Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Menton

On Saturday I hopped on the bus to Menton for something to do... About a 1 1/4 hour trip, past Monaco, almost to the Italian border. Everything I've heard about Menton goes on about its "micro-climate" - supposedly the best in these parts with something ridiculous like 300 days of sunshine a year (which is why, amongst others, Katherine Mansfield went there to hopefully recover from TB). Anyway, so disappoint - it was pretty cold and windy and overcast. Stupid Menton.

But apart from that, I liked. Its old town was basically built up the side of the hill, which meant quite a few steps but some great views. It felt somehow more authentic than Nice's... I suppose fewer tourists, but just something about the narrow steep streets as well (although the streets are narrow and dingy in Nice as well). So I just wandered around for a while, in the old town and along the seafront. Eventually I found this wall that you can walk along right next to the sea, with the port area between you and the town - that was really pretty. And from this perspective, Menton looks *just* like the towns of the Cinque Terre (where I was in Italy) - after all, it's the same region really.

I went into a nice old church as well - it was quite sweet, this lady saw me impotently pushing at the door of the church across the square and called out to me that she was just about to open up the other church that she was evidently in charge of, so that was nice. It's always pleasant to meet French people who will go a little out of their way to help you, instead of watching you fail with glee...

There was a carnival on, so I satisfied my sudden craving for frites mmmm. I hardly ever get to have frites this time round, I miss northern France where a town square ain't a town square without a shack-esque friterie selling awesome chips in paper cones with ketchup and mayonnaise a-plenty.

After a couple of hours, it was time to head back. I think I repeatedly dozed off on the bus home, shame au. Unfortunately my camera was out of battery so no photos :( but I'll have to try to go back because I did really like the whole vibe of the place, and the beach actually had some sand, so if the micro-climate lives up to its name next time, that would be good.

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