Fête du Citron

The Fête du Citron is a carnival event organised by the tourist office of the city of Menton, France, and held every year at the end of winter. It is also sometimes called Carnaval de Menton (Carnival of Menton).

Lemon Festival
Fête du Citron
Fête du Citron® Menton.jpg
84th Lemon Festival, 2017
VenueMenton, France

The festival celebrates the annual production of specialty lemons and other citrus fruit in Menton. All the floats and sculptures present at the carnival are created from lemons and oranges.

The celebration takes place every year in mid-February.[1] It has been recognised by the Ministry of Culture of France and entered in the inventory of intangible cultural heritage in 2019.[2]


In 1875, hoteliers proposed to the municipality to create a carnival parade to enliven the city in winter. As early as 1876, the event attracted locals and wealthy winter visitors alike. At the time, it was fashionable for the wealthy to come and spend the winter months in the mild climate of the French Riviera. Kings, princes, and artists flocked to palaces in the city or had villas built there. The 1882 edition of the carnival was notably attended by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and it culminated with a fireworks display over Garavan Bay. The Carnival of Menton bears some similarities to its cousin from neighbouring Nice: a parade of large heads, confetti streams, flower battles, Mardi Gras celebration, and finally, the burning in effigy of the "Majesty of the Carnival". The feasts which surround the celebration mark the period before Lent.

Lemon FestivalEdit

Dragon float at the 86th Fête du Citron, 2019
Train float at the 80th Fête du Citron, 2013
Whale float at the 81st Fête du Citron, 2014

In 1928, Menton was the main producer of lemons on the European continent. A hotelier had the idea of organizing a private exhibition of flowers and citrus fruits in the gardens of the Riviera Hotel. The event's success was such that the following year, the municipality took up the idea on its own. The name "Fête du Citron" was born in 1934. The Lemon Festival combines traditional carnival events with a celebration of Menton's reputation as Europe's lemon capital. Today, Menton is not known for the quantity of lemons it produces but rather their quality, as they are of a specialty kind sought after by chefs from across the region.[3] The celebration features elaborate themed floats whose structures are covered in citrus fruit, primarily lemons and oranges, a large portion of which is imported from Spain every year.[4] At the end of the event, the fruits are sold at low prices.[5] Each year, a different theme is chosen for the festival.

The Fête du Citron is the second largest public winter event on the French Riviera after the Nice Carnival.

The celebration did not take place during the war years between 1940 and 1946, in 1991 due to the Gulf War, and in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previous themesEdit

2022 88th Operas and theater 12 Feb. to 27 Feb.
2020 87th World festivals 15 Feb. to 3 Mar.
2019 86th Fantastic worlds 16 Feb. to 3 Mar.
2018 85th Bollywood 17 Feb. to 4 Mar.
2017 84th Broadway 11 Feb. to 1 Mar.
2016 83rd Cinecittà[6] 13 Feb. to 2 Mar.
2015 82nd The tribulations of a lemon in China 14 Feb. to 4 Mar.
2014 81st 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 15 Feb. to 5 Mar.
2013 80th Around the World in 80 Days 16 Feb. to 6 Mar.
2012 79th Regions of France 17 Feb. to 7 Mar.
2011 78th The Great civilizations[7] 18 Feb. to 9 Mar.
2010 77th Menton creates cinema 12 Feb. to 3 Mar.
2009 76th Music of the world 13 Feb. to 4 Mar.
2008 75th Islands of the world 16 Feb. to 5 Mar.
2007 74th Menton invites carnivals of the world - guest of honour: India 17 Feb. to 7 Mar.
2006 73rd Menton invites carnivals of the world - guest of honour: Brazil
2005 72nd Long live Spain
2004 71st Walt Disney Studio Park
2003 70th Alice in Wonderland
2002 69th Pinocchio 31 Jan. to 17 Feb.
2001 68th Tales of Mother Goose 8 to 27 Feb.
2000 67th La Fontaine's Fables 11 to 27 Feb.
1999 66th Lucky Luke in Menton
1998 65th Tintin in the land of lemons
1997 64th Menton-Monaco "A story of princes"
1996 63rd Asterix in the land of lemons
1995 62nd Disneyland in the land of lemons
1994 61st Marine fairies
1993 60th Celebrating Europe
1992 59th The gallant holidays
1991 58th The year of Mozart
1990 57th Myths and legends of the Mediterranean
1989 56th If I knew the history of France
1988 55th Wonders of the world
1987 54th Love and passion
1986 53rd Stories and legends
1985 52nd Cinema
1984 51st Lemons without borders
1983 50th The lemon-gold wedding
1982 49th Jules Verne
1981 48th Provence
1980 47th No more waste
1979 46th Circus
1978 45th A walk through the history of Menton
1977 44th Lemon in all sauces
1976 43rd Lemon makes the fair
1975 42nd The Golden Fruit Congress has fun
1974 41st Lemon and Chinese
1973 40th Trip to the Moon
1972 39th What a program
1971 38th The lemon and the sea
1970 37th Music
1969 36th The lemon king of the journey
1968 35th The lucky charm
1967 34th Signs of the zodiac
1966 33rd The 4 seasons
1965 32nd Orange and gold waterfalls
1964 31st The yé-yé orchestras
1963 30th The lemon through the ages
1962 29th Love
1961 28th Orange and gold symphony
1960 27th The small world of our countryside
1959 26th Flowers


  1. ^ "Fête du citron à Menton" [Lemon Festival in Menton]. routard.com (in French). Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  2. ^ "La fête du Citron de Menton" [Lemon Festival in Menton] (PDF). culture.gouv.fr (in French). Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  3. ^ "The Citrus Elixir of Menton". euronews.com. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  4. ^ "À la découverte de la fête du citron de Menton" [Discovering the lemon festival of Menton]. francetvinfo.fr (in French). 23 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  5. ^ "La Côte d'Azur en fête" [Celebrating the Côte d'Azur]. francetvinfo.fr (in French). 15 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  6. ^ "La 83e Fête du citron de Menton rend hommage à Cinecittà" [The 83rd Lemon Festival in Menton pays tribute to Cinecittà]. rtbf.be (in French). 11 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2020.
  7. ^ "On se presse à Menton" [We hurry to Menton]. madame.lefigaro.fr (in French). 18 February 2011. Retrieved 9 February 2020.

External linksEdit