31 January 2010

The Festival of Sainte Dévote - the Red Roses

We've gone back to the beginning today. As guests left the cathedral they were handed a red rose - and not just the ladies.

Later, when I was near to the Palace, a lady from the Mairie, a big bunch of roses in her arms, handed me one. Somehow I strapped it to my camera bag and now, several days later it's flourishing in my kitchen - a beautiful reminder of the day.

30 January 2010

The Festival of Sainte Dévote - Silhouette

The parade continues - the effigy of Christ against the backdrop of the Law Courts.

29 January 2010

The Festival of Sainte Dévote - The Parade Begins...

Almost as soon as the Mass was over and H.S.H. Prince Albert II had been driven away, the parade from the Cathedral to the Place du Palais, began.

The photo below shows you how it started - with a close-up in the main pic.

There were many different groups in the parade, wearing totally different clothes. I wish I could tell you what the various costumes represent but I don't know. No matter, I hope you enjoy the parade for Monaco's patron saint as much as I did.

28 January 2010

The Festival of Sainte Dévote

Yesterday was the second day of the Fête de Sainte Dévote, patron Saint of Monaco. Here you see H.S.H. Prince Albert II leaving the Cathedral on le rocher after the Pontifical Mass. To the left, wearing the Mitre, is the Archbishop of Monaco, Monseigneur Bernard Barsi.

Following this mass there was a procession through the town which we'll see tomorrow and over the following few days.

According to legend, on the 27th January in the year 304, a boat from Corsica landed on the coast guided by a dove. In it lay the body of a young Christian martyr. Discovered by local fisherman, she became the patron saint of Monaco and a chapel was built on the spot - the beautiful Church of Saint Dévote - which stands near Port Hercule. The relics of Sainte Dévote were enshrined within its walls and each year on the 27th January, religious ceremonies are held throughout the Principality in honour of its patron saint. On the evening of the 26th the Royal family burn a fishing boat on the port, from which a white dove is released. This is known as the 'burning of the boat' and is a tradition much looked forward to each year. This is followed by fireworks. You can see a sculpture of Sainte Dévote by clicking HERE.

The second day, which is the one we are taking part in, features this Mass, and then during the procession, we'll see the relic of Saint Dévote. Do come back tomorrow.

PS. Apologies if you were expecting the visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. It's just that I drove into Monaco yesterday and suddenly remembered it was Fête day and so I wanted you to see photos that are current - aren't women allowed to change their mind? We'll go back to the villa on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat eventually.

27 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Stone Garden

Today we are back in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in the gardens of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. One of the nine gardens is called The Stone Garden which is set amongst camphor and Judas trees. Within this garden you'll find arches, fountains, sculpted capitals, gargoyles and other grotesque figures dating from the Medieval and Renaissance periods.

This chap is looking a little worse for wear.

26 January 2010

34th Festival of Circus - the Lioness

Last day we'll be at the circus. I just wanted to show you the beautiful lioness in the main photo and the young one frolicking in the smaller pic.

Tomorrow: Back to our visit to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild.

25 January 2010

34th Festival of Circus - the Princess

Princess Stephanie is the President of the Monte Carlo Festival of Circus and takes a very hands-on approach. Her love of circus is evident and she's always around making sure everything is running properly and checking on the welfare of the animals. Always dressed smartly yet casually and normally in black as you see here, except for the big dress-up occasions of course.

Yesterday was the last day of the circus - just one more photo to show you tomorrow. Then we'll go back to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

24 January 2010

34th Festival of Circus - the Elephant Girl

'It would've been hard to do something else, to as it were, run away from the circus and become an accountant.'

~ Samuel West

23 January 2010

34th Festival of Circus - the Dogs

These two dogs were behind bars in a large pen. I really should have asked someone if they are performing dogs or simply dogs belonging to a member of the circus. Neither looked very happy.

The dog in the main photo and below is a Newfoundland and the one standing on a bale of straw (left) is a mix of some sort.

22 January 2010

34th Festival of Circus - the Sea Lions - 2

How the children loved the sealions. This is not part of the circus act. The animals live outside the circus tent and people can come and see them all day - no charge.

This trainer put on a little act for the kids, allowing one sea lion at a time out of the pool area - to run riot. They loved it - including the grown up kid who took these photos.

21 January 2010

34th Festival of Circus - the Sea Lions

The sea lions were having the best fun outside the circus tent. They had an enormous pool to swim in and were just like dogs with their master - obedient yet naughty at times...

These two are posing with a friend of the trainer - he's the guy (small pic) with his back to us with the curly hair.

Note: if you pose with a sea lion you get wet!

20 January 2010

34th Festival of Circus - the Elephant's Trunk

Stretch.....and hope for a biscuit. And he got one - in fact, he got lots of biscuits. And the child got to see just how long an elephant's trunk is.

'Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.'

~ John Donne

19 January 2010

34th Festival of Circus - the Lion King

Back to Monaco for a few days as it's that time of year again - the circus is back in town.

It's the 34th Festival of Circus, one of the most prestigious events in the circus calendar.

Each day, in the area outside the circus tent in Fontvieille you can wander around looking at the animals taking the sun and being cleaned and fed. This year, lions, elephants, sealions and horses were spending their spare time looking at us whilst we looked at them.

The lions, one of whom you see here, were all in beautiful condition and in enormous runs with raised benches allowing this magnificent Lion King to look down on us. He is one of the troupe of lions trained by Martin Lacey Junior.

You can read about animals in circuses HERE - words from a meeting presided over by Princess Stephanie of Monaco.

18 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Salon Louis XVI

We're back inside the Villa today to see a detail of the walls in the Salon Louis XVI which is decorated with painted wood paneling of the XVIIIth century, originally from the Hôtel Crillon in Paris. The ceiling is painted by Tiepolo and the room is used to display Louis XVI chairs covered with Aubusson tapestries illustrating the Fables of La Fontaine.

The Villa has been owned, since 1991, by the Académie des Beaux Arts of the Insititute de France. It is under the management of Culturespaces, which has overseen its development with the support of the Académie des Beaux Arts, the Conseil Général des Alpes Maritimes, the Association des Amis de la Villa and a number of patrons. The Louis XVI Room has only recently been completely restored and you can read and see photos of the restoration HERE.

There are many more photos to show you of this stunning villa and gardens but tomorrow we take a short break - a few days in Monaco to show you something else. We'll be back here tho soon.

17 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Japanese Garden

The bamboo lined walkway that leads to the Japanese Garden. This garden was fully restored in the spring of 2003 through the donation made by Nippon Television.

16 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Spanish Garden - 2

This is the pretty entrance to the Spanish Garden we saw two days ago.

15 January 2010

Theme Day: Best Photo of 2009

Today is Theme Day when we get to choose our best photo of the previous year. I liked the light and reflection of this shot taken inside the Hôtel de Paris. The walls are antique mirrors giving endless reflections of the opulent marble walls and beautiful lamps that are part of the foyer of this fabulous hotel.

The smaller shot shows kids on a new ride on the port at Christmas. They are zipped into a ball and then roll themselves around the course where they have snow, sea, tempest and sand to contend with, yet all within the safety of their magical cocoon. You could say they are having a ball!

To see the Best Photosof 2009 from around the world - what a treat today will be! - click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

14 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Spanish Garden

The Spanish garden, with its grotto supported by pink marble columns, its pond, dolphin fountain and pergola, is reminiscent of the world-famous gardens at Aranjuez, near Madrid.

13 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Florentine Garden

The villa is surrounded by nine gardens over 7 acres.

The Florentine garden overlooks the Bay of Villefranche. At its centre is a wide horseshoe staircase framing an enchanting grotto planted with philodendron, water hyacinth and giant papyrus.

12 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Dogs

One imagines Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild loved dogs. These two are to be seen in her bedroom with their own miniature chairs and footstools. Perhaps they were modelled after her own dogs?

The dog is the main photo represents a Cavalier King Charles spaniel - looking not very pretty - and the other is perhaps a bichon.

Note the Aubusson carpet. This room overlooks the harbour of Villefranche.

11 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Covered Patio

In the internal covered patio, pink marble colonnades from Verona support Italian Renaissance-style arches. The patio is encircled by galleries whose Moorish arches open out onto balconies.

Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild used to host her elegant receptions in this area and it is still used as a gallery to display a number of medieval and Renaissance works of art.

The patio appears to be open to the sky (see lower photo) but in fact we are looking at a ceiling.

10 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild - the Marble Lady

Everywhere, inside and out, you'll find beauty. Here, near the entrance, a lady bathes in a small pond.

It took five years of major work to construct this 'Palace,' evoking the great Italian Renaissance residences. Several architects were approached, including Auburtin who was in favour with Béatrice Ephrussi. This 'Prix de Rome' winner was replaced on the coastal project by Aaron Messiah. Béatrice sometimes had huge models constructed to be certain of the end result.

09 January 2010

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

Don't know about you but I'm fed up with the endless rain here, so let's go back to days of blue skies and sunshine and visit the beautiful Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. We'll look around the villa and we'll wander the 9 gardens laid out over 7 acres - and we'll leave this cold ol' winter behind for a while.

Béatrice Ephrussi, born Rothschild, discovered Cap-Ferrat in 1905, when the Côte d'Azur was about to become the holiday destination of High Society. She owned four villas in Monaco but was seduced by the natural beauty of this nearby site and bought seventeen acres of land on the narrowest part of the peninsula, right from under the nose of King Leopold II of Belgium, who wanted to extend his neighbouring property.

More tomorrow...

08 January 2010

The Ceiling

Such a pretty ceiling, don't you think? I've no idea how old it is - certainly it has a 'look' of being old but who knows? It's in the centre of the restaurant at the Hotel Eze Hermitage on the Grand Corniche in Eze.

07 January 2010


The snow has gone on the coast. These photos were taken before Christmas - on the 20th December. No matter, I wanted to show you this red plant. It looks like a Trachelospermum Jasminoides but I've never seen a red-leaved one before so perhaps not. Does anyone know this plant?

This was taken in the gardens of the Eze Hermitage Restaurant and Hotel. Click on the link.

06 January 2010

Glass and Marble

Glass and marble - reflections inside the sumptuous foyer of the Hôtel de Paris.

05 January 2010

Hands and Feet at Lanvin

We've seen a couple of other shots from the window display at the Lanvin shop in Casino Square. Here's another.

04 January 2010


Ornate decoration on a building in Avenue Grande Bretagne.

03 January 2010

Between Sea and Sky

The Vista Palace Hotel is actually on the Moyenne Corniche in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin but it's usually thought of as a Monaco hotel, hovering as it does between sea and sky over the Principality. The view from the hotel in the direction of Italy or looking towards Monaco and beyond is stunning.

02 January 2010

The Tablecloth

Watching a waiter prepare the tables for lunch is fascinating. He is working on the terrace of the Salle Empire in the Hôtel de Paris. He threw the cloth into the air at least four or five times before he was satisfied at the way it landed.

01 January 2010

Theme Day: Changes

This is a Datura, photographed in the gardens of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild on Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This beautiful plant, so common on the Côte d'Azur is a poison and a toxic hallucinogen which causes changes in the brain manifesting itself in agitated behavior and confusion.

Datura belongs to the classic "witches' weeds," along with deadly nightshade, henbane, and mandrake and has a long history in producing a changed delirious state and death. It was well known as an essential ingredient of love potions and witches' brews and sadly, the local newspaper, Nice-Matin sometimes reports on youngsters picked up in an intoxicated state having used Datura unaware of the extreme danger of the plant. Not the sort of changes anyone needs.

To see how other CDP bloggers have interpreted today's theme please click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

For 2010 I wish you happy changes, positive changes, changes that will make you dance with delight. Happy New Year everyone!

'If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies.' ~ Author Unknown
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