31 March 2009


Part of the facade of the Basilica seen thru an archway of the Old Town. Following on from yesterday's post, this is where the Festival of Music is held each August. Tiered seating is built for the audience, with a large platform for the musicians extending over the steps in front of the entrance to the church.

30 March 2009

The Music Festival

In August Menton hosts a fabulous classical music festival outside the beautiful Basilica in the Old Town.

The festival started in 1949 and for its 50th anniversary in 1999, this mural was painted at the base of the steps that lead up into the Old Town and our place in the audience.

Note the lemons and also the Clef on her ear.

Click on the link above to see one of the concerts.

29 March 2009

Daisy Daisy, Give me your answer do!

Daisy Daisy,
Give me your answer do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'll look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two !

This lovely old song was written in 1892 by Harry Dacre. To hear a 1933 recording on YouTube, please click HERE.

Daisy Daisy was also the song used for Hal's death in Kubrick's film '2001, A Space Odyssey.'

28 March 2009

The Cyclists

It always amazes and delights me when people love having their photograph taken. I saw this group in the distance and snapped them - then they saw me and one or two waved (see smaller photograph). Then they quickly organised themselves into posing with the tandem - the sun really too bright and too harsh on their happy faces. A great group having fun, doing what they love to do cycling around France.

They'd cycled over from Hyères - that's a long way...near St. Tropez. Home is the Ardèche region of France.

Tomorrow - a Bicycle Made for Two.

27 March 2009

The Prettiest Hair Salon in Menton

Forget your modern hair dressing salons - how about a tiny courtyard with a bench whilst you wait - flowers galore - and the yachts in the harbour across the road.

26 March 2009

Paint effect

A door in the Old Town. I've worked in the past, sponge or rag in hand, trying to create the look of this old wall at home. Here you get the real thing created by time and weather.

Update today on Mistral and Mia - Postcards from 'Pension Milou.'

25 March 2009

The Moment

Do we remember moments from childhood? I hope this little girl never forgets this one shared with her father.

"Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows"
- John Betjeman (Summoned by Bells)

24 March 2009

Tuesdays with Pooh

Picture the scene: two ladies, one walking a small child who looked as if she'd rather be in the pram - the other lady is pushing Pooh. Clever Pooh. I laughed and asked if I could take a photograph. They laughed too and said 'yes.'

“You can't help respecting anybody who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn't spell it right; but spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count.”

Winnie the Pooh - A.A.Milne

Today's post is for my best buddy, Candy, who teaches at Otterbein, a small liberal arts college in Ohio. Candy teaches a course called The Dilemma of Existence.

She writes: "The course goes from Greek Tragedy (Antigone), Dante's Inferno, Hamlet, Candide, The Maltese Falcon, The Skin of Our Teeth, and all the way to Winnie-The-Pooh. Which is, of course, the book the students all like best. Though when they first see the syllabus, they're like: we're reading a kid's book? Then they find out that Pooh is not only a Very Good book for College Students of Very Little Brain to read, it reminds them of what's really important--like friendship, and enjoying the little things in life. He's not such a silly ol' Bear after all! He's a very wise bear, indeed. And it's fun! After a dreary slog through the miz'ries of existence, I reckon we need a palate cleanser! Pooh Sorbet.... "

“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.”

23 March 2009

Beach with Mimosa

This was taken at the end of February, during the Fête du Citron.

22 March 2009

Tree Decoration

We are near the entrance to the Old Cemetery - looking over a roof of the Old Town - we see the old port of Menton on the right and Italy to the left.

The tree holds on to its seed pods - small round balls that decorate it so beautifully. Does anyone know the name of this tree?

21 March 2009


This man has very dirty feet, which is hardly surprising as he's walking around Menton with no shoes. His guitar has broken strings and in any case it has no headstock and it seems to be used as a container for his bits and pieces. He crossed the road and walked down to the beach and then I lost him.

“The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”

Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.)

Nathalie (Avignon in Photos) has an interesting post today on homeless people.

20 March 2009

The Motorway Menders

Perhaps not your usual idyllic Menton image but a necessary part of life down here; mending the motorway. This is the main A8 autoroute that runs along the French Riviera into Italy. All the tunnels along the way are being renovated - a European directive since the Mont Blanc tunnel disaster in 1999, where tragically 41 people died - work that will take several more years to complete.

Here employees of Escota, the motorway company, are working on a part of the autoroute below the village of Gorbio and above Menton and just a few kilometres from the Italian border.

19 March 2009

Barbecue on the Beach

Same beach as yesterday.

I'm pretty sure barbecues are not allowed on French beaches - certainly in Menton I've never seen one. What you don't see is a massive trailer parked to the left of the young man. We'd had a fairground in town and this trailer was one of the last remaining - perhaps this was a final meal before leaving?

Across the bay, we are looking at Italy.

18 March 2009

Aloe! Aloe!

Plage des Sablettes and the aloes are in bloom. They line the edge of the beach and at this time of the year show us they are not just spikes and barbs.

Aloes are brilliant plants for our climate - there are many different varieties and like all succulents need little water. And some, like Aloe Vera, have medicinal uses.

17 March 2009

The Kiss

As I walked towards the steps that lead to Place des Herbes from the market area, I saw this couple kiss. Now whilst I always have my camera ready, I was too late for the moment. So I asked them if they'd kiss again - and they did. Great people!

We chatted for a short while. They were visiting Menton from Lyon, where they live. Since then, I've sent them a copy of this photograph - and now, here you are again, Florence and Patrick. Come back to Menton soon!

Is not a kiss the very autograph of love? - Henry Finck

16 March 2009

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

Our last day at the Fête du Citron. There are always more photographs but it's time to move on - other joys of Menton await.

The beautiful steeple of the Basilica (see small photo) is something I can never resist snapping - so here's the orange and lemon version. You can see the full version HERE.

Tomorrow - we leave the world of citrus and we see ... the Kiss.

15 March 2009

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

From Brazil - a stunningly beautiful phoenix.

Tomorrow: our last day at the festival and one of my favourite photographs...

14 March 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - les Bottes

Last year we saw lots of nearly naked ladies at this festival, but this year the crowds were so huge, I'm afraid I gave up after half an hour - sorry guys.

Here's one shot I grabbed before leaving.

13 March 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - the Medieval SMS

If they'd had portable telephones in those days, I wonder what message he'd be texting?


“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"

- Winnie the Pooh

12 March 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - a Violin amongst the Cabbages

As you enter the Jardins Bioves we see the vegetable gardens - each representing a different part of the orchestra: Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion.

Somehow, you don't expect to see a violin growing out the ground...

11 March 2009

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

On the day I went to the Corso there were 24,999 other people there and no chance for me to get to the front of the crowd, hence a photograph like this - camera held high (I couldn't see a thing) and hope for the best.

"I wonder how much it would take to buy a soap bubble, if there were only one in the world."

- Mark Twain (1835-1910)

10 March 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - the Clef in the Olive Tree

As we walk around the Jardin Bioves looking at the enormous displays of orange and lemon sculptures, we suddenly see a music symbol - a clef in an olive tree. It would be easy to miss with all the colour elsewhere, yet I love that the designer thought to do this.

09 March 2009

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

Ladybird or Ladybug - perhaps it depends where you live. This little one got into the spirit of the Corso.

Ladybird ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one and that's little Ann,
For she crept under the frying pan.

This nursery rhyme would be chanted by a small child when this pretty, little, inoffensive insect landed on their person. If the ladybird did not fly away of its own accord (and it was considered bad luck to kill a ladybird) the child would gently blow it away chanting "Ladybird Ladybird fly away home".

Ladybirds are useful as eaters of aphids, which would otherwise damage plants. Never ever kill a ladybird!

08 March 2009

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

It seems everyone at the Corso has a camera. The man shielding his eyes is shooting into full sun - hope the shot works...

Meanwhile the young girls wiggle their hips and their feathers.

07 March 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - the Stilt Walkers

Yesterday's performer was on stilts. You see her in the smaller photographer - she's the one in the centre. I thought it would be easy as you can see her height in relation to the top of the windows and shutters...but then I knew.

Thanks for all the guesses - Pasi from Finland got it right. Well done Pasi!

06 March 2009

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

We're back at the Corso (parade) today. Here you see one of the performers. There is something rather special about this person? Can you guess what it is?

All will be revealed tomorrow but in the meantime, why not hazard a guess...

05 March 2009

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

A car like this always makes me think of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby - a novel, written in 1925 by one of the greatest writers ever.

The jazz age, charleston, prohibition - that's what this car, made by the Automobile Club of Menton, represents.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

04 March 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - the Drum Sticks

I was rather taken with this young man's legs so thought you might be too! I presume those are drumsticks tucked in his boot.

In the smaller photo you see the young lady from yesterday. This beautifully dressed group is waiting for the Corso to start.

03 March 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - the Medieval Players

This beauty is part of a group, dressed in medieval costume, who play music and throw flags. They are from Cuneo, not far from Turin - in Italy.

Look at the quality of their clothes - fabulous fabrics and so beautifully made.

This was taken as I wandered around before the Corso (parade of floats) started - and actually the best time to get photographs, as on this day we ended up with 25,000 visitors.

Don't miss Bibi's post on A Yankee in Belgrade today. If you like dogs, you won't want to miss it.

02 March 2009

La Fête du Citron (Music of the World) - French Cancan

We can't be in France and not have the music of French Cancan, can we? Here we see Montmartre's Moulin Rouge and as we walk around we notice Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is painting at his easel, the musicians are playing and La Goulou is dancing. Oh la la!

Today I'd like to introduce you to a fellow blogger, Catherine, who lives in Paris but visits Menton with her family during the school holidays. Her love of Menton is evident in her beautiful words and photographs. Do take a look - it's called The Five of Us. Scroll down to see her recent photographs.

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