The French Riviera town of Menton welcomes the end of winter with a celebration that involves tonnes and tonnes of sunny, juicy lemons. At the Fete du Citron or Lemon Festival, organised every year in February-March, lemons and other citrons are arranged to create 30-foot-high structures at the town’s Bioves Gardens. Artists and enthusiasts create designs based on the year’s theme, which has ranged from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea inspired by the Jules Verne novel, to Tribulations of a Lemon in China, a spin-off on a popular French novel. Come nightfall, the orange and yellow structures are illuminated with myriad lights, and often accompanied by sounds to bring the fruity creations to life.
There’s also a parade once a day along the adjacent Promenade du Soleil that lends the festival a carnival air. There’s the Golden Fruits Parade and the nighttime parades, which have extravagantly decorated citrus floats that are sometimes accompanied by dramatic fireworks and followed by brass bands, confetti-showering crowds, and brightly-dressed dancers and performers. The whole town gets into the spirit of the festivities with shops selling citrus-flavoured foods and fragrances among other things.