30 November 2009

The Cat Show - Beauty

As a past breeder, exhibitor and judge of Old English Sheepdogs, I appreciated the amount of work that has gone into the coat of this beautiful cat. And I was astounded at how well-behaved all the cats were. They had to be handled by complete strangers - ie the stewards and the judges - and they didn't turn a hair, pardon the pun. Nothing like the cats I know around here...

29 November 2009

The Cat Show - Over My Shoulder

This weekend there's a cat show at the Palais de l'Europe in Menton, so a good opportunity for me to practice with my new camera - a Panasonic Lumix GH1, which is a micro four thirds with a 14-140 lens - my first interchangeable lens camera and almost (not quite) a 'big girls' camera' - and it's light enough to carry around for hours. Much to learn tho with all the bells and whistles...

This superb little camera is a Panasonic variant of the Olympus micro-four thirds concept that would seem absolutely right for anyone who wants a light, small and seemingly perfect system. If you think I wrote the previous sentence, I didn't (!) - of course it was my mentor, Chuckeroon (see below) who I think secretly works for the Olympus publicity department)

This cat is waiting to be judged. I like the way the cat's eyes seem to match the colour of the trees outside in the Jardin Biovès.

So a beautiful pussy cat and a dedication to Chuckeroon of Richmond upon Thames Daily Photo who has now helped me choose my last two cameras and nursed me through the teething troubles and a million questions each time. What a friend! Thank you, dear Chuckeroon.

And a thankyou also to Richard from Zurich who was in on early discussions as to which camera to buy and approves the choice.

I knew neither of these great people before City Daily Photo - how fabulous and fortunate it is to have such valued blogging friends.

28 November 2009


At the far end of this narrow street is the pedestrian area of Menton. In recent years several small streets that run off it - like this one - have been tiled over and cars and bikes are banned. Small specialist shops and cafés have opened and now these streets are alive with life.

This is the sort of 'progress' I approve of.

27 November 2009

Saint Michel de la Mer

A cloudy day in Menton. St. Michael of the Sea protects the Old Port. He stands near to the lighthouse and faces out to sea ready to defend us. Made of copper, the sculpture is by Antoniucce Volti. (1915 - 1989)

Pity about the graffiti at his feet.

26 November 2009

Real Fish - The Knife and the Rope

The fisherman's wife, I believe. But what is she doing with the knife against the rope. Does anyone know? She was scraping it back and forth, rather as one would to sharpen a knife - but on rope?

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone across the pond!

25 November 2009

Real Fish - Bateau Prosper

You can get great fish in Menton market and at various stalls and shops nearby but for the freshest fish, go down to Jetée Impératrice Eugénie and see it fresh off boat.

Don't go with a preconceived idea of what you want as it may not be there. You get what they caught that day and it will be good.

There are two or three fishing boats still working in Menton - only one fishing family still operates in Monaco.

24 November 2009

No More Boules!

Not the most exciting photograph in the world but I want to show you Menton's Boules Club which is now no more. You see the actual boules courts (if that is the word) in the small photo - in process of being churned up by a mechanical digger.

Why? Well, in 2005 the city of Menton accepted the prestigious Severin Wunderman Collection, consisting of 1525 works by Jean Cocteau. Mr. Wunderman chose Menton because of the special relationship with the town. Cocteau was made an honorary citizen after he decorated a room for weddings at the Hotel de Ville (1956-1958) and restored the Bastion where his work is currently on display.

Menton committed itself to building a museum dedicated to the artist and this is where it will be. Of course there was a big fuss by the Boules Club but they were told they'd be given land to create a new club.

The museum is going to be fabulous and the donation is incredibly generous and will surely be of great interest, but meanwhile, where do the old men play boules? Where do they meet their friends to put the world to rights? I'll find out and let you know...

23 November 2009

The Orange and Lemon Boat

Lemons and oranges are symbols of Menton - think Fête du Citron for starters. No name on this boat but perhaps it is obvious.

I've never seen the hull of a boat painted with an image in this way. Have you?

22 November 2009


Masts seen over the wall of the Petit Port.

It looks like it was taken at sunset but in fact I took it at 9.30 in the morning on a dull day.

21 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Last Shrine

This shrine, with its frame of bougainvillea, is my favourite. And the saddest is the one with the graffiti.

Last day today - thanks to everyone who came on the walk via this blog and thanks to Don and Pete (the BOOTboys) who were there in reality. The Monastery is Don's favourite place in Menton, which is hardly surprising as he has a glorious view of it from his balcony. In fact the first photo of this series was taken from there - thanks Don and Margaret.

20 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Passion Flower

The Passion Flower, here covering a wire fence, is a most appropriate vine to pass on the way to or from the Monastery. There are around 500 varieties of passion flower but this known as the Common Passion Flower or Blue Passion Flower (Passiflora Caerulea).

The "Passion" in "passion flower" does not refer to sex and love, however, but to the passion of Jesus in Christian theology. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Spanish Christian missionaries adopted the unique physical structures of this plant, particularly the numbers of its various flower parts, as symbols of the last days of Jesus and especially his crucifixion:

* The pointed tips of the leaves were taken to represent the Holy Lance.
* The tendrils represent the whips used in the flagellation of Christ.
* The ten petals and sepals represent the ten faithful apostles (less St. Peter the denier and Judas Iscariot the betrayer).
* The flower's radial filaments, which can number more than a hundred and vary from flower to flower, represent the crown of thorns.
* The chalice-shaped ovary with its receptacle represents a hammer or the Holy Grail
* The 3 stigmata represent the 3 nails and the 5 anthers below them the 5 wounds (four by the nails and one by the lance).
* The blue and white colors of many species' flowers represent Heaven and Purity.

The photographs of this walk were taken at the end of May, by the way, in case you wonder why we see such a flower at this time of the year.

19 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Ramp

This is presumably a temporary structure to get building materials up or down? It looks a bit rickety, doesn't it?

18 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Gum Trees

We're walking down to Menton from the Monastery. On the left is a wild area of land covered in eucalpts and pines. Whenever I see a ecalyptus tree I think of my years in Tasmania and Cairns - the gum trees of Australia are so beautiful.

We are about half way down the Chemin du Rosaire at this point and looking out over the centre of Menton.

17 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - Stained Glass

A last look around the Monastery before we walk back down - yes, we walked up so we've got to walk down - and, anyway, there are one or two more good things to see.

Today - a stained glass window in the chapel - a sign outside the monastery shop and below, a view of the monastery from below - you can see the stained glass windows of the chapel on the left.

16 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Bas-Reliefs

Along the walls of the crypt we saw yesterday are ten bas-reliefs (you see one here) by Alain Bousquet. They represent the life of Mary.

Note: I've updated yesterday's commentary on the history of this crypt.

15 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - Inside the Chapel

The smaller photo on the left shows the main chapel. I have a feeling it might not be used much as you'll see a pile of stuff piled up at the back on the right hand side.

Below the chapel is a simply beautiful room - main photo and below. It's the ancient restored crypt - a room for contemplation and prayer. You'll see modern work displayed in this room.

This crypt was originally the oratory of the Capucins of Genoa (1867-1887) and was restored in 1967 by the Capucins of Lyon and then in 2000 by the Soeurs Annonciade.

The gilded relief of the Annonciation was given to the Monastery in 1641 by Jérome de Monléon. Bas-reliefs that line the walls and we'll see one in detail tomorrow.

The history of l'Annonciade goes back centuries but the more recent history shows it was sold to a union of apostolic sisters in 2000. There are now 6 nuns in residence. Since then much renovation has taken place, including this renovated crypt, the chapel and the inauguration of a gallery.

14 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the View

We are standing on the Esplanade of the Monastery and looking at the view. In the main photo, we look towards Roquebrune-cap-Martin - that's Cap Martin you see jutting out to sea. Monaco is beyond.

The smaller photograph shows a part of the Esplanade that has fallen away and is dangerous - the wall has gone and a good part of the land itself.

The photo below is looking straight ahead to the centre of Menton. The Old Town and its beautiful steeples are out of shot to the left of the photo.

13 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Mountains

I promised a view of the sea today but changed my mind (!) and thought it would be nice to see the surroundings of the monastery. You can see how idyllic it is - mountains, a vineyard below and beyond that, Menton and the Mediterranean.

Tomorrow - we turn around and see the sea.

12 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Chapel

Our first view of the Monastery with the entrance to the chapel facing us.

We've climbed 225 metres to the top of this hill known as Le Berceau. It's dominated by the monastery which was founded in the XIV century but in the XI century it was the site of a small fortified city called Puypin (Podium Pinum, the hill of the pines).

There are several stories of how the name Menton came about. One is that the inheritor of Puypin was Seigneur Othon V who build a castle on the neighbouring hill, but lower hill and called it Mont Othon, which gives the contraction Menton.

This place is peaceful, the view stunning and we can only imagine how it was in the eleventh century, looking down and seeing Menton slowly grow around it.

Subsequently the old castle of Puypin was abandoned and tomorrow we'll learn more about the monastery that, three centuries later, took its place.

11 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Esplanade

We've walked up the steps that are by the iron cross you see in the background and are on the Esplanade of the Monastery. Tomorrow we'll turn and face the other way and see the Monastery itself.

10 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Wine Press

An old wine press outside the gate of the vineyard.

"I can no more think of my own life without thinking of wine and wines and where they grew for me and why I drank them when I did and why I picked the grapes and where I opened the oldest procurable bottles, and all that, than I can remember living before I breathed."

~M. F. K. Fisher

09 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Vineyard

As we saw yesterday, there is a small vineyard below the monastery.

The Confrérie de l'Etiquette de Menton has its own blog. Click to take a look at this year's vendange.

08 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - Almost There

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

The smaller photo is a slightly different view of the final part of the walk. You saw it the other day - HERE.

We turn the bend at the top - et voila! - we see the Monastery and below it the vines.

Tomorrow, we'll look at the vineyard.

07 November 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Abandoned Shrine

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

Most of the shrines were restored during the 20th century... but obviously some weren't.

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