31 May 2007

Lunch near the market

Lunch time near the market. This restaurant specialises in seafood and is in Place aux Herbes.

30 May 2007

Spending a penny

You probably know what this is but if you don't, it's a public loo. You have to put 30 centimes in the slot and the curved door opens to a self-cleaning lavatory. This facility is just opposite the sea and behind it, you'll see St. John's, the Anglican church in Menton. You can see a better photograph of the church here.

Really so sorry I've not commented lately. After the 10 hour drive from a crazy busy dog show (which I'll write about on my Postcards blog) I now have a dreadful sore throat and cold. Collected my wonderful new car yesterday and promptly bashed it today! I'm not a happy camper. The car is automatic and unfortunately it doesn't hold in Drive - just slips back down my very steep track. Volkswagen tell me the slope is too steep to hold the car. They might have told me this when I ordered the damn thing! Don't ask, just don't ask.... but I will get around to comments soon and try and make up for my absence.

29 May 2007

Street vendor

This is typical of a street vendor in Menton - usually from north Africa. Here I love that he's grabbed a seat from the bakery/bar next door. Many sell illegal copies of branded named sunglasses, bags and wallet. However, these may not be copies as there seem to be rather a lot for him to whip up and off ground if the police walk by.

28 May 2007

Another look...

You've seen photographs of both the left and right facades in previous posts. On the right is the Basilique Saint- Michel. The construction of this church started in 1640 under the reign of Honoré II, Prince of Monaco and lasted for several centuries. The façade was altered in 1819 in the style and spirit of the 17th Century. This outside area will be hidden by raised seating in August, when the Menton Music Festival takes place.

(Just walked in the door - thanks so much for everyone who has commented whilst I've been away. Will try and catch up over the next few days - now it's wine time after a 10 hour drive and holds up for snow at the Gottard pass in Switzerland!)

27 May 2007

Roller blader

This child was taking a rest outside a shop in the pedestrian street of Menton.

26 May 2007

A glass of vino?

This is a new wine bar - only been open a month - is in Place aux Herbes.

25 May 2007

Dinner at Le Balico

Taken from a table at Le Balico the other evening. Expect more photos of Le B as it's a restaurant I really like. I posted a photo yesterday of this lovely square where you eat under the trees.

Note: Since posting this, sadly Le Balico has been sold and is now under new management.

24 May 2007

Place aux Herbes

This is the Place aux Herbes - on the right is Le Balico, my favourite Menton restaurant. The plane trees, now in full leaf, give the square shade and a chance to get away from the heat - and already it's very hot, and goodness, only May.

Tomorrow at the crack of dawn I'm leaving for the north of France to go to a dog show - the Euro-OES-Show in Gerardmer. (OES = Old English Sheepdog) Hope, with luck, to be able to post each day from the hotel computer. However, forgive me, but I won't be able to comment. Back on Monday night. woof woof

Note: Since posting this Le Balico has sadly been sold and is now under new management.

23 May 2007


A very small part of the jumble of buildings that makes up the Old Town.

22 May 2007

Flaky paint

This doorway was barely seen in an earlier posting - Service du Patrimoine. The shutters could do with a lick of paint and the door could be polished but really, it's nice as it is, don't you think?

21 May 2007

Window decor

Presumably the owner of this apartment never closes the shutters. Washing is hung out to dry on the lines near the window-sill. You'll notice the pegs. This apartment is just above l'Occitan, a restaurant near to the market in the Old Town. On reflection, it probably belongs to the restaurant owners, hence the decoration to jolly up the look of the restaurant facade below.

20 May 2007

A Mediterranean diet

The market is open every day - although some stalls close on Mondays. Here you see courgette flowers, which are stuffed and deep-fried. The fish in the foreground is, I think, rouget - red mullet. The courgettes in the lower right-hand photograph (zucchini) are the tiny variety but we are lucky enough to get courgettes in many forms. The best are the trompettes which I'll photograph for you another time. Here you can read about them.

19 May 2007


The steeples of St. Michel and of the Chapel of the Pénitents Blancs, seen from the market place below the old town.

18 May 2007

Little old ladies

Outside the main market, you'll always find little old ladies selling produce they grow on their land - perhaps in Menton, perhaps in one of the hill villages. You'll see this lady is selling homemade jams and chutneys and she has a few eggs for sale as well. Sorry I nearly chopped her head off in this second photo. (Oseille is sorrel.)

17 May 2007

A style of house

This is a longer view - this time taken from the front - of the building featured two days ago when you saw a close-up of the side of the building. The building faces the sea and is just by the casino. You can see the detailed photograph here. Abraham asked if this style of architecture has a name and I just don't know. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can help. Certainly, many buildings have those lovely tall French windows, and that colour turquoise is much used in Menton.

16 May 2007

Green Gate

A entrance in the Vieille Ville. with the usual collection of exterior plumbing artwork.

15 May 2007

Just a small detail...

This is a detail from a building just across from the English church I showed the other day. It's on a corner, just in from the sea. You see this turquoise colour on many buildings: on shutters, pots, ceramic ornamentation.

14 May 2007

The Wilder Shores of Love

Lesley Blanch at her 100th birthday party in the gardens of the Clos du Perronet, Menton

Today I went to the beautiful and moving funeral of Lesley Blanch, the writer and traveller. It was held in the church of Roquebrune village. Roquebrune adjoins Menton. Lesley Blanch, who died at the age of 102, lived in Menton and was, at one time married to the writer and diplomat, Romain Gary. She was always known locally as Madame Gary. You can read her obituraries in The Times, The Independent, The Telegraph. Here is The Telegraph's obituary - it's worth reading - she was an amazing lady. Suffice to say I am privileged to have known her. The Wilder Shores of Love was Lesley's best known book - it has never been out of print since its first publication in 1954.

Inside the church awaiting arrival of coffin

The priest making the blessing with incense

Outside the church

13 May 2007

Unnatural fishing

Fishing off the rocks in Menton - this was taken in an area between the Old Town and Roquebrune-cap-Martin. Note: this breakwater is man-made, but what the hell....

12 May 2007

A jug apart

This ornate silver jug was for sale on the same stall that sold the silver champagne bowl featured the other day. You can see that lovely object here.

11 May 2007

Service du Patrimoine

The Service du Patrimoine organises walking tours around Menton's famous gardens and also gives regular tours of the beautiful Old Town. They also organise exhibitions relating to the history of Menton. This is their headquarters and is where visitors meet prior to a tour. The guides are always people qualified by the Minister of Culture.

10 May 2007

St. John's Anglican Church, Menton

St. John's is part of the Diocese in Europe that exists to serve Anglicans across Continental Europe and beyond. English congregations and churches have been established on the European mainland since before the Reformation. The Diocese in Europe is present in 42 countries with around 250 chaplaincies and congregations, and forms part of the Province of Canterbury.

St. John's has a library with over 5000 English books - it's open twice a week and is a focus for English-speakers in Menton who like to meet over a cup of tea!

The church is situated one street in from the sea and just across from the Jardin de Bioves and the Casino.

09 May 2007

By popular demand!

Thankyou so much to everyone who responded to my concern that I was posting too many pics of the Old Town. It's so encouraging you all love them - and so, by popular demand (!) here is yet another. This was taken on a dull day - hence no blue sky but the colours of the buildings shows up alright, I think.

Nowadays you can drive to the cemetery which is at the top of the Old Town, and so, if you have shopping, you can walk DOWN with it. Imagine in the old days when people had to carry every single thing UP to their houses - of course they had donkeys in those days... It's like that in all the hill villages around here. No wonder the old people live so long - and they do.

08 May 2007

One way to get there...

Here's a shot of the Old Town you've not seen. Sometimes I worry that I post too many photos of the Old Town but then I know I never tire of its beauty so hope you don't either. There are several routes you can take to get to the top and this is the starting point of one of them - it's just by the church.

07 May 2007

Dark into light...

Walking in the Old Town means walking from a dark area to light to dark again and so on. I hope this photo gives you that feeling. Walk this street with me...and the higher we climb, the lighter it will get.

06 May 2007

Une coupe de champagne?

Not all the stalls at the brocante on the 1st May sold junk. This one specialised in silver. This beautiful bowl was on sale for 2700 euros - I didn't ask if the champagne was included - anyway what you see here is doubtless sparkling white wine and not the real thing.

05 May 2007


A little self-indulgence here, as I couldn't resist photographing this lovely old car. I think I was a petrol head in another life because I love Top Gear, a British television programme about cars. You will see Carnoles in the background. Carnoles is a suburb of Roquebrune-cap-Martin which adjoins Menton. The car is a Panther which means nothing to me. I'm sure someone out there will be able to enlighten us. It has a British flag so is perhaps British owned. Year? I don't know.

04 May 2007


The 1st May each year sees a massive brocante in Menton and each year it gets more and more crowded. Stalls selling all manner of beautiful antiques sit alongside others selling total junk. Anyone can take a stall and it makes for a fascinating mix. Tables crowd the walking street, the market area, and various squares throughout the town and along the sea. It's pretty much impossible to park but everyone has a good time. This lady caught my camera's eye. She has difficulty walking yet notice how elegant she is, she wears her hat at a jaunty angle and has a beautifully cared-for little dog. I've photographed this lady before - in a different hat! - on Riviera Dogs.

03 May 2007


In this tiny corner of the Old Town, you'll see we need a plumber, an electrician, a plasterer and a painter.

02 May 2007


Dogs in restaurants are the norm in France. Here an older lady proudly shows off her lunch companion at Le Balico - my favourite Menton restaurant - or have I told you that before? Of course I have! I went yesterday and this lady and her dog were at the next table. We had moules, followed by tortellini with ricotta and basil. Yummy.

Are dogs allowed in restaurants in your country?

Note: Since posting this, sadly Le Balico has been sold and is now under new management.

01 May 2007

Monthly Theme Day: City Exchange - New York City

18 months ago I was in NYC (a city I love to bits) for a few days and had always wanted to visit the wondrous Chrysler Building but somehow, on previous visits, had never gotten around to it. Well you can't! You can go into the lobby and that's about it. You peer across a barrier at those incredible Art Deco elevator doors but can go no further - so I decided to go to the top of the Empire State Building and look at the building from above. As many of you will know, when you get to the viewing gallery of the Empire State Building, there is a map listing all the main buildings and landmarks you see - but this part of the map stopped me in my tracks. Look above and you'll see just the outline of where the Twin Towers were before 9/11. Somehow, when you look at this drawing and see the height of the Towers in relation to the rest of the buildings in Manhattan - well, it's mind boggling. I was staying in TriBeCa so took the opportunity to visit Ground Zero. And today, on A City Exchange, I show this as my tiny tribute to those who died that day.

And here's the Chrysler Building in all it's glory.

Please visit the following cities who are taking part in today's theme:

Monte Carlo, Monaco -
Rome, Italy -
Singapore, Singapore -
Tenerife, Spain -
Rotterdam, Netherlands -
London, UK -
Montréal (QC), Canada -
Melbourne, Australia -
Naples (FL), USA -
Bastia, France -
Hong Kong, China -
Mazatlan, Mexico -
Buenos Aeres, Argentina -
Manila, Philippines -
Arradon, France -
Madison (WI), USA -
Evry, France -
Seoul, Korea -
Shanghai, China -
Bucaramanga (Santander), Colombia -
Sequim (WA), USA -
Singapore, Singapore -
Budapest, Hungary -
Baziège, France -
Hamburg, Germany -
Toruń, Poland -
Nelson, New Zealand -
Madison (WI), USA -
Vantaa, Finland -
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -
Mainz, Germany -
Dubai, UAE -
Saint Paul (MN), USA -
Cork, Ireland -
Stockholm, Sweden -
Menton, France -
Tel Aviv, Israel -
Albuquerque (NM), USA -
Kitakami, Japan -
Stayton (OR), USA -
Szentes, Hungary -
Stavanger, Norway -
Grenoble, France -
Villigen, Switzerland -
Paris, France -
Hyde, UK -
Moscow, Russia -
Joplin (MO), USA -
Jakarta, Indonesia -
Greenville (SC), USA -
Cape Town, South Africa -
Asheville (NC), USA -
Seattle (WA), USA -
Kyoto, Japan -
Tokyo, Japan -
Madrid, Spain -
Auckland, New Zealand -
Oulu, Finland -
Lubbock (TX), USA -
Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina -
Baton Rouge (LA), USA -
Sydney, Australia -
Maple Ridge (BC), Canada -
Vancouver, Canada -
Seattle (WA), USA -
Selma (AL), USA -
Chandler (AZ), USA -
Sharon (CT), USA -
Manila, Philippines -
Lyon, France -
New York City (NY), USA -
Los Angeles (CA), USA -
Brookville (OH), USA -
Hayle, UK -
Wailea (HI), USA -
Saarbrücken, Germany -
San Diego (CA), USA -
Boston (MA), USA -
Saint Louis (MO), USA -
Cypress (TX), USA

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