31 October 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - the Frieze

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

We turn the corner from yesterday's shrine and on the right find a house with this beautiful frieze. (In the smaller photo, we are looking back at the house, so you can see we are only a little way above sea-level - long way to go yet).

The friezes of Menton, Monaco and the hill villages are celebrated, some so beautiful you want to jump up and down with delight.

Don't you love that a real dove, or perhaps a pigeon, has left its calling card on the top of the shutter...

This is for Virginia of Birmingham, Alabama DP who has posted pigeons (take a look) on Paris Through My Lens today. Even tho it's not Paris, here's a little bit of France for you, Virginia.

30 October 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade - Stations of the Rosary

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

We've started the walk. Bottles of water in our rucksacks.

Here we see one of the 15 shrines built in the 17th century and restored in the 20th. They represent the 15 Mysteries of the Rosary.

In 1660, Isabelle of Monaco, sister of Prince Louis 1, was cured of leprosy after a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Peypin and so she built these fifteen station of the Rosary along this road leading to the chapel.

29 October 2009

Walk to the Monastery of l'Annonciade

The Monastery of l'Annonciade sits way above Menton - and tomorrow we start the walk, which is really a sort of pilgrimage as we climb the Chemin du Rosaire and pass what I thought were the Stations of the Cross but are in fact the Stations of the Rosary. All will be revealed...

This photograph was taken from sea level at a distance of 1.4 kilometres, as the seagull flies, so that explains the grainy look to the photo. And yes, those are vines below the monastery - and vines mean wine!

28 October 2009

Chess in the Jardin Biovès

A chess board and pieces, with the Jardins Biovès and hills as a backdrop. The 8th Open International Chess Tournament is taking place at the Palais de l'Europe (the building on the right with the flags) at the moment.

In the smaller photo, you see the poster, with one of Menton's beautiful steeples depicted as a chess piece, set against the facade of the Old Town.

27 October 2009

Lunch for Three

Dogs are allowed in most restaurants in France - I love that. This couple are eating a plate of Fruits de Mer on the terrace of the Restaurant le Lido in the Place aux Herbes in Menton. Their Golden Retriever sits waiting - hoping for a morsel...I think he's got his eye on that lobster.

26 October 2009

Fête de la Branda - Hot and Steamy

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

This is the third year I've photographed the Fête de la Branda for Menton Daily Photo and so I won't do more than show this photograph of the process this time. (you can always look back to the beginning of October in previous years for more information.) Suffice to say the 'Branda' is the marc or eau de vie that is distilled from the twigs and grape skins after wine is made. It's very strong!

In the photo the alambic (still) is being emptied (see the steaming wheelbarrow) and the man on top is cleaning out the still, which is hot and hard work. Soon it will be filled with fresh grape skins and twigs and water of course and later we'll hear drip, drip, drip, as the 'fire water' drips into a plastic bucket.

25 October 2009

Fête de la Branda - Touch

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."

~ William Shakespeare

24 October 2009

Fête de la Branda -Dogs à la Mode

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

The Fête de la Branda in Gorbio draws an enormous number of visitors, many of whom bring their dogs with them.

Chihuahuas and pretty ladies who wear lots of jewelry seem to go together. Some people love them, some don't - they do seem to have become rather à la mode with so many actresses walking around with them in their handbags...

These two live in Ventimiglia, just across the Italian border. The long-haired one is called Shogun and the smooth-haired white one is called Tokyo and as you can see in the last photo, little Tokyo isn't just a lap dog - he has no fear of a dog bigger than himself.

In the cage behind them, are chickens and guinea pigs for sale.

23 October 2009

Fête de la Branda -the Proud Mama

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

Would you have known, looking at the first photograph, that this lady is proudly holding a baby goat?

Hopefully he wasn't the one who emptied the pie dish.

22 October 2009

Fête de la Branda -Pissaladière & Pichade Mentonnaise

This lady has been cooking since 6 a.m. and is selling her pissaladière outside her house.

Pissaladière is a speciality of this area, particularly Nice. I suppose you could call it a type of pizza - the base is pâte à pain - a bread dough made with flour, olive oil, yeast, salt and pepper. It's filled with onions that have been cooked very slowly and then garlic, anchovies and those small and tasty Niçois black olives are added. This lady has prepared some without anchovies, as not everyone likes them.

Some are made with tomatoes which is when Pissaladiere becomes Pichade Mentonnaise - a speciality of Menton.

All for one euro a slice. Not bad, eh! You are looking at my lunch that day and delicious it was too.

21 October 2009

Fête de la Branda -Argan Oil

The stall holders in Gorbio are getting ready for the day. This lady will be selling products made from huile d'Argan (argan oil) and as you see, she's having a fair amount of trouble fixing her publicity material. In the last photo, she's waiting for a fellow stall holder to give her a pin or clip to fix it.

Argan Oil comes from the seed of a Moroccan tree called arganier spinosa - you can read about its properties by clicking on the link.

20 October 2009

Fête de la Branda - Clip-Clop on the Cobbles

It's not often you see donkeys in Gorbio village - or good looking donkey handlers, come to that.

The occasion was the recent Fête de la Branda and this year the organisers planned an animal area at the top of the village in front of the Château.

Makes you think of how it would have been in medieval times, as you hear the clip-clop, clip-clop of the donkeys' feet on the ancient cobbles - a sound I just love.

19 October 2009

Alain Delon and the Young Girl

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

A young Alain Delon on the cover of a book and a pretty young girl lunching at Le Balico in Menton. I love that the patron displays interesting books around the tables.

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

18 October 2009


A metre or so along from yesterday's lady on a bench is this tree - behind it, the sea. Looking at the flower I thought it must be an orchid tree - a Bauhinia - but the leaves are not Bauhinia leaves and the flower is more rigid. Does anyone know what it is?

P.S: Thanks so much to Semi who left a comment that this is Chorisia Speciosa.

17 October 2009

Heaven and Earth...

We're back in Menton just in front of the market building. (This was taken 9 days ago -it's a little chillier now)

Lord! when you sell a man a book you don't sell just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night - there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book.

~Christopher Morley

16 October 2009

Ventimiglia Market - the Peg Dolls

Presumably these are children's toys. In this climate, pegs don't need to be kept warm, so yes, they must be toys...

"All words are pegs to hang ideas on." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

15 October 2009

Ventimiglia Market - Emilia, the Carpet Dog

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

We're back at the Friday market in Ventimiglia today. So many of the stallholders have dogs. This one, a French bulldog called Emilia looks most indignant at having her photograph taken and her owner looks somewhat bemused.

They live in San Remo, just along the Ligurian coast from Ventimiglia.

14 October 2009

Ventimiglia Market - Fish Eyes

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

If you didn't care for yesterday's tentacles, today we have fish - all sorts of fish and all so fresh. And in the smaller photo - shellfish with amazing eyes, if indeed they are eyes and not a pattern as on a peacock feather?

"Govern a small nation as you would cook a small fish. Do not overdo it."

~ Lao Tzu

13 October 2009

Ventimiglia Market - the Cephalopods

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

We're in the Fish section of Ventimiglia's main covered market (fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, flowers) which is in the centre of the town - not far, though, from the famous Friday market.

We're in the fish section. Squid (calamari), octopus (polpi) and cuttlefish (seppie). Hard to imagine Italian cooking without them.

Do you like octopus , squid and cuttlefish?

12 October 2009

Ventimiglia - the Look

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

It's 10.30 a.m at a restaurant opposite Ventimiglia's Friday market. Empty tables. Too early for lunch.

No one notices these two as everyone is busy shopping.

11 October 2009

Ventimiglia - the Wild Kittens

Wild kittens under the footbridge we saw the other day. Mother cat looks up, never taking her eyes off them.

People had thrown down food and one lady stood for at least half an hour just staring at them.

10 October 2009

Ventimiglia - the Conversation

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for."

~ James Nathan Miller

09 October 2009

Ventimiglia Market - Scarves

You want a scarf? They have a scarf. One of the many stalls in Ventimiglia's market.

In the smaller photo, a small part of the market, before it got busy.

The market is huge. It starts at the main bridge, runs alongside the river until it meets the sea and then continues for a long way along the beaches. It has a large section going inland too. When it gets busy you can barely move. All part of the fun.

08 October 2009

Ventimiglia Market - Table Linen

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

Ventimiglia's Friday market is famous. There are acres of stalls selling everything you can imagine from sundried tomatoes and parmesan cheese to handbags, shoes, clothes, table-clothes, coffee machine - I could go on and on - as does the market.

Gone though are the days of picking up a 'copy' handbag - a fake Gucci or Chanel. You used to be able to go to a specific stall and hidden under the counter were the fakes, and very good they were too. Now, the police have really tightened up on this and it's not only the sellers that get in trouble. If you buy a copy handbag and are stopped at the border, beware...you will get a massive fine.

In this photo, you'll see all sorts of table linen for sale and just beyond, a stall selling kitchen appliances.

07 October 2009

Ventimiglia: About Turn

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

We are on the same foot bridge as yesterday - this time facing the sea.

Do take a look at Catherine's blog The Five of Us for something most unusual on this footbridge. Welcome back to blogging, Catherine. You have been very much missed.

06 October 2009

Ventimiglia - the River

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

Ventimiglia is just 7 kilometres from Menton, across the border into Liguria, Italy. First stop is the small village of Latte, and next the town of Ventimiglia which has an amazing Friday market. People come from miles around to this market and over the next few days we'll take a look.

When you live in a border town like Menton it's as easy to hop across the border to shop, as to go to the local supermarket. I often shop in Latte or Ventimiglia.

We are standing on the footbridge which crosses the river, looking upstream from the sea towards the Old Town and the valley of the Roya.

05 October 2009

Hanging out to Dry

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

A wire fence in the medieval village of Gorbio.

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child's loss of a doll and a king's loss of a crown are events of the same size”

~ Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)

04 October 2009

The Accordionist Plays

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

We've found an outside table in a small bar in a side street of Ventimiglia. We're drinking a glass of rosé and are waiting on our bruschetta to arrive when who should come along but the accordionist we met yesterday.

03 October 2009

The Accordionist

Copyright 2009 Menton Daily Photo. All rights reserved

We are in Ventimiglia in Italy today - just across the border. This accordionist is about to walk around the bars and restaurants where he'll play and then hope for a few coins.

Remember those distorting mirrors at the Fun Fairs? The slim lady on the left is somewhat larger on the right...

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