Provence & Côte d’Azur: Concerns that it could be becoming more Italian than French
Is Menton losing its French feel?
The quaint coastal town of Menton, nestled between the Mediterranean sea and the mountains on the French Italian border, is widely acclaimed for its zesty lemons and cultural charm. But recently concerns have arisen that the town is beginning to lose its French feel due to a prominent Italian influence in shops and eating establishments.
Thanks to a subtropical microclimate and 316 days of sunshine throughout the year, the town oozes with Mediterranean charm. Being the last stop before the Italian border, the picturesque location is a gem for tourists and locals with a blend of French and Italian cultures. However, the Mayor of Menton, Jean-Claude Guibal, has revealed his concerns that it could be becoming more Italian than French.
Guibal told local newspaper Nice Matin that “although Menton has the reputation of being the most Italian place in the country, we are still in France and therefore here in France we call a restaurant, a restaurant not the Italian version ristorante. It’s the same case with the word hotel, it is hôtel in French, not albergo.”
The Mayor said that using other foreign languages is obviously welcomed, but there must also be the French translation equally visible and easy to understand.
He acknowledged that the Italian feel was part of Menton's charm as it has experienced a flourish of Italian influence in recent years, with Italian names and translations installed on road signs alongside the French version.
The law currently states that it is necessary for traders to show business cards, menus, sign posts and the establishment’s name in French in addition to Italian, and they must indicate a good knowledge of spelling and grammar. But the Mayor said that this isn’t the case for a number of restaurants, hotels and cafes, who have begun to use only the Italian version.