31 October 2008

Autumn - Cats' Craving

Lunch at the Beausejour in Gorbio. Two village cats are avidly hoping for left-overs. Given the chance they'd have grabbed something/anything/everything. What is it with cats? For any of you following Monte Carlo Daily Photo lately, you'll remember the cat at the Chèvre d'or in Eze village doing the same thing. (click on the link)

My computer guru and good friend, Anthony, had come over from Cannes to move files and folders from my PC to the new iMac - and this lunch was a sort of thankyou - he loves the Beausejour - and so do I.

You can see, in the small pic, how the plates looked before we demolished the food. Anthony ate the duck. Mine is the fish - a dorade. No comments about red wine not going with fish. It went just fine...

30 October 2008

Autumn - the Flowerpot

Words on a flower pot outside the Beausejour Restaurant in Gorbio. Hard to read all the words but I peered around the sides of the pot and so far as I can see it says:

'Ask and I will give you what your heart desires.' Perhaps a more accurate translation would be - 'Your wish is my command.'

Perhaps a French reader will confirm or otherwise?

Regardless -isn't it heartwarming.

29 October 2008

Autumn - the French Lesson

One way to learn French...and needing no translation! This tile is for sale in a tourist shop just below the Old Town in Menton.

A surprise amongst the beautiful artisan-made gifts you can buy - obviously Menton caters for all tastes...

28 October 2008

Autumn - Bougainvillea

Bougainvillea in a Gorbio garden - an olive tree in the foreground - fallen olives on the steps.

The photograph was taken on the 11th October and it's still in flower today. Actually, the flowers you see are not flowers, but 'bracts.' The actual flower of the bougainvillea is small and generally white. Each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts in the bright colours associated with the plant - here a beautiful pinky/red.

The name comes from Louis Antoine de Bougainville, an admiral in the French Navy who discovered the plant in Brazil in 1768.

That's our horticultural lesson for today!

27 October 2008

Autumn - A Room with a View

A shot of Gorbio village, with the sea beyond, taken from a friend's house.

26 October 2008

Autumn - the Creeper

This is about as autumnal as we get in the south of France. This creeper, now changing colour, covers a window and roof of a village house in Gorbio.

After reading all the comments on whether this is a Virginia creeper, a Boston ivy or a vigne vierge - for which thankyou - it seems that vigne vierge is Parthenocissus vitacea, Boston (or Japanese) ivy is Parthenocissus tricuspidata and Virginia creeper is Parthenocissus quinqifolia. All are members of the Ampelopsis family and so all are related.

Having read the comments, I think the red one would be known as vigne vierge in France and I'd call it Virginia creeper. Probably the green one is Boston ivy. But now I'm getting confused again - time to post today's photograph...

25 October 2008

Autumn - the Butcher's Van

...so it must be Thursday evening in the village of Gorbio. The butcher arrives in the village every Thursday at 6 p.m. and carefully backs his large van into the square. He leaves at 7 p.m.

A once-a-week opportunity for villagers to buy their meat and of course to chat.

24 October 2008

Autumn - Mothers' Meeting

Bit of a grey ol' day today. We're near the entrance to the Old Town, above the port and beach.

These pigeons are waiting for customers to arrive at the cafés below - ever hopeful they'll get a croissant crumb.

23 October 2008

La Fête de la Branda - the Hikers

Lunch sitting under the elm tree that was planted in 1713.

- hiking, rambling, walking - is very popular around Gorbio with some great hikes through the mountains and into other villages. It's quite usual to see a group walking down the hill to take lunch in the bar, or to sit here having a picnic in the square.

22 October 2008

Fête de la Branda - the Baker

Real bread and a wonderful baker - he looks more like a college professor than a baker, doesn't he? His gentle smile never left his face.

21 October 2008

Fête de la Branda - the Musician's Lunch

Lunch break. A musician, a baguette sandwich - and an impressive moustache.

20 October 2008

Fête de la Branda - Socca 2

Socca is a type of crepe made from a batter of chickpea flour, olive oil, water, salt and pepper. When it's cooked (this oven is wood-fired) the socca is cut into pieces with a pizza wheel and then wrapped in paper - or placed on a paper plate. As you can see in the last photo, there was a long queue in the village to buy this traditional dish. It's eaten with the fingers.

Some socca ovens are bigger than this one and take a one-metre diameter cast iron pan - then the cooked socca obviously feeds quite a few people.

From Provence Beyond: 'Socca and Cade are Provençal pancakes that go back at least to 1860. Cade de Toulon, probably the most ancient, was made from corn flour and the Socca de Nice that evolved from it is made from chick-pea flour. The Marseilles version is today made with a mixture of flours, using only a small amount of chick-pea flour; in Marseilles this was called "tourta tota cada", meaning "tourte toute chaude", or nice hot tarts. It was mentioned in 1879 by Frédéric Mistral as "gâteau de farine de maïs qu'on vend par tranches à Marseille" (or in the vulgar tongue "corn-flour cake sold by the slice in Marseilles").

In that ancient time, there were cade/socca sellers at the marchés and at work sites where they provided the favorite morning meal of the workers. The cade/socca sellers used special wagons with built-in charcoal ovens to keep their wares hot while they announced them with the appropriate cries of "cada, cada, cada" or "socca, socca, socca caouda". Some of the ambulatory socca/cade sellers (or their descendents) are still to be found in the markets at Nice, Toulon and la Seyne-sur-Mer, where the slices are served in paper cones.'

And in Gorbio...

19 October 2008

Fête de la Branda - Socca

A speciality of south-eastern France, especially around Nice. It's 10.30h at the Fête de la Branda and the socca oven is already in operation. Later, at lunchtime, there will be a long queue of hungry visitors.

Socca is a sort of crepe made with chickpea flour and olive oil and it's delicious. Come back tomorrow and we'll see exactly how it's made.

18 October 2008

Fête de la Branda - the Woodturner

Concentration and skill - this woodturner is giving a demonstration of his art. Alongside you see some of the beautiful things he has for sale - probably all made of olive wood.

Work is much more fun than fun - Noel Coward

17 October 2008

Fête de la Branda - the Kitten

Everyone comes to the Fete. Here's one much-loved kitten on a lead. Youmi is 5 months old and was visiting from La Turbie, the hill village above Monaco.

16 October 2008

La Fête de la Branda - Charcuterie


Charcuterie - mostly made from pork although the products in the smaller photograph are made from sanglier (wild boar). The hunters are out right now - every day I hear gunshots down the valley.

15 October 2008

La Fête de la Branda - the Blue Dress

For sale in the village - a child's blue dress. In the smaller photograph, perhaps an interested buyer?

14 October 2008

La Fête de la Branda - Vide Grenier

Vide grenier - literally 'empty the attic.' Perhaps we'd call it a bric-a-brac sale or a garage sale.

You might recognise this square - the church is to the left and recently I posted a photograph of a brass hand (door knob) and the next day the door and facade. It's the same door you see on the left. Click on the link to see how different it looks without the children's clothes and toys.

13 October 2008

La Fête de la Branda - Applause

Applause for the musicians.

12 October 2008

La Fête de la Branda - the Gourd

Perhaps the strangest instrument. This lady is playing what I presume is a gourd. At the beginning of the day this group - Le Ravanet Club - walked all through the village, stopping at various places and playing to the sellers of cheeses, breads, olives etc - they played to the people running the bric-a-brac stands, they entered the village gift shop and played. All great fun.

11 October 2008

La Fête de la Branda - the Musicians

La Fête de la Branda in Gorbio is always a great day out. Here you see a group of musicians called Le Ravanet Club - they play extraordinary instruments as you see and make - well - a noise - and it's all great fun. Do come back tomorrow to see the weirdest instrument of all.

10 October 2008

La Fête de la Branda - the Still

Each October you'll find the Fête de la Branda in Gorbio village. Branda is the Provençal word for marc, the marc de Provence, which actually has two meanings: either the fermented grape pulp, seeds, and stems that remain after the grapes are pressed for their juice, or the actual potent distilled alcohol. You can read more by clicking on last year's link.

Above is one of the two stills. The small photograph on the left shows the fermented grape pulp after distillation.

Tomorrow we'll wander about the village and see what else is going on...if we can stay upright, that is. The Branda is strong stuff.

09 October 2008

Autumn - the Sunbather

Even on a windy day you can find a sheltered part of a beach in Menton. This was taken only 20 minutes before the 'windy' photo I posted two days ago.

08 October 2008

Autumn - the Catamaran

A catamaran on the beach just along from the Sablettes. This is at the foot of the Old Town.

My photography book says 'never have the horizon in the centre of a photograph.' So, when I looked at this on the screen I hesitated, but rules are made to be broken. I wanted to show you the shadows on the beach and I wanted you to see that blue sky - so...

07 October 2008

Autumn - the Wind

Lunchtime. The main restaurant is on the left of this photograph, by the sea. These tables are for diners who choose to sit further from the beach.

And the wind blows...

06 October 2008

Autumn - the Blessing

Yesterday afternoon I hoped to photograph the Blessing of the Animals in Menton, but instead I found this adorable bundle playing with pebbles on the beach - and her name is Blessing. Isn't that a beautiful name?

She's 22 months old and lives, with her equally good-looking mother, in Latte, which is just across the border in Italy.

05 October 2008

Autumn - the Blues

October. Sunshine, chilly at night though. The wind has blown the clouds and pollution away. The best days on the Côte d'Azur often follow the Mistral when you'll see the clearest blue skies - wonderful light.

I don't know the significance of the lines, but don't you love the patterns they create on the water. Perhaps they are nets giving protection against jelly fish, but I don't see the nets.

Taken from les Sablettes beach yesterday. You see the Port of Garavan on the left and beyond that Italy.

04 October 2008

Roquebrune village at night - the Strolling Player

You never know who you will bump into in rue Moncollet, the oldest street in Roquebrune village. This 'strolling player' is waiting to take part in a series of tales of the Middle Ages at the Château in honour of Augustin Grimaldi, the Prince of Monaco.

This actor, who lives in the village, takes the part of the Castellan (Castillion)who attends the Prince of Monaco.

03 October 2008

Roquebrune village at night - rue Moncollet

We are in rue Moncollet, the oldest street in the medieval village of Roquebrune. You can see this same shot taken in daylight by clicking on the link. You can also read about 'le poudinge' - the tertiary rock on which the village is built.

Walking around Roquebrune village at night is even more magical than during the day - you also never know who you might meet. Come back tomorrow and see who we met in this particular street.

02 October 2008

Roquebrune village at night - the Château

This is the Place des Deux Frères in the medieval village of Roquebrune. We've just had dinner at this restaurant, La Grotte, which is cut deep into the rock itself. Above, you see the brightly lit crenelations of the donjon, built in 970.

Yesterday's photograph of Monaco - published on Monte Carlo Daily Photo - was taken from here.

01 October 2008

Theme Day: Lines

An easy Theme Day this month. 'Lines' can be interpreted in so many ways - here you see lines of beads in a curtain at the foot of the Old Town of Menton. The lines of the building, the tiles, the spiky plants - even more lines.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how 164 other City Daily Photo bloggers have interpreted today's Theme and know all will be fascinating. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

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