Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Tag Archives: France

I’m back! Again.

Hello, I’m back. I apologise for just disappearing but I have been for a wonderful break to the South of France with a girlie mate for a week of gallery hopping and museum visits. Oh and lots of yummy food. I took 342 photographs so I will need a while to sort them all and I promise not to bore you all with too many of them but it was such a wonderful week, I do have to share some of it with you.

I came across this sculpture outside the Museé d’Arte Comtemporaine in Nice. Quite scary really, I hadn’t realised the cult of Daddy Papersurfer was so popular in France….

The prize for the cutest moment of the trip went to this little creature (no, not DP) who we watched for ages in the zoo in St Jean Cap Ferrat. He was SOOOOOO sweet! He was trying to be like his meerkat mummy – are baby meerkats called meerkittens? I must look it up.

The Worst Menu Translation prize goes to the ‘Trastevere’ restaurant in Villefranche sur Mer for it’s translation of the word ‘pignons’ (pinenuts) in the Salade Chevre Chaud on its lunch menu. Would you like oil with those, madame?

Most Spectacular View prize goes to the view from the Botanical Gardens at Eze. This photograph does not begin to do it justice.

Most Wonderful Street Art prize goes to the various installations which follow the path of the new tram system in NIce. These figures sit atop tall posts and at night light up and change colour. I love them but they are not universally admired – some detractors call them the ‘jelly babies’.

My favourite museum is just outside the hill top village of St Paul de Vence. It’s called the Fondation Maeght and it is the most beautiful tranquil place, full of wonderful sculpture and paintings – especially by Miró, Calder, Giacometti and Braque who were all friends of the founders of the Fondation, Aimé and Marguerite Maeght. Interestingly, there is an exhibition at the Royal Academy in London at the moment featuring the relationship between these four artists and the Maeghts.

I have been visiting the Fondation Maeght for 20 years or so and have always pronounced it ‘Fondation Mekt’. I recently found out it is actually pronounced ‘Fondation Magg’. I’m not quite as sophisticated as I thought I was!

I found this photo of my youngest son, taken in front of a fountain at the Fondation Maeght about 15 years ago. The fountain is still there but the little boy is now a grown man. Happy days.

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Rain, rain, go away…

Well, I’m back. Thank you so much for all your kind wishes and comments, I will reply as soon as I have drawn breath. I’ve had a very interesting trip despite a lot of very dodgy weather that seems to be afflicting all Western Europe at the moment. We arrived in Geneva at lunch time and after our 2 hour train journey to Sierre then a taxi ride up the mountain, we finally arrived in Crans Montana in the early evening. It was surprisingly warm and sunny (we had expected to be cold!) but by the next day, it had become grey and misty and that set the tone for much of the rest of the journey south.

It was really interesting to see the same places I photographed a couple of months ago – minus the snow. It’s quite astonishing to see how quickly the grass and trees recover after being covered in snow for months on end. The snow covered hillsides had become meadows filled with wild flowers and the cows were out to pasture, each wearing a huge cow bell which rang constantly. The poor creatures must be deaf with the noise. 

Our journey was not going to be a leisurely sight seeing trip unfortunately. We were booked onto a ferry leaving Barcelona the next day so we had a lot of driving to do in a relatively short time. We set off in drizzly rain and and drove to Geneva and then down to Lyon. This part of the journey was through a region called the Jura and the scenery is quite beautiful. I managed to take a few shots as we drove through the mountains and through many tunnels.

After that we headed down the motorway which runs down to the South of France, (called the Autoroute du Soleil – the Sunshine Motorway) heading towards Spain when we reached Orange and bypassing some wonderful places like Montelimar, Avignon, Nimes, Carcassonne and Perpignan. The weather did improve as we drove south but as we were in the car, it seemed a waste! Just after we crossed the Spanish border, we came to Figueras (which has a famous Dali museum) and we stopped for the night in a pretty little fishing village called Port de la Selva.

This was the night that my team, Manchester United played Chelsea in the Champions League Final in Moscow. I managed to watch the last hour or so, in my hotel room on Spanish TV (so no John Motson or Alan Hanson – every cloud has a silver lining) The match was very close and even after playing extra time, the match was still drawn. The penalty shoot out which followed was unbearably exciting and stressful – I could hardly stand to watch it. Luckily, we won and I expect my screams of joy could be heard in Barcelona. Oops! Sorry! Manchester United knocked Barcelona out in the semi finals….. :-) Anyway, don’t let anyone say that we Mancunians weren’t pleased to win the cup!

We were heading for Barcelona to catch a fast ferry over to Palma in Mallorca. When we reached Barcelona, after only getting lost once (and that was because we had a duff road map and the streets had no names or road signs – honest! Maybe it was revenge for the football) we just about had time for a quick lunch before catching the Sea Cat, so I only had time for a quick look around the harbour near the port. (Click on thumbnails for a larger image)

I have stayed in my friends’ apartment in Puerta Pollensa many times and the weather has always been brilliant, so I suppose I was due some bad weather. Friday wasn’t too bad. We did manage to sit in the sun for a while but the three days after that were awful – very unseasonal rain, high winds and storms.

Having said that, I saw THE most amazing thunderstorm which happened whilst there was a spectacular red sunset. Even after many efforts, I didn’t manage to get a photograph of the lightning but shortly after I took this shot there was a HUGE bolt of forked lightning. With the building site in the foreground, this photograph reminds me of Mordor in ‘Lord of the Rings’ :-)

I arrived back in the UK yesterday after our grey, wet week to rain, rain and more rain. Marvellous. Welcome home.  


 

It’s Nice here…

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This book is smaller than my usual square books, only 5″square, so it is actually very cute. I might make more this size as they are almost handbag sized. Well, they are if you have a big handbag!

I am posting this from a rather swanky hotel room in Nice, France. I made this book before I went and saved it up for today. I flew out of England yesterday at 8.30 am, after a really early start in the foulest weather you can imagine. I left my house at 4.30am as I have a 2 hour drive to Bristol airport. It was raining incredibly hard and there were gale force winds – really nasty. At around 5am I was caught by a speed camera which I hadn’t noticed as I was concentrating on the dark, empty road (and I don’t like driving at night). I was so busy watching for huge puddles, as a lot of the roads were flooded, I didn’t notice the camera so being caught on an empty road, doing 40 in a 30 zone is very annoying.

I arrived in Nice and the sun was shining in a clear blue sky. And it was warm – such a treat. I’m only here for a couple of days but as it about 6 years since I was last here, it is nice to be back. I took some photographs but haven’t brought the cable to get the photos off the camera, so they will have to wait until I get back on Friday. Here’s a photo I found on Google images.

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When I was last in Nice, this wonderful Art Deco facade was all that was left of the original building which was a casino on the Promenade des Anglais. For years behind this facade, there was just a huge hole but recently they have re-built the casino and added a lovely hotel. On the third floor, there is a sun terrace and a swimming pool (on the level above the arches).

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It is really very nice here in Nice and it’s a shame that my winter break in the sun is over on Friday, then it’s back to the rain…