31 January 2012

Oceanographic Museum - Huang Yong Ping's Giant Octopus

When Prince Albert I of Monaco created the Oceanographic Museum, he wanted to associate art with science and so throughout the building and on the facades outside, you'll find many incredible works of art.

One that really hits you in the face - and almost literally - is this sculpture of a giant octopus that measures 25 metres from tentacle to tentacle. It's the work of Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping - note one of the tentacles touching a plastic shoe, plastic bottles: the detritus of man on the ocean floor ...

You can read a full account of this work, the exhibition and see photos of the installation at CityOut Monaco. Thanks, Alex.

Below you'll find a video of the installation.

This exhibition - 'Méditerranée: Spelndide, Fragile, Vivant' - continues until the 21st March.

30 January 2012

Oceanographic Museum - Prince Albert I of Monaco

The first thing that strikes you as you enter the Oceanographic Museum is that the building is going to be every bit as stunning as the fish - and it is.

This is the main entrance hall with a sculpture of Prince Albert I of Monaco (1848 - 1922), mariner and scientist and founder of the musuem.

As a young man, Prince Albert I served in the Spanish Navy, but during the Franco-Prussian War, he joined the French Navy where he was awarded the Legion of Honor. He was only 22 years old when he began to develop an interest in the then relatively new science of oceanography. After several years of study, Albert showed his ingenuity by devising a number of techniques and instruments used for measurement and exploration. Accompanied by some of the world's leading marine scientists, he recorded numerous oceanographic studies, maps and charts. He then founded what would become the world renowned Oceanographic Institute which is based here, at the museum, and in Paris. We'll learn more as we continue our visit.

The tentacles of the octupus are part of a exhibition - more another day.

Prince Albert I, (click to see him in the Saint Martin Gardens looking out to sea) is the great grandfather of the current ruler of Monaco, Albert II.

More tomorrow...

29 January 2012

Oceanographic Museum - the Octopus

We are outside the main entrance of the Oceanographic Museum - we've bought our tickets and will soon walk up the steps...

But first... let's take a look at this 1981 sculpture by Emma de Sigaldi. It's called - no surprise - the Octopus.

Emma de Sigaldi was born in Germany in 1910. She trained and later performed as a classical dancer and then, in 1954, she married Monegasque Count de Sigaldi and from then on lived in the Principality. You'll find many sculptures by her in Monaco, including the famous 'Plongeur' that stands, arms outstretched and ready to dive, in front of the swimming pool on Port Hercule.

Emma de Sigaldi died in 2010, just before her 100th birthday.

28 January 2012

Oceanographic Museum

These photos of the Oceanographic Museum on le rocher are by way of introduction to a series that starts on Monday.

Founded by Prince Albert 1, it was inaugurated in 1910. The building rises majestically from the sea to a height of 279 feet and took 11 years to build, using 100,000 tons of white limestone from La Turbie, a village high above Monte Carlo. It houses a fabulous museum of marine sciences.

We've a treat ahead so do come along for the ride.

27 January 2012

Arman's Melodie

Can't you just hear the music! This sculpture - Melody by Arman - stands on le rocher just above Port Hercule.

26 January 2012

Lunch at La Rose des Vents

Lunch in the sunshine on Larvotto - somewhat different to yesterday's restaurant...

25 January 2012

Tripe and Steamed Spuds

It's not all caviar and champagne in Monaco...

How about tripe with steamed potatoes for 10 euros and all within a stone's throw of the Palace on le rocher?

The plastic, of course, allows outside eating even in winter.

24 January 2012

Audrey's Toe

The shadow of this little girl caught my attention on Larvotto Beach but it wasn't until I got home and enlarged the photo that I realised I knew her and later learned that she wasn't playing but had badly hurt her big toe. She was hopping on one foot and in a lot of pain.

My new camera doesn't have a long zoom but is a full sensor camera and often I don't see the detail until the photo is on the screen and I enlarge it.

I hope you get better soon, dear Audrey.

23 January 2012

A Jenson Button and Jessica Michibata sort of day...

Yesterday was a glorious day - t-shirt weather.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a mad Formula One fan and never miss a race. Jenson Button is my favourite driver. He drives for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes with intelligence, sensitivity - he's brilliant - and there he was, running towards and then past me. Too late for a shot so I turned around and clicked. Jenson is in the red t-shirt in the smaller photo.

A few minutes later Flavio Briatore (ex director of the Renault F1 team) walked past La Rose des Vents.

And 15 mintes afer that, Jenson's beautiful girlfriend Jessica Michibata came along, running in the opposite direction. That's her in the main photo.

And after that - to make it a real Grand Prix Sunday - I went to lunch with my friend Sue, who is married to Roy Salvadori - another F1 driver from what is now a bygone era. My interest in Forumula One started years ago when I became friends with Roy and Sue.

22 January 2012

The Picture Frame

This picture frame/sculpture stands on le rocher, overlooking Port Hercule. People love to stand in the frame and have their photograph taken. Unfortunately if you look at it full on, there is a massive palm tree in the way but it's a rather lovely idea, don't you think?

21 January 2012

The Changing of the Guard - 2

One last look at the Palace Guards as they hand over their duties. Then a quick turn and off they go to get into the white bus that awaits them.

I wouldn't mind a euro (or even a centime) for every tourist that has photographed this scene.

20 January 2012

The Changing of the Guard

Each day at noon, you can watch the changing of the guard outside the Prince's Palace.

Today they are wearing their winter uniform. In summer, they sparkle in white.

And of course visitors line up to take photographs.

19 January 2012

The Kids' Playground

This has to be one of the best situated children's playgrounds, don't you think? Not sure what they are playing as I don't see a ball...

By the way, this playground transforms into the Open Air Cinema in summer. Click on the link.

This was taken leaning over the parapet near to the Oceanographic Museum on le rocher.

18 January 2012

The Shepherd with Red Fingernails

You don't expect to see a shepherd and sheep in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. And you certainly don't expect the bronze shepherd to have painted fingernails...

17 January 2012

A Bike Ride around Cap Ferrat

These shots on the walk around Cap Ferrat were taken in September but the sun shines as gloriously today as it did then - just a little cooler and very cold at night.

I wondered if this couple would ride their bikes up the shallow steps but as you see, they sensibly didn't.

16 January 2012

Sculpture at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

In September there was an exhibition of sculptures on the esplanade in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. One or two have been seen on this blog already. Here's another. Unfortunately very few of the art works showed the name of the piece or the artist including this bronze.

15 January 2012

Reflections of Fontvieille

Sometimes buildings look more interesting when reflected in the sea...

These was taken in the Port of Fontvieille.

14 January 2012

Up and Down...

Well, I know this isn't the most exciting photo in the world but it shows how well Monaco caters for people unable to walk up steps. You don't really expect a chair lift in the open air, do you? This one is in Fontvieille near the shopping centre.

In addition there are lifts (elevators) all over Monaco taking people from one level to another. Of course there are steps too but normally you can get up and down the hills with ease provided you know where to find the lifts.

Note the reflection of boats in the port in the first photo and of the Palace and rocher in the smaller one.

13 January 2012

Lightning McQueen

Do you ever wish...you were a child again...and someone would feed you?

12 January 2012

From the Big Wheel...the English Village

You don't really expect to see a representation of an English medieval village on the port of Monaco but that is exactly what was built for the Christmas Fair. I took these shots from the Big Wheel.

The road you see in the smallest photo is where you'll find the Start/Finish line of the Monaco Grand Prix.

All this - and the big wheel - was taken down on Monday. Festivities carry on in France and Monaco until the end of the first week of January to accommodate the Italian holidays - during that time, if you listen to people speaking, you'd think you were in Italy - but then being so near to Italy, that's often the case. Ciao!

11 January 2012

From the Big Wheel...

The big wheel opened at 11 a.m. and I was there waiting. The guy stopped the wheel at the top for a few minutes and then I got 8 or so rotations. I gave up counting eventually...

It wasn't that easy to take photos as you have to keep changing position to avoid photographing the supports of the wheel - and look at the lower photo, you felt as if you could fall out any minute, especially through those little gates.It was all great fun tho.

10 January 2012

Moody Blues

Moody skies over the Ski School at Larvotto.

09 January 2012

Fair Fashion

If you are a Monte Carlo lady and you take your twin sons to the fair, you wear the highest heels and of course have a Chanel handbag on your shoulder.

08 January 2012

David Niven's House - a Last Look

A few last images of David Niven's villa at Cap Ferrat.

It's been recently restored at a reputed cost of 10 millions euros and is now known as La Fleur du Cap.

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