Three breathtakingly beautiful villages perchés (or perched villages) hover high above Menton. Each one is linked to the French Riviera by a winding mountain road. Better still, precipitous hiking trails run between each settlement.
- At 360m (1,181 ft.) in altitude, Gorbio is the lowest of the three. Beloved of artists seeking sanctuary from the coastal bustle, it boasts several colorful churches and a panoramic sea view.
- At 750m (2,461 ft.) high, Sainte-Agnès is the loftiest. Cobbled streets and country restaurants set the scene. The village once formed part of the Maginot Line fortifications built to protect France from Nazi Germany (not that it did much good). Remnants of the military bastion remain.
- Around 6km (4 miles) from Menton, Castellar perches above the Mediterranean like a fairytale redoubt. It's cute, quiet, and both the GR51 and GR52 walking trails pass through its medieval streets.
Beaches -- The all-public Plage du Soleil pans west from Menton to Cap Martin. Private beach clubs are found on Plage du Garavan just east of town. All-day sunloungers at Terenga Plage (tel. 04-93-28-27-56) and Napoléon Plage (tel. 04-92-10-92-60) cost around 12€ per day.
SAILING -- From the end of April until October visitors may bob around the Bay of Menton on a paddleboard, kayak, or sailing dinghy available for rent from the Centre Nautique de Menton (www.voile-menton.fr, tel. 04-93-35-49-70), located beside beach bar La Pergola.
BIKING -- The verdant hills around Menton are the training ground for several Tour de France cyclists. Lesser mortals may still peddle along the seafront from Italy to Monaco on a rented mountain bike (from 14€ per day) or electric bike (from 35€ per day) from Bike Trip, 1 avenue Carnot (www.rent-bike.fr, tel. 04-94-96-48-93), which also offers self-guided tour maps of the Menton Riviera.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.