Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton

musee picassoThe artist and writer, Jean Cocteau first visited Menton in 1955 and called the city the “Pearl of France,” while maintaining a long-lasting relationship with the city from the late 1950’s.

He became involved in the restoration and decoration of the Bastion, a small fort built in the 17th century, in order to convert it into an exhibition place for his work:  watercolors, ceramics, tapestries, sketches, and mosaics, and more.

On the request of Francis Palmero, the Mayor at that time, Cocteau first painted the Salle des Mariages, inaugurated on 22 March 1958 and also decorated the Mayor’s office with a wall painting representing Orpheus in front of the Old City of Menton.

He is also responsible for decorating the “Chapelle St. Pierre” in Villefranche, a fishing town just outside of Nice and also lived in St. Jean Cap Ferrat – all portraying his long love affair with the French Riviera.

Musée du Bastion
Quai de Monlion – Vieux Port of Menton
Open all year round from 10.00am to 12.00pm and from 2.00pm to 6.00pm. Closed on Tuesday and holidays.
 
Cocteau Chapel
1, Quai Courbet in Villefranche
Closed on Tuesday and during lunchtime.

Nice Carnaval – Grand Opening!

As an update to my previous Winter Festivals post, today is the grand opening of the Nice Carnival – the third largest in the world!   The video is a behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the grand event – don’t forget to bring your silly string!

Schedules for Nice & Menton Festivals:

Nice Carnival

Friday 15th FebruaryCarnaval-poster-201x300

8.30pm Opening Festivities, free entrance

16th + 23rd February, 2nd March

2.30pm Flower Parade

9.00pm Carnival Parade of lights

Sunday 17th February

8.30am Carnival Race: ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll 10 Miles’

12.00pm Carnival Swim Free entrance

19th, 24th, 26th February, 3rd March

2.30pm  Carnival Parade

20th + 27th February, 6th March

2.30pm  Flower Parade

Saturday 2nd March

2.30pm  Flower Parade

9.00pm Carnival Parade of lights

Tuesday 5th March

9.00pm Carnival Parade of lights

Wednesday 6th March

9.30pm  Closing Festivities Burning of the King and firework display

Menton Lemon Festival

Saturday 16th February to Wednesday 6th March

Citrus Exhibition

Biovès Gardens Weekdays: 10am-6pm

Weekends: 9am-6pm (16th Feb opens 1pm)

Sunday 17th, Thursday 21st, Sunday 24th, Thursday 28th February

Garden of Lights

Biovès Gardens From 8.30pm to 10.30pm

Sunday 17th + 24th February, 3rd March

Parade, Promenade du Soleil From 2.30pm

Sunday 3rd March Promenade du Soleil

Closing Ceremony

Fireworks from 9pm at Esplanade Francis Palmero

Fridays 22nd February + 1st March

Night Parades

Promenade du Soleil 8.30pm

Winter Festivals on the Côte d’Azur

A citrus escargot on parade at the Fête du Citron in Menton

Winter Festivals on the Côte d'Azur

“As if sunny days, mild temperatures and blossoming mimosa weren’t enough, February also brings three fun festivals to the Côte d’Azur. For the first time this year, the three cities—Nice, Menton and Mandelieu-La Napoule—have coordinated the dates of their festivals so that visitors can take advantage of all the parades, floats, activities and exhibits during the festival weeks from February 15 through March 6.

Winter Festivals on the Côte d'Azur
A château made of citrus fruit at the Fête du Citron in Menton
Winter Festivals on the Côte d'Azur
The Eiffel Tower in citrus fruit at the Jardin Biovès in Menton
Winter Festivals on the Côte d'Azur
A float at the Nice Carnival

Parades, flower-decorated floats and revelers fill the streets of Nice as the city celebrates its traditional Mardi Gras Carnival. Highlights are the corsos, or parades of colorful floats, led by the King and Queen of the Carnival and showered by tons of rainbow-hued confetti; the Grosses Têtes, giant figures that accompany the floats; and the Batailles des Fleurs, floats decorated with thousands of the gorgeous flowers that grow on the Côte d’Azur: roses, mimosa, carnations, gladiolus, daisies and other blossoms. Musicians and dancers from all over the world add to the fun. February 15 through March 6. www.nicecarnaval.com

Menton’s annual Lemon Festival sparkles with day and night parades, floats decorated with more than 100 tons of citrus fruit and giant citrus “sculptures” in parks and gardens. This year’s festival is the 80th Fête du Citron in this lovely town on the Italian border. The city’s many gardens celebrate citrus fruit with guided tours, and the fruit can also be enjoyed in citrus-themed dishes in local restaurants, artisanal marmalades and confitures, and cocktails. February 16 through March 6. www.feteducitron.comwww.tourisme-menton.fr

The Mimosa Festival in Mandelieu-La Napoule focuses on the brilliant yellow flower native to Australia that flourished so well on the Côte d’Azur that a profession called mimosiste appeared—specialists in the cultivation and forcing of mimosa. The flower, exported from La Napoule to the north of France and to foreign countries, became an important part of the local economy, and the first Mimosa Festival honored the blossom in 1931. Today, twelve tons of local mimosa blooms adorn the festival’s floats and other decorations; there are daytime parades and illuminated night parades; a Mimosa Queen is elected, and there’s even a Route du Mimosa, an 80-mile itinerary from Bormes-les-Mimosas to Grasse, that winds through the region’s perfumed, mimosa-covered hills. February 15-24. www.ot-mandelieu.fr”

Personal Note:  I highly recommend seeing the Lemon Festival in Menton, which is amazingly done.  I have also seen portions of the Carnaval in Nice, which is a memorable, fun experience, as well.

(Source: France Today by Vivian Thomas)

(Photo source: Office de Tourisme de menton- N.Sartore/www.tourisme-menton.fr)

Unexpected “Wow” factor!

I suppose, in competing for tourists already in Nice for the annual Carnaval, the Fête du Citron in Menton is held during the same two week period. So, this year, we had our French friends from Montpellier visiting and decided to check out the competition. I knew there would be sculptures made from zillions of lemons and oranges, from seeing publicity photos – it didn’t seem that impressive and I was thinking: OK, seen one figure – seen them all. Wow, was I ever wrong!

We attended the lighted-gardens event in the evening, as this was highly recommended to me as the best one to do, : it was a fenced off park area, so you couldn’t see inside, until you entered through a curtained doorway, after which I stood frozen in awe!

The theme for this year was “Les Regions Françaises” (the Regions of France), and so, the first fruit sculpture was a huge champagne bottle with running water into a glass, lit with a variety of colored lights – it was mesmerizing!

There were stilt walkers, bands, and costumed employees wandering among the crowd, and at a certain pre-announced time, as a bonus attraction, sparklers were set off from the Eiffel Tower sculpture. There was a large crowd strolling around, but the hardest part was getting a clear photo shot – even in looking at these photos, they don’t really convey how beautiful the displays were – but when I look at them, I still think, “Wow!”


(Photos: copyright 24/7 in France)