28 February 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - the Girl in the Green Dress

Today, we've joined the Corso and so have 25,000 other people so it's pretty crowded.

All the floats are made of oranges and lemons but we also see dancers, musicians, entertainers from many different countries. This young lady is part of a group from Brazil and her shoulders support a beautifully made display - see last photo. It can't be easy to support the weight, deal with that fan and smile at the same time.

The building you see in the background is the Anglican church in Menton.

Tomorrow is Theme Day in the City Daily Photo community - the subject is 'glass' - so we divert for one day but the Fête du Citron returns on Monday.

27 February 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - Polka & the Rubberbands

This is how the oranges are fixed to create the displays. You can just see the wire netting which has already been fixed to a massive iron framework.

The flecks of white on the oranges are bits of Silly String. This photograph was part of a float taken at the Corso (procession of floats) where the kids have the best time squirting it at each other and at the floats. After last year's parade, I read in Nice-Matin that this wasn't going to be allowed in future as it makes so much mess in the streets but that directive obviously never happened. Click HERE to see the mess last year.

On the left you see the display representing Polka - Russian dolls and a balaleika.

26 February 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - Jazz

Made of oranges and lemons, the Mississippi River Boat represents New Orleans jazz and plunges us into the world of Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer.

As you walk around the static displays in Jardin Bioves, you hear different music from each display.

Can you hear the jazz today?

25 February 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - Classical

It's February, there's nowhere to park, the hotels are full, so it must be the Lemon Festival! This year's theme is 'Music of the World' and here you see classical music represented by a replica of Menton's beautiful Basilique Saint Michael advertising the Festival of Music which takes place in August outside the Basilica in the Old Town.

On the left a violin - and of course everything is made of oranges and lemons.

This is the third year Menton Daily Photo has featured the Fête du Citron and I confess I rather wondered how enthusiastic I'd be. Would it be a case of seen one lemon, seen 'em all? But no, each year I'm surprised, each year there is so much to admire and the floats are so beautifully made. Menton is proud of its Lemon Festival and so am I.

I wrote at length about how the floats are made last year so if you are new to the blog perhaps click on this link to read more and perhaps continue looking at entries from February 2008. Suffice to say massive frames are made and then each lemon and orange is fixed to the frame with a rubber band. These are checked each day and any fruit that is rotting is replaced. Menton, with its micro-climate, is known as the citrus capital of France. Many streets are lined with orange trees and all are currently overflowing with fruit. The fruit for the festival though is imported from Spain.

Tomorrow: Jazz

24 February 2009

Nathalie's Moveable Feast

Crazy fruit and vegetables in Menton's market. Nathalie from Avignon in Photos took this photograph on her recent visit to Menton (see yesterday's post).

Positioned above a fruit and vegetable stand is a long narrow distorting mirror. I must have walked past this stall a thousand times and never noticed the mirror, let alone the reflection - Nathalie saw it immediately!

Tomorrow - La Fête du Citron! - Menton's famous Lemon Festival.

23 February 2009

Nathalie in Rue Longue

One of the many joys of being part of the City Daily Photo community is meeting other CDP bloggers. Already I've had the immense pleasure of meeting Fabrizio from Turin, Sally and her family from Sydney and the Benauts from Adelaide and recently I had a real treat when Nathalie from Avignon in Photos came to visit.

Nathalie has long inspired me. I love the detail in her work, I love her shadows and her reflections and her street art. I love her photography. Walking around with her was fascinating. Nathalie sees shadows and reflections before anything else. Earlier, I had told her there are no political posters in Menton - she found them here in Rue Longue!

Nathalie takes her time framing a shot. She knows when a shot won't work because the light is all wrong. We swapped cameras, we laughed, we had such fun.

The smaller photo is the scene Nathalie was photographing when I photographed her - a perfect example of what I mean when talking about her wonderful shadows. (Please click to enlarge) And for a Nathalie reflection go to Monte Carlo Daily Photo today.

And on Avignon in Photos today you'll find two photos Nathalie took of Gorbio village.

22 February 2009

Embonpoint in the Sunshine

Enbonpoint - taken from the French 'en bon point' = in good condition. To see a Monte Carlo Gentleman's enbonpoint, do click on the link.

For anyone interested, there's an update today on Mistral and Mia on 'Postcards from Pension Milou.'

21 February 2009

The Cat in the Olive Tree

This olive tree stands in the square at the top of Gorbio village. You can see the restored Château through the branches. At the top, a look-out with a to-die-for view of the Mediterranean. From the look-out, you see Italy to the left. Look right and there is Monaco. Spread out below is Menton and Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

Meanwhile, the cat is content in the olive tree.

20 February 2009

Nude with Oranges

A naked lady in the Jardin Bioves in Menton.

19 February 2009

Place Captain Vincent - The Loner

Roquebrune village. The same stone bench as yesterday - a photograph taken last June.

A little girl plays alone with her toys.

'The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone' - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

18 February 2009

Place Captain Vincent - The Listener

Two older men in the medieval hill village of Roquebrune - one doing all the talking, the other patient, listening, considering what is being said. We all need a friend who listens.

Note the steep staircase leading to the upper floors - no wonder the old people are so fit.

17 February 2009

Silhouette with Oranges

Taken in Roquebrune village yesterday. Note the oranges on the trees in the foreground. It's 'that' time of year again in Menton - La Fête du Citron. Menton is choc-a-bloc with visitors for the festival, so it was a good moment to stroll through the peace of this medieval hill village.

16 February 2009

Olive Oil

Even the olive oil in the shop is cold - see how it's thickened at the base. Of course this will disappear when the weather gets warmer.

15 February 2009

Menton Market - Charcuterie

This is one of the stalls in Menton's beautiful covered market. It's owned by a young Italian and he always has a long queue of customers wanting to buy his charcuterie and cheeses. He's normally cheaper than others and his food is really good and fresh. I sometimes buy his Gorgonzola and also his Buffala Mozzarella. Never buy cow milk mozzarella - compared to buffalo milk mozzarella, it's like rubber and tastes about as good.

I was intrigued to see a young lady hand over a baguette and ask him to fill it with ham and cheese. He duly weighed the filling, after much discussion on which ham and which type of cheese. He then made the sandwich, cut it in two, wrapped it in paper, put it in a bag and handed it over. (see small photo) I didn't know you could do that. Great idea, don't you think? After all, he doesn't run a sandwich counter, as such. Of course, we all waited patiently. You do when you want good food.

14 February 2009

Le Balico - Flan de Poisson

This is one of the first courses served at Le Balico, my favourite restaurant in Menton. It's called Flan de Poissons which is confusing for an English speaking person as we think of 'flan' as a sort of pastry tart. Here it means a mousse or cream. The dictionary translates flan - amongst other things - as a mould, and perhaps that's the point - this fish mousse is made in a round mould. None of which matters in the slightest, because I can tell you it's delicious and even better with a glass of white wine.

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

13 February 2009

Out of the Wind

Same windy day but now we are in Rue St. Michel - the pedestrian street of Menton. Catherine, a regular visitor to Menton, commented a couple of days ago - 'Go quickly and take refuge in Rue St. Michel!' - well, here we are, Catherine - the sun is blasting down and very little wind here.

This little bar is just before the walk up towards the entrance of the Old Town. Perhaps that's the proprietor shading his eyes. The man sitting is smoking a cigarette as you see from the puff of smoke.

12 February 2009

Wind - 2

Taken a moment or two before yesterday's photo, these mothers and their children are determined to get to the water's edge, despite the wind.

11 February 2009


The rain has gone, the sun is back and at the moment, it's windy - just the edges of the Mistral that comes down the Rhone valley but still it's blowing like crazy. I'm surprised this photo worked as I was being blown sideways and no way was the camera still - just shows how important a camera's 'image stabilizer' can be.

10 February 2009

The Donkey Track to Gorbio - the Last of the Olive Harvest

The olive farm is on the right of the track - we saw it yesterday and you see a shady photo of the track in the pic on the left.

The olive harvest is in and it's been fabulous this year, but of course there are always a few more olives to collect. In the last photo you see the olive lady pulling up the orange netting so the fallen olives arrive in one area. Then she bends over to pile them into her bucket.

This lady is not a spring chicken and this is hard work.

The houses and greenhouses you see in the background of the last photo are below the village. You either live in the village of Gorbio or the commune of Gorbio, which is below.

09 February 2009

The Donkey Track to Gorbio - the Cross and the Olive Nets

Two more bends and we are in the village. Had we come on the main road we'd have covered 2.5 to 3 kilometres - it's a very windy road. The donkey track is much more direct, we've walked almost straight up the hillside, a few twists and turns but not many - the problem being we've climbed and climbed and that's tiring. I don't know the exact length of this walk, maybe 1.5 kilometres, maybe less - it just feels like more.

At the top of the part of the track in the main photo is a cross - presumably to commemorate someone who died. Often you see wild flowers fixed to this cross in summer. And in the smaller photograph, we see the village ahead and on the right the orange nets that collect the olives. This is one of the two olive farms in the village - it's also a camp site.

Tomorrow, although the walk is over, there will be someone for you to meet before we enter the village - and she is not a stone's throw from where we are now.

08 February 2009

The Donkey Track to Gorbio - the Orange Arrow

We plod on. The track has narrowed, many fallen rocks, so single file here, as you see in the smaller photo. And we follow the orange arrow - ever upwards, upwards.

Tomorrow, we are nearly there...really.

07 February 2009

The Old Man and the Sack

Bent double and walking slowly, this old man enters the medieval village of Gorbio, a sack on his back. Scenes like this make our world of computers and iPhones seem remote yet Gorbio is only
a few kilometres from Monaco, where we can find as much consumerism as we want. One of the joys of living here is being able to experience both - the simple life and the more glamorous one.


Today is Menton Daily Photo and Monte Carlo Daily Photo's 2nd Birthday. Two years in which I've learned so much, not least that I'll never use a normal handbag again. A camera bag has replaced it! Why doesn't someone make a pretty camera bag for the evening?

I'm so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world but it's photography that has taught me to really 'see' the beauty everywhere. What a gift! And it's been the best fun to try and share it with you.
  • Merci to Eric in Paris, who started it all and without whom this amazing City Daily Photo community wouldn't exist. I'm so proud to be part of it.
  • Merci to Demosthenes and Igor, who work so hard to keep us all up and running.
  • Merci to the many amazing photographers who inspire me every day and special thanks to one who answers my endless questions with so much patience and generosity!
  • Merci to friends who have visited (either in reality in Menton, or via the Internet) and for your kind, encouraging and knowledgeable comments.
Tomorrow we continue The Donkey Track to the Gorbio.

06 February 2009

The Donkey Track to Gorbio - Lifeline to the Village

Look at the path that's been here for centuries - walked on by countless donkeys - the lifeline to the village. Don't you love the patina, the weathered shapes, the rounded edges, the moss, the feeling of great age. The walls are falling, rocks have tumbled, but these will eventually be restored by the Mairie.

We're about half way and the photo on the left gives an idea. Look back and see how far we've come (actually we've come much further than you see). Now look up - the track gets steeper.

This series continues on Sunday - so we have time for a rest - tomorrow we'll have a small celebration - do come back...

05 February 2009

The Donkey Track to Gorbio - Tumbledown

We continue our walk - a glance to our right and we see this small ruin - perhaps once a shepherd's dwelling.

In the smaller photo you can see we are looking down on the main road that runs from Menton to Gorbio - the tumbledown building on the other side.

It always astounds me that we are in the depths of the countryside here yet only 11 or so kilometres from the buzz of Monte Carlo.

04 February 2009

The Donkey Track to Gorbio - Chemin des Ânes

We're on our way. The donkey track rises steadily - later it gets steeper. Notice the red and white tape, warning us that part of the track has fallen down the hillside. Don't go too near the edge! The Mairie intends restoring this ancient track which is great news.

You can see the individual steps going up the track, although some have sunk a little over the centuries. In the old days, this track was the only way in and out of the village of Gorbio, with absolutely everything carried on the backs of the donkeys.

In the last photo, you see one of the many wooden signs you'll find throughout the Alpes-Maritimes. These signs for walkers are very helpful.

Update on Mama Mia and Mistral on Postcards today.

03 February 2009

The Donkey Track to Gorbio - from Road to the Track

We've turned left at the top of my track and we are walking along the main road towards the beginning of the donkey track. (See smaller photo.)

High up on the left you see Gorbio village - that's where we are going. We're looking at the back of the Château des Comptes de Malaussene, not the normal view we see of the village. Please click on the link to see Gorbio village from the other side.

In the main photo we see the gated entrance to a judge's house (this was restored a few years ago) and to the right, just by the pale green structure is the entrance to the donkey track.

Tomorrow - we are on our way.

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