Located in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of south-east France, the town of Menton (population 28,833 in 2008) began its journey to international tourist status in the nineteenth century when it was 'discovered' by wealthy English and Russian aristocrats in search of a winter destination in which to idle away their privileged lives.
It is located close to the French-Italian border and is famous, among other things, for its many gardens, among which the beautiful Jardin botanique exotique de Menton, also known as Le Val Rahmeh, after the spouse of its first owner, Sir Percy Radcliffe, in 1905.
Lord Radcliffe created the garden on several levels, and brought there a large number of exotic fruit plants, such as Kiwi, avocado and banana trees. But the botanical aspect of the garden was introduced by a later owner in the 1950s, the exotically named Miss Maybud Campbell, who also added a second garden in which she installed a pond for water lilies, water hyacinth and papyrus.
In 1966 the garden passed into public ownership (French Museum of Natural History), and is now home to over 700 species of plants and trees, among which the Sophora Toromiro, the sacred tree of Easter Island, no longer found in its indigenous terrain. And for citrus fruit fanatics there is a bizarre finger-shaped lemon for them to drool over.
You'll find it in the sun and the silence of the Avenue Saint-Jacques, 06500 Menton. And just relaxez-vous !