I spent a few days at and around Menton last week and met some friends, more especially Jilly, the local fantastic blogger and person! The weather was not yet quite spring, except for one day, but we had some remarkable days.
Here is a first report about Menton, which I visited and posted about already last year together with other blogger friends – Nathalie, Richard and Chuckeroon ... and again of course Jilly. I sincerely hope to meet them all again down there in a couple of weeks.
Now, I’m once more leaving you for about a week, this time for a short trip to Sweden, but here is a first report on Menton. I will try to pre-program some other posts from the south to appear during my short absence. I will however again and unfortunately hardly be able to visit your blogs during my absence.
For some of my foreign visitors I thought it may be useful to do or repeat some geography.
So, one (too) early morning last week I took the train from Gare de Lyon (see previous post) to Menton.
The hotel was on the seafront.
The yearly “Lemon Festival” was just finishing, but there were still a lot of lemons and oranges on the trees.
... and although the spring is delayed also down here, at least the mimosas were in full bloom.
Here are some general photos of the little town, its narrow streets, its cemeteries on top of the hill, its covered market.
A great number of foreigners are buried in Menton, many came here during the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, often for health reasons, tuberculosis etc., but of course also because it was a pleasant place to stay, if you had the means. The railroad down to the French Riviera opened in the 1860’s and the number of large palace-like hotels built during the following decades is impressive.
A special remark can be done about the grave of William Webb Ellis, an English clergyman, who is considered (false or true) as the inventor of the rugby game, the predecessor to American football. The legend says that during a football (soccer) game at his school in Rugby in 1823 he caught the ball in his arms and ran with it, not quite in line with the rules. Whether the story is true or not, the rugby world has adopted the legend and the Rugby World Cup is referred to as the “Webb Ellis Trophy”. In addition to the statue of him, there is a plate, signed by the captains of the rugby teams participating in the 2007 world cup played in France.
Rue Longue (Long Street) follows the trace of the Roman Via Julia Augusta which linked Rome to its Gallic provinces. The street is bordered by a number of old buildings, many from the 16th century, like the one pictured here (from 1533), the still private mansion house “Hôtel Pretti”, where luckily the doors were exceptionally open making it possible to take a few shots of the entrance hall and stairs.
Jean Cocteau is very present in Menton; a small museum exists, a new one is under construction. These photos were taken at the marriage hall of the Town Hall, which he decorated 1957-58.