30 September 2008

Summer's End - Attitude!

This photograph shows a clash of cultures. Menton often holds several events at once and in this case, the Plant Fair was held at the same time as a gathering of car enthusiasts - in particular cars sporting custom bodywork. I believe there was also a motorbike event on too.

These three are visiting Menton to display their cars or bikes - taking time out at the Plant Fair to smell the flowers.

29 September 2008

Summer's End - Flirtation

A bench near to the sea in Menton. Don't you love the energy, the body language, the rapport of these three people.

28 September 2008

Summer's End - the Hand - 2

This old house is diagonal to the Church of Saint Barthelemy in Gorbio. Peer closely at the centre of the door (or enlarge the photo) and you'll see yesterday's brass hand.

27 September 2008

Summer's End - the Hand

A door knocker in Gorbio. Brass and woodworm.

26 September 2008

Summer's End - Father Christmas

Oh no! Father Christmas already! It's still September, the sun in shining but a shop in the pedestrian street prepares...

25 September 2008

Summer's End - Shelter

A few days ago I went up to the village with the intention of photographing the making of a film. The film is to be called Amer (bitter) and is being made by a Belgian film crew - the director lives, I believe, in Menton. As I walked towards the church, the rain started and in the smaller photograph you can see some of the crew running to get out of the rain. One of these guys slipped on the cobblestones but happily wasn't hurt and neither was the equipment he was carrying.

And where do you shelter in Gorbio village? That's easy, as you can see in the main photograph.

24 September 2008

Summer's End - the Ivy

Dark creeping Ivy,
...bloom of ruins, tho art dear to me,
When, far from danger's way, they gloomy price
Wreathes picturesque around some ancient tree
That bows his branches by some fountain-side
Then sweet it is from summer suns to be,
Wish thy green darkness overshadowing me.

John Clare (1793-1864), 'To the Ivy'

A corner in Gorbio village.

23 September 2008

Summer's End - Le Beausejour

We've seen Le Beausejour restaurant before but this photograph shows you a little of the interior. If you go through these doors to the back, there is an enormous terrace over-looking the valley. It's such a pretty, welcoming restaurant and the food is so good too.

22 September 2008

Summer's End - the Priest

A charming gentleman on a visit to Gorbio village. He's sitting here outside a house on the main square. A priest with the Turkish Orthodox Church, he'd just walked down following a visit to the Church of St. Barthelemy.

21 September 2008

Summer's End - the Spider

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship - William Blake

Shutters on an old house in the medieval village of Gorbio. A metal spider with one leg missing.

20 September 2008

Summer's End - Rain

Gorbio village yesterday and it's raining. We're looking down over Menton to the sea - not that you'd not know it in the gloom. I went up to the village to photograph a Belgian film crew and as I got there, the heaven's opened. Goodness knows, we desperately need rain. Pity for them tho.

And someone's washing is getting wetter by the minute.

P.S. That was yesterday. Today the sun is shining as per usual. I'd hate for anyone to worry...

19 September 2008

Summer's End - the Jasmine

In need of some renovation and a coat of paint, but a building with charm, don't you think. And a jasmine determined to survive.

An old house at the foot of the Old Town of Menton.

18 September 2008

Summer's End - the Kite

One of the stalls at the plant fair last weekend sold kites.

This little boy isn't actually flying the kite he's looking at. (see small photo) It's fixed to one of the rocks behind him - probably put there by the kite sellers as the stall was very near.

I think he wishes it was his kite though, don't you?

17 September 2008

Summer's End - the Walls that Grow

Just in case you think you've landed in Jules' Rabaul or somewhere equally exotic - not so. This is Menton.

We are at the plant fair and this little cabanon has walls that are alive - it's planted with all sorts of vegetation. You can see the product used in the smaller photograph - also used for yesterday's squirrel.

Take a look at THE WEBSITE for other ways of using this product.

16 September 2008

Summer's End - the Squirrel

Last weekend, Menton held the 18th Journées Méditerranéennes du Jardin on the Esplanade Francis Palmero, which is by the sea and at the foot of the Old Town - a beautiful setting. 50 exhibitors - plants, decoration, garden furniture - all fabulous and all asking to be bought. And packed with visitors and dogs and kids.

How about a squirrel that sprouts greenery? Not quite up to Abraham's amazing standard, I know you'll agree, but this one's for you, Abe.

15 September 2008

Summer's End - Wind

As you can see it's windy in Menton at the moment - probably the edges of a Mistral from the Bouches-du-Rhône. I snapped this from my car yesterday when I got stuck in traffic driving along the seafront.

The wind is blowing this lady's hair - the sea is dancing.

The night before we had rain - the first since May - unfortunately it came with hailstones - not the best idea when the ground is so parched - still I'm not complaining.

14 September 2008

Summer's End - Dusk on Les Sablettes

Time to go home.

13 September 2008

Summer's End - la Farandole 2

As served at le Beausejour in Gorbio - voila! - la Farandole. You see a small barbajuan on the lower left of the plate (yes, the plate isn't a true square). Barbajuan is a speciality of this area, especially Menton, Roquebrune and Monaco. Click on the link to read more but basically it's a tart or small pie, filled with leeks, Swiss chard, spinach and ricotta cheese. Then you have beignets of courgette flowers and also of aubergines - sometimes there is a large shrimp or two, deep fried in the lightest batter. Because I don't eat meat, there is none on this plate but the Benauts' plates included slices of proscuitto. There's also salad, fruit and a wonderfully piquant dipping sauce.

All of which went down very well with a good bottle of Bandol rosé.

The Benauts have just left for Sestri Levante on the Ligurian coast of Italy. The dogs and I miss them already.

12 September 2008

Summer's End - la Farandole 1

Monsieur et Madame Benaut from Adelaide Daily Photo continue to eat, drink and sleep their way through England, France and Italy, bringing pleasure and laughter to everyone they meet. Here they are at Le Beausejour restaurant in Gorbio village, near to Menton.

Le Beausejour has a first course speciality they call La Farandole, but at lunchtime, just that one course is enough - and that's what we had yesterday. La Farandole is, in fact, a traditional folk dance of the south of France.

La Farandole, served at Le Beausejour is made up of traditional local specialities, so do come back tomorrow to see what goodies we ate.

11 September 2008

Summer's End - Salade Mélangée

Many of the stalls outside Menton market sell home grown produce. I always buy my salad from one particular lady who sells her home-grown fruit and vegetables. Here you see her mixed salad leaves. They are always so fresh and last for several days in the refrigerator. Buying in this way, you get a wonderful mix of flavours without having to buy six different varieties of lettuce or roquette (arugula in America) and throwing half of it away.

10 September 2008

Summer's End - Succulents

A Jade plant and tumbling succulents brighten a tiny window at the entrance to the Old Town of Menton.

09 September 2008

Summer's End - Les Girls

The main buzz of activity at night takes place around the Sablettes area of Menton but way down the beach towards Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, the bars and restaurants have trouble attracting the crowds - so they bring on Les Girls. They parade around, dancing, more than happy to pose for photographs and guess what, the place is busy and buzzing. I wonder why?

If you are driving home along the Promenade du Soleil after a night out in Menton, suddenly the traffic slows and you get a free cabaret and naturally you arrive chez vous later than you intended.

(I look these photographs before I was so patiently taught to change White Balance settings, so apologies for the bright yellow light. )

08 September 2008

Summer's End - Dusk over Solenzara Beach

It won't be long before the sun sets over Solenzara Beach. That's Cap Martin in the distance - and beyond that you'd find Monaco. But let's stay here...

07 September 2008

Summer's End - the Look

The lower back seems to be a preferred place for a tattoo although that's not what the man in the plaid shirt is looking at...

06 September 2008

Summer's End - the Scooter Dog

Meet Willy, the Berger Pyrénées (Pyrenean Shepherd Dog) who rides around Menton on a scooter with his owner, Cornelia - a charming German lady who gives French conversation classes in Menton. In this photograph, they were in Gorbio for the Blessing of the Animals.

This small sheepdog of the mountains of the Pyrénées is considered the oldest of the French herding dogs. They were used in concert with the large white sheep guardian dogs, the Great Pyrénées (Pyrenean Mountain Dog) of the region. The little dog herded the sheep. The big dog watched over them. The natural abilities of this shaggy shepherd are legend - flocks being entrusted to the two different dogs without a human handler. They were officially recognized by the French Kennel Club in 1921.

The breed is also called a Labrit in France. You see many in the south of France.

05 September 2008

Summer's End - Russelia

A corner in Menton's Old Town brightened by a Russelia in a pot. Russelia Equisetiformis - also known as the Coral Plant - grows easily in the south of France although I don't have much luck in my garden. It originates from tropical America and Mexico and has a beautiful cascading form and colour that is so pleasing. I've also seen it in white and cream and bought both but neither survived.

04 September 2008

Summer's End - the Sail Boat

Summer is coming to an end although you'd not know it if you walk along the Promenade du Soleil in Menton. Yes, it's just a little cooler but that is welcome. Many take advantage of the beach and sea but as the children have gone back to school, it's less crowded. September in Menton is a fabulous time.

Here's a shot taken just before 18.00h last Sunday. We're on a boat coming back from a day on the water in Italy - a repeat performance of 'The Boat Trip' that we shared in July. I'm shooting against the sun - Menton and the port of Garavan await us as we follow this sail boat into the harbour.

03 September 2008

The Village Fête - the Boules Competition 5

These three great guys saw me taking photographs and said, 'Take our photograph,' and promptly posed for me. I took the one above and then told them that they were standing in too much shadow - and so we moved into a more open area and I took another - the smaller photograph on the left.

However, despite shadows, I prefer the first one. It seems to me these guys - obviously great buddies - are more relaxed - they look at the camera in a more natural and direct manner. In the second one - well, it seems more posed to me, less natural. What do you think?

02 September 2008

The Village Fête - the Boules Competition 4

The throw - the concentration. Not all of these players are in the competition. The two on the left were playing outside the area - perhaps waiting for their turn, perhaps just playing a private game - I don't know.

I love the man in the top left hand corner - he went right up on his toes as he threw, and then almost fell forward as the boule left his hand.

01 September 2008

Theme Day: Sister Cities - the Ghost Town

Today is City Daily Photo's Theme Day and the theme is Sister Cities. According to one official list, Menton has three sister cities: Montreux, Switzerland, Noordwijk, Netherlands and Sochi, Russia. According to another it's Laguna Beach in California. Fortuitously, I'd had contact with a photographer connected with the Police Department of Laguna Beach as they wanted to bring a gift to the Police Department in Menton. So far that hasn't materialised so a re-think was necessary for today's Theme.

I'm posting a place I loved when I was there in June this year - a Ghost Town. It's called Grafton, just outside Zion National Park in Utah, USA. Massive mountains, arid landscape, burning dry heat - so different from the Mediterranean and yet so stunningly beautiful. As is Menton.

Recognise the building in the photo below? If you've seen the 1969 film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, you might. In the B & W photo you see Butch and Etta (played by Katharine Ross) riding around this schoolhouse - which, as is obvious, has now been restored. (perhaps slightly over-restored).

To see a great short video (2.26 minutes) plus commentary, of Grafton, please click below:

There are 148 fellow City Daily Photo bloggers from all around the world taking part in today's Theme. Do pay some a visit and enjoy - Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

Stop Press: David from Tamarindo, Costa Rica DP has posted on Laguna Beach today - Laguna Beach is one of Menton's sister cities.

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