Located in the easternmost part of the Côte d'Azur in Provence, Menton lies at the foot of the Ligurian Alps, nearly on the border with Italy. As a result, the town's culture is very much influenced by its neighbors to the east, and though the only official language is French, there are probably more people in the city who speak Italian than English. Menton has long been praised for its beauty as a seaport town, earning the nickname La perle de la France, or "The pearl of France."

The climate of Menton is unusually warm for a French city (even one in Provence) thanks to its location along the Mediterranean and protected port, which makes it an excellent place for growing tropical fruits such as lemons, tangerines and orange groves. In fact, the city is well known for a lemon festival it holds every year in February, when local growers display their new crop of citrus fruits while local bands play and citizens dance in the streets.

The economy of Menton was also once heavily dependent on fishing, but in the last few decades, an invader species of Asian algae has taken over the coastal sea floor and killed off much of the fish that live here, leaving the industry decimated.