Les Sablettes beach, Menton's best, with calm waters and coarse but acceptable sand.
Photo by Tobias Alt
Menton's town and beaches are definitely worth a visit, if not a full-on holiday if you're looking for great weather and a quiet time.
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Plage du Casino on Baie du Soleil, one of the few/only dog-permitted beaches in the town.
Menton is relatively undeveloped, with a slow pace and a restrained attitude, offering a couple of substantial beaches, Les Sablettes to the east beyond the curve of this bay, and the one above which is actually a long strip of separately-named beaches that are basically identical and all joined anyway, so we have ignored the names apart from this one, Plage du Casino (obviously beside the town's casino) and probably the most convenient one (unless you have a dog to walk) Plage du Fossan in the distant corner (photo below).
Menton's waters are calm and clean in the summer season and most beaches are carpeted with scattered pebbles fading out to rough brown sand towards and into the water, so entering the warm seas is easy and no foot-protection needed.
Plage du Fossan in the eastern curve of Baie du Soleil.
This is the start/finishing point for the series of similar, connected beaches on the Baie du Soleil. Fossan is backed by the hideously inappropriate Museé de Jean Cocteau and a large pay car park, which is possibly why it's a little busier than other stretches. It's also occasionally popular with jellyfish as the Mediterranean's currents push them into this corner of the bay.
a public beach with acceptably soft surface.
Actually all the beaches on this bay are public, though on the east side there is one private beach. Fossan is composed partly of pebbles and partly of a kind of muddy sand. It has showers on the beach but no parasols or sun loungers for hire, and no toilets or marine activities. It's family friendly as the waters are shallow and protected. It's also very close to a large pay parking lot, many bars and restaurants including a McDonalds and to a free parking area.
Menton's west-side, kid-friendly beach, Les Sablettes, is about as far southwest as you can get
in France and definitely better than the west side beaches on Baie du Soleil.
Les Sablettes seen from the Promenade de la Mer, with the A8 autoroute into Italy visible in the top right of the photo.
Les Sablettes is not only sheltered by the steeply curved bay and the boat quai on the right, but also shelves gently and is coated with barefoot-acceptable, gravelly sand, as opposed to the long and occasionally problematical pebbly stretches on the east side of Menton. Furthermore, if you get to Les Sablettes early enough there is pay parking immediately beside the beach, visible in the photo, and a large kid's trampoline in action.
Further along the curve of the bay is Menton's only private beach, complete with pay parasols, loungers and lifeguard.
One of many little restaurant annexes along the Promenade du Soleil overlooking the beach in early September. The wait staff have to endlessly cross the quite busy 2 lane street to get to/from their restaurants.
Menton's climate is famously mild, rarely visiting the extremes (well, 0C/32F!) that some Côte d'Azur towns experience in mid-winter. The weather allows the growing of oranges and lemons all year round, a fact celebrated during Menton's Orange Festival. The best months to visit Menton are May-September.
Average maximum temperature is around a comfortable 27C while average minimum is about 4C. The wettest months of the year are in early winter, particularly October and November. Humidity is fairly constant at about 75%.
Water temperatures range from 12C in February to 23C in August.
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