29 February 2012

Sweeping up Botero's Ash

Fernando Botero created his wonderfully voluptuous 'Woman Smoking a Cigarette' in 1987. She endlessly smokes her cigarette in the Parc Paysager de Fontvieille.

Do you suppose the man in the smaller photo is sweeping up her ash?

28 February 2012

Wrapped up for Winter

Many of the trees and shrubs, despite blue skies and sunshine, are wrapped up for winter but then it's still chilly at night. These are in the Parc Paysager de Fontvieille, near the Circus tent.

27 February 2012

Winter Haircut

The olive trees in Monaco have had a winter haircut. This tree grows outside the church of Saint Nicolas in Fontvieille.

26 February 2012

Bronze Water

We're back in Monaco today and this fountain in Fontvieille has always been a favourite of mine.

It's fascinating to watch the continually falling water. You can see a couple of photos I took three and a half years ago, including a longer shot which shows the complete sculpture - HERE.

25 February 2012

The Trophy of the Alpes - the Restoration

A moody view of the Trophy des Alpes taken from La Turbie. You can see how it dominates the landscape.

In his Naturalis Historia, Pliny the Elder (23 - 79 A.D.) refers to the existence of the monument. However, from the end of Antiquity onwards, the Trophy of the Alpes receded from memory as its stones were used to build the village and fortifications. The ruined monument attracted travellers and Romantic artists enamoured of picturesque sites and scholars wondered whether the ruins at La Turbie could be clearly identified as the Trophy of the Alpes. After a great deal of research, it was.

During the Middle Ages, the site was converted into a fortress. Then, in 1705, Louis IV ordered the Trophy blown up but the 17-century-old construction largely withstood his efforts. The durable stone was pillaged to build the Saint-Michel church (see smaller photo) as well as other constructions.

Just before the Conté de Nice and Savoy were reattached to Fance in 1860, the Savoy royal family ordered restoration to begin. They didn't achieve much but at least what they did prevented further deterioration. Casimir, a local archeologist began excavations in 1900. The archeologist Formigé became interested and, in the 1920's, the wealthy American Dr Edward Tuck employed architects to restore the Trophy, including replacing stones where they deduced they belonged. The restoration was completed in 1934.

24 February 2012

The Trophy of the Alpes - the Emperor Augustus

In 13 BC the Emperor Augustus planned a new coast road into Gaul (Provence). This road became the Via Julia Augustus (or Via Julia, later to merge into the Aurelian Way that was built 150 years later.) Augustus used this route to conquer the Ligurians and bring the Pax Romana to Provence. La Turbie was a strategic site as it was the highest point on the long Roman road into Gaul and marked the gateway between Italy and the Roman conquests of Gaul.

The map (click to enlarge) shows the peoples of the Alpes vanquished by Augustus during the second half of the first century BC and indicates the main Roman roads.

Interestingly, you can now visit 9 sites in a Roman itinerary (via Julia Augusta) starting here, at the Trophy in La Turbie - of which the caves of Balzi Rossi and the Hanbury Botanical gardens in Italy (just across the border) are visited - and finishing in Ventimiglia.

This model of the Emperor Augustus stands in the small museum adjoining the Trophy - a copy of the one in the Vatican in Rome.

23 February 2012

The Trophy of the Alpes - the Goats

The Trophy of the Alpes celebrates the Emperor Augustus' conquest of the Gaulish Tribes between 25 and 14 B.C. From the Col de la Turbie, the highest point of the Julia Way (via Julia Augustus) the monument overlooks the sea from San Remo to Esterel and asserts the power and protection of Rome.

The walk throught the ground surrounding the Trophy affords some fabulous views over Monaco, amid box trees, rockroses, lavenders, bilberries and cypresses.

There are even a couple of friendly goats...

22 February 2012

The Trophy of the Alpes - How it was Built

The museum, alongside the Trophy, is excellent and you'll find this model of the monument as it was when it was built in the first century B.C.

It is made of interlocking substructures, which make the structure very solid. A solid internal cylinder with foundations composed of a ring of radiating pillars supports an upper collanade which was very tall. Around this the quadrilateral base walls were structured by large enveloping stonework walls and other internal walls made of small stonework which formed cavities filled with packing material. This was filled with blockwork and mortar, the layers of which are still visible, showing how work progressed on the site.

They sure knew how to build...those Romans.

21 February 2012

The Trophy of the Alpes

Anyone visiting Monaco and this part of the French Riviera can't have missed seeing the 'Trophy of the Alpes' at La Turbie, which overhangs the Principality of Monaco.

It was a 50 metres high monument, built in the 1st century BC to the power of Rome and the glory of the Emperor Augustus. It's now 35 metres high and you can visit the Trophy, indeed climb many steps - and we will.

Do come back tomorrow...

(the photos were taken last September)

20 February 2012

Billowing Curtains

This photo (taken last year) shows the use for the poles seen yesterday. They support these white curtains that, in this photo, billow crazily in the wind. This is La Note Bleue restaurant on Larvotto Beach - and very good it is too.

19 February 2012

Poles on Larvotto Beach

Larvotto Beach on a windy day. In fact I took this a year ago but looking through pics the other day I quite like the pattern of the poles so I hope you do too. Happy Sunday...

18 February 2012

La Rose des Vents - Oil and Vinegar

A small table - good olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a pepper mill - enough to get the taste buds working...

We are at La Rose des Vents on Larvotto Beach. As you can see in the photo below, the restaurant spreads out onto the beach in summer and in winter (small photo) you'll find tables on the other side.

17 February 2012


Lines everywhere outside the Grimaldi Forum, even on the runner's leg.

16 February 2012

One Step at a Time ...

'No matter how long it takes,
If you keep moving,
One step at a time,
You will reach the finish line...'

~ Unknown

15 February 2012

Grace Maman

This edition of Paris Match, showing a photograph of HSH Princess Grace, was amongst a pile of old magazines on sale at a recent BrocTroc in Menton. The date is February 1957 so the baby is HSH Princess Caroline who was born on 23 January of that year.

There's something so poignant in this, isn't there? Memories flood back...

14 February 2012

The Cathedral and La Tête de Chien

This is a view of the cathedral I'd not seen before.

The promontory called La Tête de Chien (The Dog's Head) is at an altitude of 550 metres and overhangs Monaco.

The photo was taken from the open door at the far end of the Whale Room in the Oceanographic Museum (see smaller photo).

13 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - Lamp Light

Apart from the science and the ocean creatures, you could enjoy the Oceanographic Museum for its art and decoration alone.

This lamp hangs over a stairwell. Note the beautiful window.

12 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - Aliens and a very old Eel

Have the aliens finally landed in Monaco!

The Moon jellyfish is recognised by its fringed umbrella and reproductive organs in the shape of a four-leafed clover. It stings, but only slightly, and can grow to 40 centimetres. It's found on the Riviera coastline along with the more common Pelagia jellyfish.

If you click on the link, you can see a photo I took of thousands of these jellyfish, dead and washed up on the rocks at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin last June. The stink was awful.

The smaller photo - not as sharp as I'd have liked - but I want to show you the museum's oldest inhabitant, a brown moray eel who was caught off Antibes in 1968 when he was already adult size. Its precise age is unknown but he's at least 44 years old. Incredible, don't you think?

11 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - Silvery Lookdown

Just a day or so more at the Oceanographic Museum and we'll go somewhere else - but we'll be back. I photographed almost none of the art within the museum and wasn't happy with many of the fish photos - so another visit will be on the cards sometime in the future.

The top photo shows a Silvery Lookdown - they slide through the water like blades to catch their pray - and have such funny faces. This one reminds me of someone I know ...!

Look at the way the prawn - or is it a type of lobster - fits his little burrow.

And the last photo shows one of the nursery tanks. These are one of seven clownfish species in the aquarium, along with some black and white cardinal fish.

Some facts:

There are 90 tanks on exhibition. The capacity of the largest is 450,000 litres. The smallest holds 100 litres.

The temperature in the tropical area is 25 degrees and in the Mediterranean area, 15 - 22 degrees according to the season.

Duration of daily light: Tropical - 14 hours. Mediterranean - 12 hours.

Tomorrow, we meet the oldest inhabitant of the aquarium.

10 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - Harpoon

We've left the aquarium to walk up to the roof of the Oceanographic Museum - great views from here. This old harpoon looks ready for an unsuspecting whale ...

More fish tomorrow.

09 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - Colour and Corals

Aren't the colours and the corals wonderful! Today Monte Carlo Daily Photo welcomes guest photographer, Jean- François Deligeard.

Jean-François lives in Menton and had posted some of his fish photography, taken at the Oceanographic Museum, on the Facebook photography group to which we both belong - and so here he is!

Take a look at Jean-François' fascinating website - you'll see he's an experienced hiker, he runs marathons and he's a great photographer. What a guy! Thanks for sharing the photos, Jean-François.

08 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - the Tanks

The Aquarium is divided into several zones - the Mediterranean zone, the Atlantic Ocean, the Shark Lagoon (of which we saw a part yesterday) and the Tropical Zone.

Tanks vary in size, some with round windows, as above - others square, oblong ...

... and the live corals are absolutely stunning.

There are 6000 fish in the collection.

07 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - and Monte Carlo Daily Photo's 5th Birthday!

The Shark Lagoon is enormous! It contains 450 square meters of water with sharks, rays, groupers, jacks, moral eels and turtles, on a coral reef that teems with tropical fish and live corals. The presentation of live corals in such a space is a first. This tank can be viewed from four different angles. One panel alone is 5.90 metres high and 7.90 metres wide.


Monte Carlo Daily Photo and Menton Daily Photo celebrate their 5th birthdays today - that's one photo (sometimes more) every single day for five years - twice! Not quite sure how it happened, but it did!

In fact, it all started with Eric Tenin's Paris Daily Photo and his vision for a world-wide City Daily Photo community of which today there are 1452 representing cities all over the world. I will be forever grateful to Eric for starting something that was to totally change my life and in ways I never could have imagined. Who knew I'd fall asleep at night reading books on photography!

According to Google, Monte Carlo Daily Photo has 13,000 visits a month (of which 7,500 are unique visits) and with 27,000 page views. You can see, with these monthly numbers, why I can't stop and indeed I don't want to! It's such a honour and a privilege to know so many people are enjoying the photos. A heartfelt thank you to my wonderful readers, for your loyalty, encouragement, kind emails and comments - without you, I think I'd have faltered long ago.

But along with the numbers have come friends - blogging friends, photography friends, people who come and visit and who I'd not have known but for the blogs. People who write me - we've never met - but are friends nonetheless. And one thing is particularly important to me, acceptance by the people of the amazing village where I live - Gorbio. Gorbio is 11 kilometres from Monaco. I adore this village, its traditions and its people who have so generously made me (a foreigner) welcome. They know me as the English woman, with the blogs - the one who always has a camera in her hand! I feel very much a part of this medieval hill village and I can't begin to tell you how much this means to me.

Please hop over to Menton Daily Photo for a photo of me, taken by the Mayor of Gorbio, smiling at you all and saying thanks so much.

06 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - Stuffed!

In this area of the Oceanographic Museum, you find stuffed fish, a polar bear, replicas of ships, a walrus, even a mermaid (albeit a mock-up!) and all in an environment resplendent with beautiful chandeliers. You'll also find some of the 450 decorated shells, part of the Ginestet collection acquired by the museum in 1992.

Tomorrow: the Fish! And Monte Carlo Daily Photo's 5th birthday!

05 February 2012

Oceanographic Museum - the Ship's Laboratory

The Hall of Zoological Oceanography, renamed Salle Albert Ier in 2004, features a mock-up of one of three laboratories on the Hirondelle II.

The materials are taken directly to a laboratory on deck. After being sorted to eliminate useless residue, the materials for zoology are sent to the central laboratory, whilst those for oceanography go to a third laboratory.

The musuem houses tens of thousands of specimens and even today, researchers come to Monaco from all over the world.

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