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Visiting the Port of Garavan, Menton, France: facility in a scenic location, within walking distance of Italy
Border port with visitors from many countries
Barely a few minutes' walk from the border with Italy the Port of Garavan (or 'Menton-Garavan', as officials like to call it) is among the largest of port facilities on the French Riviera (usual French designation: Côte d'Azur).
The Port comprises a total of 770 berths. Many, local residents own boats or yachts, and so most of the berths at Menton-Garavan are reserved for them. But there are 170 beths which remain available for visiting vessels.
Yacht charters may also be obtained. The facility is able to accommodate vessels of up to 40 metres in length (1).
Building on the Port of Menton-Garavan began in 1966. The Port was opened to vessels in 1967.
Menton proper also has a port (2), with a greater, commercial emphasis, whereas the Port of Menton-Garavan is mainly a marina for leisure craft.
During the vacation season particularly, this facility at Menton-Garavan becomes very busy.
Navigators note that waves hitting the port entrance from the south can make navigation hazardous when significant winds prevail. However, the port itself is well sheltered. Chandlery facilities are available.
The Menton-Garavan railroad station (French: Gare de Menton-Garavan) is 500 metres away from the Port of Menton-Garavan. The Italian border, lies 1 kilometre to the east. On the port's jetty stands the last lighthouse on French territory before the Italian border.
At the edge of the port lies a striking fountain consisting of the statues of multiple dolphins seemingly leaping simultaneously.
An older fountain, excecuted in stone, lies close to the Port, at the junction between Promenade de la Reine Astrid and Avenue Aristide Briand. This ornate work dates from 1897, a date carved prominently on the side of the strucure, overlooking the Port.
March 22, 2013
(1) Further details of the port facilities may be accessed at: http://www.tourisme-menton.fr/Port-de-Menton-Garavan.html The sheer popularity of the Port of Menton-Garavan among international visitors is borne out in the large number of web pages in many languages that are in existence, which describe its facilities: these languages include (as well as French and English) Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and Polish.
(2) Sometimes the port in Menton proper is known as the Municipal Port (French: Port municipal) or even the Old Port (French: Vieux Port). In turn, the Port of Menton-Garavan is sometimes known as the New Port (French: Nouveau port).
Also worth seeing
In Menton itself, its numerous visitor attractions include the 17th century Basilica; the Palais Carnolès, which used to be the property of the Prince of Monaco; the Jean Cocteau museum in the Bastion; the Pont-Saint-Louis, within walking distance of the Port of Garavan, was the scene of conflict in 1944, commemorated by an historical plaque; close to this location, historic casemates may at times be visited; and many others.
How to get there:
The nearest sizable international airport to Menton is Nice, France (Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur). Delta Airlines flies direct from New York to Nice. The French railroad company SNCF serves stations between Nice and Menton-Garavan. Enquire also at Nice Airport for bus links to Menton. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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