31 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Artist's Crib

Giovanna is an artist who lives at the top of Roquebrune village, opposite the entrance to the medieval Château.

The red sign invites visitors to look through the French windows to the crib she has created but on the day I was there it was impossible to see due to lack of light. Nevertheless, I thought you might like to see her charming house with the lady at the upper window...

Happy New Year everyone!

30 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the 2000 year old Olive Tree

Some of you will remember this beautiful 2,000 year old olive tree in Roquebrune village - particularly the bloggers who climbed it.

Here is it used to display a nativity in a bird cage. Hard to see the actual crib as the camera focused on the wire of the cage.

29 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Smallest Crib

I walked right past this crib, thinking it was simply a Christmas door decoration.

Later, on my return, there it was - a bright red ring box displaying the tiniest nativity scene I've ever seen.

28 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Oil Drum Crib

A crib in an oil drum? Don't you just love the imagination of the villagers? The last photo doesn't show the actual crib very well - but you get the idea...

27 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Carved Crib

Of the 150 cribs in Roquebrune village there are hardly any that are the same. This one, sitting on top of a wall, appears to be housed in carved wood - perhaps a gourd but I don't think so.

26 December 2009

25 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Christmas Baubles

Here, tucked behind bars on a window sill are these painted Christmas decorations. An original creche, don't you think?

Wishing you and those you love the very best of Christmases!

24 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Bread Basket & and the Cage

I'm not sure if this is the village well or it's where the horses used to drink. Perhaps both. In any case it has been decorated for Christmas and is used to display two tiny cribs, one in a cage, one in a bread basket.

23 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Tile Crib

This must count a permanent crib as it's cemented to the gate post of this house. A modern interpretation of the nativity. I love it!

This post is dedicated to Chuckeroon of Richmond-upon-Thames Daily Photo who has had a bad fall on black ice, breaking his shoulder, hip and femur. He's currently in hospital and when home will need rest and physiotherapy. Do visit his blog and leave a message which he'll see when he gets home. Get well soon, dear Chuckeroon.

22 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Alleyway Crib

The medieval village of Roquebrune has many of these covered alleyways.

This charming and tiny nativity scene has been fixed to the stone wall, probably it is set back into a drainage hole.

To see Prince Albert II of Monaco and his companion, Charlene Wittstock, take to the icy sea for the traditional 'Bain de Noël' on Monte Carlo Daily Photo, please click on the link - you'll meet Woolite the sheep too!

21 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Mail Box

Not sure where to put your crib? Perhaps an old mail box will do - and it does. Perched on top of a wall, it catches our eye as we wander through the village.

20 December 2009

Death by Snow

The pelargoniums (geraniums to you and me) are withered, the agapanthus looks decidedly out of sorts and the lily in the pot above probably won't recover.

No more snow overnight but it's still incredibly cold. The water in the dog bowls is frozen solid. Not south of France weather!

In the last photo, you see Daisy, an 8 month old labrador who is staying here for a few months - yesterday she saw her first snow and thought it was the best fun.

19 December 2009

A Rare Occurrence

Snow is so rare on the Côte d'Azur that today we're taking a break from our walk through Roquebrune village.

Snow on the mountains in normal, but I've never had it settle in my garden before. Here you see snow on the Prickly Pears this morning. The steep track up the road is solid ice and snow, so for the moment I'm snowed in but the sun is shining and hopefully most of it will have melted before nightfall. Earlier I had no water - presumably the water counter at the top of the track was frozen but now - 11 a.m. - it's running again.

All very boring to anyone used to snow, but so unusual here. The dogs are mystified...and having the best fun.

To see snow in Casino Square in Monaco please click on the link - great photos thanks to my friend Maggie Calkins.

18 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Hole in the Wall

Don't you love this crib... a hole in the wall and covered with glass. Go on... click and blow up the smaller photograph and you'll see the creator of this nativity scene has gone to a lot of trouble.

17 December 2009

Chemin des Crèches - the Window Sill

Think of a nativity and multiply it by over 150 and that's what you'll find if you take the Chemin des Crèches (Walk of the Nativities) in the medieval village of Roquebrune. Each Christmas the villagers create their original nativity scenes and at the same time compete for much sought-after prizes.

Wander the winding alleyways of the village and discover over 150 cribs from the traditional santons of Provence to baroque interpretations and much else besides. Peer inside doorways and windows, look in a plant pot, a bird cage, a mailbox, a gourd, there are several in the village's old forge. There's one in a bin, another hangs from the famous 2000 year old olive tree. Some have musical accompaniment, others have lights. You'll find large and small displays - the smallest is little bigger than a diamond ring.

Over the next few days, let's explore...

16 December 2009

The Campanile of the Basilique Saint-Michel

The steeple changes colour depending on light and weather but it's always beautiful and it always fascinates me. The dangly bits in the foreground are a tiny part of the Christmas lights in Menton.

The first church on this site was constructed in 1302 when it was in the diocese of Vintimille. It was reconstructed in the baroque style during the 14th and 15th centuries and inaugurated in 1675.

Saint Michel is the patron saint of Menton. This beautiful church in his name was consecrated as a Basilica in 1999.

15 December 2009


Rolling along...tra la la. The flags you see are in front of the casino.

14 December 2009

Green on Green

Wash day in Menton. An apartment tucked away above roofs in Place aux Herbes.

"After enlightenment, the laundry." ~ Zen proverb.

13 December 2009


Almost a tiny island, in fact this small piece of land is man made, reclaimed from the sea and added to the bay you see in the smaller photograph. Add a few trees and you'd never know...well, perhaps you would.

12 December 2009


Sign outside a shop on Avenue Edourd VII.

'You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead.'

~ Stan Laurel

11 December 2009

Music to my Ears

A brisk walk along the Promenade du Soleil. That's Italy you see in the distance, just beyond the Old Town.

If this were you, what music would you be listening to?

10 December 2009

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit

The oranges in the Jardin Bioves are ripening...streets everywhere are laden with fruit. Menton is once again the City of Lemons and Oranges.


Around six months ago I was contacted by an English guy, Alex, who lives in Prague asking for permission to use several of my photographs for a new Monaco/Côte d'Azur website, at the time in preparation. This has led to my being part of the CITYOUT team of journalists. Two days ago, the new website went Live in Beta test. We hope to launch fully in the first quarter of 2010.

You'll find hundreds of fascinating articles on everything you can think of relating to life on the French Riviera and Monaco. I'm proud so many of my photographs and articles appear on this site alongside those of the talented journalists in the team. Please click on CITYOUT Côte d'Azur. You'll also find a link in the side bar of this blog. The website, by the way, is also in French and Russian and will eventually be launched in several other languages.

And that editor in Prague? Well some of you know him already...Alex has recently started his own City Daily Photo blog featuring his part of Prague, Vrsovice Daily Photo..

09 December 2009

The Cat Show - Waving the Wand

All the exhibitors carry a wand to attract their cat's attention and hopefully make it look alert for the judge. In the main photo you see the judge waving one about, as she makes the decision as to which of these two cats should win the class. Neither seem remotely interested!

You'll note that exhibitors choose their wands to match their outfits - purple for the lady on the left and below, the lady with the concentrated expression - she is about to take her cat to the judge - has a wand with silver on the end, which matches the silver beading on her black dress.

08 December 2009

The Cat Show - the Kitten

My new camera (blame the camera not the photographer!) focused on the bars rather than the kitten, so she's slightly out of focus but I couldn't resist showing her to you. How adorable is she?

Several people had kittens on show and most were for sale.

The smaller photograph shows one of the areas in the Palais de l'Europe where the cats are kept in cages and where the exhibitors prepare them for exhibition. Note how some people have decorated their cages with red curtains and blue and white frou-frou.

07 December 2009

The Cat Show - 'Play it, Sam'

Even cat people have time for a kiss.

"You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss..."

Remember the song 'As Time Goes By' from that great film Casablanca ... go on, give yourself a treat and hear Sam singing for Elsa...

06 December 2009

The Cat Show - Whiskers Revealed

Here's the cat we met yesterday. He's a Silver Exotic Shorthair (thanks Alistair). I couldn't resist him or her and can see I might get to like cats...

...actually I do like cats and used to have two when I lived in mid-Wales. They were called Marmalade and Custard and they made the move with me to a village in Kent, along with 1o Old English Sheepdogs, a newly-born litter of puppies, two goats and 15 Love Birds. Unfortunately, I lived on a difficult bend on the road in the village and sadly both cats ended up being killed by cars.

05 December 2009

The Cat Show - Whiskers

As Zephirine and others have said, so often we choose animals that look like ourselves. Sometimes in colour - like yesterday's Italian lady.

Or today's cat - notice the sweep of the lady's chin and how it matches the shape of the cat's face. Happily not the whiskers - and aren't they beautiful whiskers!

I used to breed and show Old English Sheepdogs but really I didn't look like one - then I realised the truth. My husband at the time - long hair, cuddly like a teddy bear - that's why I got my first Old English Sheepdog! We are still great friends.

04 December 2009

The Cat Show - the Italian Lady

This Italian lady is waiting to have her cats judged. I get the feeling something has made her cross.

Most of the exhibitors at the show were beautifully dressed - many were Italian and so therefore no surprise with their sense of style - it's in their genes to dress well.

Regardless of nationality though, it seemed to me that exhibitors at a cat show dress far better than those at a dog show. I suppose it's easier - you don't have to deal with a large muddy dog and then get him clean.

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