In brief

From Nice to Menton, French Riviera cities cancel their iconic carnivals

Fête du citron Menton
© Menton town hall

After the Carnival of Nice, Menton’s Lemon Festival is the latest Riviera event to fall victim to the wave of pandemic-related event cancellations.

It’s a second blow to the Riviera’s tourism industry, which has already been hit hard by the pandemic. On 4 December, exactly a day after Nice announced the postponement of the 2021 Nice Carnival “King of Animals” to 2022, Menton confirmed that it would have to cancel the famous Lemon Festival due to the pandemic.

Too many setbacks

On top of considerable financial investment, “putting into place the event requires very early organisation, for instance when it comes to supplying the lemons,” explained the city council in a press release. On top of the material investment, the city council also stresses that it was difficult to imagine keeping the Lemon Festival “without organised trips, which represent a quarter of the visitors”.

A loss of 16 000 overnight stays

Every year, Menton’s Lemon Festival, known as la Fête du Citron in French, attracts over 240,000 visitors from France and abroad. For the local hotel industry, the festival represents about 16,000 overnight stays. Over the two-week-long festival, Menton’s hotels are 70% booked. The news of the event’s cancellation is an even bigger blow given that the 2020 edition of the festival had already been canceled due to Covid-19.

The town of Menton assures that the festival’s “lively parades, lemons and dazzling colours” will be back in 2022.