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Visit French Affair at the Bastille Festival, Circular Quay Sydney on Saturday July 14th from 10am to 10pm and Sunday July 15th from 10am to 5pm.

Fête du Citron

Fête du Citron

 

Fête du Citron

The little town of Menton is just before the Italian border on the French Riviera and every February, it’s colourful Lemon Festival, Fête du Citron, attracts over 230,000 visitors to marvel at the impressive sculptures and parades.

So how did this charming little town become famous for lemons? According to a delightful local legend, it started when the first lemon tree first took root in Menton:

Expelled from the Garden of Eden along with Adam, Eve took with her a golden fruit. Adam, fearing divine wrath, begged her to throw the fruit away. She agreed, but on the condition that she leave it in the place of her choosing. They crossed mountains, valleys and plains, but nowhere pleased her. Suddenly, the Bay of Garavan, in Menton, appeared before them. The beauty of the bay, the mild climate and the luxuriant vegetation: everything reminded them of paradise. Eve buried the lemon in the ground, and this is where the town of Menton later sprang up.

 The colourful Fête du Citron has taken place since 1928 and each year there is a theme.  Past themes have included “Around the world in 80 days: Menton, the secret port of call”, Jules Verne’s novel, “20,000 Leagues under the Sea”, “The Tribulation of a Lemon in China” and in 2016, the festival pays tribute to Cinecittà, the Italian cinema of the 50s and 60s.

Over 300 professionals will use more than 145 tonnes of citrus fruit to decorate the gigantic structures, statues, models and floats.

Floral processions are organised on the Promenade du Soleil, with a mixture of citrus-themed floats, confetti, dancers and folk groups. Displayed in giant floats, Citrus Limonia is saluted by entertainers, brass bands and other creatures full of divine charm.

During the festival, the Biovès Gardens are clad with citrus fruit, forming temporary sculptures in dazzling yellow and orange shades. Some can reach heights of 10 metres and more. At nightfall, the orange and lemon monuments sparkle in their flamboyant colours, and night-time events are sometimes held. 

Treat yourself to a glass of delicious fresh lemonade, some lemon vinegar or even your very own lemon tree. In 2016, the 83rd year of the festival, it runs from February 13th to March 2nd.