30 April 2010

Apricale - the Enterprising Flautist

Meet Victor who installed himself in this little corner of the square, set up his music stand and started to play. Note, in the last photo, a small box to collect money from happy listeners. He's also selling some toys displayed on the table.

29 April 2010

Apricale - Old and New

Old and new: the ancient stones of Apricale and a bright plastic windmill.

28 April 2010

Apricale - the Three Old Ladies

It's always a delight to see old people who live in medieval hill villages get together for a chat like this. A remote village is an environment where neighbours look out for each other. The lady on the right is blind which is pretty amazing considering these narrow, steep streets and alleyways. I watched her walk away later with her white stick tapping the walls.

The photos were taken from the far side of the square - see the other two shots which show the ladies sitting on the slope in front of the church.

27 April 2010

Apricale - the Spider's Web

'Will you walk into my parlor?' said the spider to the fly;
'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.'
'Oh no, no,' said the little fly; 'to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again.'

~ Mary Howitt (1799 - 1888)

26 April 2010

Apricale -the Conversation

There was a small market taking place in the main square of Apricale. I noticed the man on the left earlier - he was in charge of one of the stalls (see last photo) - and then later, there he was chatting to a friend as they leaned against the ancient walls of the village.

25 April 2010

Apricale - Love, Amour, Amore

What is it with these Italians? Especially in spring.

This photo of lovers in the main square of Apricale reminds me of a favourite photo I took in Turin a couple of years ago - you see it on the left.

I have such happy memories of my time in Turin when Fabrizio of Torino Daily Photo so kindly showed me around his wonderful city. This is for you, dear Fabrizio.

24 April 2010

Apricale - Art on the Walls

So often in the medieval villages of France and Italy you'll find artists in residence - their ateliers open for business as you wander the narrow streets. Apricale goes one further and features art on some of the exterior walls. The man featured in the main photograph was a well-known villager and looks quite a character, doesn't he?

23 April 2010

Apricale - the Old Dog

We're in the medieval hill village of Apricale. See yesterday's post for a long shot of the village showing the houses as they seems to tumble down the hillside.

I wonder many dogs have walked these same cobblestones over the centuries?

(Click on the link to see more of this dog on Riviera Dogs today.)

22 April 2010

Apricale - the Village

We're going on a little trip across the Italian border to the medieval village of Apricale.

It's only 38 ks from Monaco and about 28 ks from Menton. We simply drive through Ventimiglia, past the Roman ruins on our left and at the roundabout turn left up the Nervia valley. Apricale is 13 ks from the sea and stands at around 1000 feet above sea level.

The name Apricale comes from the Latin 'apricus' which means exposed to the sun. The first photo was taken in sunshine at the beginning of March when Peter from Paris was here. The smaller shot was taken last Sunday with Nathalie from Avignon when the sun had almost gone. It perhaps shows more detail as the sinuous cascade of houses tumbles down the hillside. (click to enlarge)

You drive a little way into the base of the village and park - and then you walk. That's it. No cars can get up the narrow medieval streets. Tomorrow we'll explore the village.

21 April 2010

Prelude to Summer

It was hot enough on the Sablettes to get sunburnt but the sea is still pretty chilly.

20 April 2010

Living the dream...

That azure blue Mediterranean, a beach, a palm, a glass or two of wine - this man would seem to be living the dream, wouldn't you say?

19 April 2010

The Caged Bird that Sings for Nathalie

Guess who came to stay for the weekend? Yes, it's the divine Nathalie from Avignon in Photos and here she is doing what she does so beautifully - taking photographs. We went to the hill villages of Dolceacqua and Apricale in Italy on Saturday and yesterday spent the day in Menton and later, a quick trip to Gorbio.

We lunched by the beach at La Pergola, where I had the best risotto I've ever eaten - Nathalie had a plate of assorted fried fishes, which she declared to be excellent and all this washed down with a delicious pale rosé called Out of the Blue. Of course all this meant we had to walk it off and so, after lunch, we wandered along the Promenade de la Mer (Les Sablettes) where Nathalie noticed the caged birds at the Teranga Plage. Her photo is below.

Come back soon, dear Nathalie! Life is always the best fun when you are around.

18 April 2010

Le Clos du Peyronnet - the Water Birds

Remember the wisteria the other day? This is another part of the same romantic garden.

The splash of pink is a Judas tree and in the foreground two beautiful water birds stand by one of the pools, hidden by the foliage in the foreground.

17 April 2010


'Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot, others transform a yellow spot into the sun.'

~ Pablo Picasso

16 April 2010

Créole at Place du Cap - 2

Today a long shot so we see not only the fabulous Créole dancers and their wonderful clothes but also some of the beautiful buildings that line the Place du Cap.

15 April 2010

Créole at Place du Cap

These shots were taken at the end of February during the Fête du Citron, but the Créole dancers weren't part of the official parade. This year the Ville de Menton arranged for all sorts of entertainment to take place at different times of the day and in different parts of the town. A great idea.

I was out shopping when I suddenly came upon this sea of Créole colour, music and dance. You never know what you will bump into in Menton.

Tomorrow - more Créole.

14 April 2010

The Soft Light of Morning

We're still at Le Clos du Peyronnet looking at the facade of the Old Town from William's belvedere. We see a hedge in the foreground because I'm short! Another time, I'll take a stool or ask William to unlock a nearby gate.

This was taken at 09.00h from a point very near to the Italian border. The mountain behind is the Tête du Chien which is above Monaco. The colours of the buildings are so much softer than we see in the bright light of midday.

13 April 2010

Wisteria at Le Clos du Peyronnet - and Prickle

Today, we are inside the wisteria-clad pergola at Le Clos du Peyronnet and so is Prickle, William Waterfield's little Jack Russell terrier. Prickle is on hand to welcome every visitor to this beautiful garden but at this moment, she's off for a nap...

12 April 2010

Wisteria at Le Clos du Peyronnet

Wisteria! When the wisteria is in bloom, then you know it's springtime in Menton.

Here you see the glorious wisteria covering the pergola of the Clos du Peyronnet, one of Menton's famous gardens. You can visit but as it's a private garden, you need to make an appointment. Click on the link above to read more and click HERE to read an interview with the owner William Waterfield. This romantic garden - I adore it - has been in the same family for three generations.

Thanks to Virginia who reminded me it is 'wisteria time' with her lovely photographs from Birmingham, Alabama Daily Photo.

11 April 2010

Up, Down and Roundabout

The Old Town of Menton is like this - streets go off in all directions, downwards, upwards, under archways, round corners. We're standing on Place du Cap looking towards Rue Ciapietta.

The plastic cover on the left protects the terrace area of La Spaghetto, an Italian restaurant, during inclement weather. Not needed today - Spring is here!

10 April 2010

Why I love my Life...

Life goes on, probably much the same as it has for hundreds of years in the medieval village of Gorbio.

09 April 2010

The Mona Lisa in Menton...?

Not the usual pretty Menton picture today but the side of a house. And what is painted on it would seem to be a somewhat cross-eyed version of the Mona Lisa in Menton!

We are in Rue Partouneaux, not far from Avenue Boyer and the Jardins Biovès. I just happened to look up. Always look up, you never know what you will find.

It can't have been easy to get up there and paint this, can it?

08 April 2010


A triangle of sun in the Place du Petit Port.

07 April 2010

The Double Whammy

Sometimes I wonder if there is anything better to eat than thinly sliced tomatoes, liberally covered (read drowned) in olive oil and topped with lashings of chopped basil. Add buffala mozzarella, some crusty wholemeal bread and a glass of Provence rosé - well, that's lunch!

The secret is to use huile d'olive basilique - they sell it in the Huilerie Saint Michel which is the olive oil shop just by the entrance to the Old Town. You only have to remove the cap and you are immersed in the joyous aromas of basil.

For a double whammy of basil, of course you use this oil as well as chopped basil leaves and leave it all to sit for a couple of hours.

06 April 2010

The Garden that Isn't

You don't need a garden to have a garden in Gorbio village.

05 April 2010

The Hollow Tree: Life + 297 years

This is Gorbio's famous elm tree planted in 1713. It's hollow as you can see and now, after a long cold winter, it's rushing back to life again. Not long and it will be in full leaf.

The reason it's such a happy and healthy tree is because an underground stream runs under the tree and the cobbles that surround it.

I imagine Gorbio will have a big celebration in three years time when the tree will be 300 years old.

04 April 2010

'Allo Robert' - the Wondrous Chaos

At 'Allo Robert' the fun is in exploring, searching, wondering what will be around the next corner. Here you can see just one tiny section. The shop iself is spread out in many different directions and on two floors.

My sort of shop and the owners are SO nice and friendly too. They were closing for lunch and I'd lost the lens hood of my camera. They helped me look, turned on lights that had been turned off, delayed their lunch and then I found it where I'd put it for safety...gracing my forearm like a bracelet. Duh!

Related Posts with Thumbnails