duClerc. 1995. Impact of Caulerpa taxifolia colonization on the littoral ichthyofauna of northwestern Mediterranean. Hydrobiologia 300-301:345-353
  12. ^ "The "Colombières" garden". Menton – Gardens. Menton.com. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  13. ^ "Belle Epoque in Menton". Riviera Kitchen. 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  14. ^ a b Edwards, Natasha (16 October 2012). "Menton, France: On the Jean Cocteau museum trail". The Daily Telegraph. 
  15. ^ James Bruny Andrews, Il dialetto di Mentone, in quanto egli tramezzi ideologicamente tra il provenzale e il ligure (The dialect of Menton, in which it is ideologically intermediate between Provençal and Ligurian) in Archivio Glottologico Italiano XII, 1890/92, pp. 97-106. (in English)
  16. ^ J.-P. Dalbera, Interférences entre provençal et ligurien dans la génèse du système morphologique mentonnais (Interferences between Provençal and Ligurian in the genesis of the Mentonnais morphological system) in Bulletin du Centre de romanistique et de latinité tardive 4-5, Nice, 1989, pp. 89-97.
  17. ^ W. Forner L'Intemelia linguistica, in 1 Intemelion, Sanremo, 1995, pp. 67-82. (in Italian)
  18. ^ Le mentonnais entre toutes les chaises ? in Lexique Français-Mentonnais (Caserio & al. 2001) (in French)
  19. ^ Werner Forner.À propos du ligurien intémélien - La côte, l'arrière-pays, Travaux du Cercle linguistique de Nice, 7-8, 1986, pp. 29-62.
  20. ^ F. Toso, Il brigasco e l'olivettese tra classificazione scientifica e manipolazioni politico-amministrative Intermelion #14 p. 103, 2008 (in Italian)
  21. ^ Ernest Nègre, General Toponym of France : Etymology of 35,000 place names, Geneva : Librairie Droz, 1990. Volume I : Pre-Celtic, Celtic, and Roman names, § 11 118, p 664 (in French).
  22. ^ (French)Fondation de Menton
  23. ^ "Rugby Club Webb Ellis Menton : présentation des règles du rugby, boutique maillot de rugby". Rugbyclub-webbellis.com. 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  24. ^ "The "Colombières" garden". Domain Colombières. Monument historique. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 
  25. ^ Foreman, Liza (24 August 2013). "More Than Just a Famous Garden". The New York Times. 
  26. ^ "Obituary: Lesley Blanch". The Guardian. 10 May 2007. 
  27. ^ "Association Suisse des Communes et Régions d’Europe". L'Association suisse pour le Conseil des Communes et Régions d'Europe (ASCCRE) (in French). Retrieved 2013-07-20. 

External links

  • Menton travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Tourist office website
  • Tourist office website (english version)
  • City council website
  • Menton at DMOZ
  • Images of Menton
  • Menton Holiday Information Page
  • Culture and local traditions
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