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(51) - Côte d'Azur (F) - Riviera di Ponente (I)

The border between France and Italy along the Mediterranean Sea:

"Poste de Frontière Saint Ludovic-Menton" / " Posta di Frontiera di Ponte San Ludovico"

The city of Menton (in Italian 'Mentone') looks as far as architecture and atmosphere is concerned rather like an Italian town than a typical French one. Also the names of other places and rivers around Menton often have names of an Italian origin. For example the main town Nice at the French Riviera is known by its Italian name Nizza to many Europeans only (for example in German language).

The border is situated east of the quarter Menton-Garavan approx. 1 1/2 miles from the town-centre along the N98, directly on the coast: the French Riviera Côte d'Azur (in Italian 'Costa Azzurra') ends here and becomes the Italian Riviera.

F-06500 Menton (Alpes Maritimes) - 29.250 inhabitants - height above sea-level 70 feet
Distances: Nice 19 miles; Monaco (MC): 8 miles; Sanremo (I): 21 miles

I-18039 Ventimiglia (Imperia province) - 25.900 inhabitants
Distances: Sanremo: 11 miles / Genua: 100 miles / Milano: 150 miles

   Menton (F) :
We are on our way to the border-crossing: the Italian coastal town of Genova is only shown by its French name (=Gènes) on this long distance traffic sign.
   Menton (F):

'Porte de France' just 900 yards left to the French/Italian border.

Menton F:

just 900 yards left to the French/Italian border . French flag on the mast.

   Menton (F):

Last gas-station on French territory: in fall of 2001 prices were still in French Francs (FF).

   Menton (F):

The last few hundred yards: the border-crossing can already be seen in the background on the right.

  Menton (F):

We are approaching the border-crossing.

   Menton (F):

The border-crossing: "Poste de Frontière Saint Ludovic-Menton". (French side)

  Menton (F):

Close-up: The checkpoint "Saint Ludovic-Menton" with entrance.

Menton (F):

Having just passed the French customs and control area, we reach an identic building complex of the Italian authorities 200 yards further:
"Frontiera di Ponte San Ludovico"

Between the two checkpoints and looking forward to the Italian complex.
Menton (F):

Looking back to the French checkpoint.

Ventimiglia (I) :

Now looking back to the Italian checkpoint, after having passed both.

Menton (F) / Ventimiglia (I):

The border: French flag on the mast, and Italian sign-post next to it.

The sign announcing "Italy" in the median of the road.
Ventimiglia (I) :

Last gas-station on the Italian side: in the fall of 2001 prices were still indicated in Italian Lira.

Up in the mountains (near Mortola Superiore): the four-lane motorway is a dangerous one with lots of tunnels and spectacular curves.

The French highway A8 (called "La Provençale", from direction Nice) becomes the Italian highway A10 .
Below on the shore, where we are, the trunk road
N98 becomes the S1.

Ventimiglia (I) :

We are in Italy now! Advertising banner above the bridge in Italian and Italian bus-stop on the right. (called 'fermata')

Capo Mortola / Mortola Inferiore

Ventimiglia (I) :

In case we wanted more evidence: Italian street name signs.

Ventimiglia (I) :

Time for walking back to Menton:
Approaching the Italian checkpoint: "Frontiera di Ponte San Ludovico".

Ventimiglia (I) :

Entering France again.

Back on French territory in Menton:

Old sign-post made of concrete.

Back in Menton:

Billboard for French hypermarket chain: we have just left Italy and hence the Italian-speaking community.

Street name close to the border in Menton:

Commenmorating the Luxemburg politician Mr. Robert Schuman, who is called "Father of Europe"on this sign-post.

Modern place-name sign of Menton at the border-crossing: the first town on French territory on the Côte d'Azur.
Menton (F):

Street sign of the French Département (="county") 'Alpes Maritimes'

Menton (F):

View towards the old-town of Menton (Vieille Ville) and the bay with the road Promenade de la Mer and the beach "plage des sablettes"

BK Text / photos by JM May 2002

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