Menton is a small village on the eastern end of the French Riviera with a reputation for its gardens.
Kelly and Pete met a man at church last month who told them he lived in Menton and could walk down the hill from his house and have espresso in Italy.
While in Paris, we visited the temporary exhibit at the Institut du Monde Arabe that introduced us to Les Jardin Essaiye, the experimental gardens of the Côte d'Azur where succulents, cacti and other exotic plants were originally imported to determine their uses in French botanical gardens.
So, with a free week ahead of us and school behind us, Camille researched the gardens of Menton and we planned a day trip.
There are several private gardens, some public, all open to the public only on certain days at certain times. Monday is a good day to visit with two of the most popular gardens open, Fontana Rosa in the morning and Val Rahmeh in the afternoon. A little more research told us that of the two train stations in Menton, Menton-Garavan on the eastern side is closest to the "Garden District".
How much more of a Riviera experience could we have asked for?
The final stop on the tour was the little temple like structure with a bust of Cervantes in the middle of the small pond. We were delighted to see that the majolica behind the bust told the story "de la Mancha" and, with the Spanish teacher, we picked out Don Quixote, Sancho Panza and she talked about Dulcinea...I couldn't find any moulins(windmills) and she quickly pointed..."la...et la...et la.."
|Majolica tiles that told the story of Don Quixote. |
The black was only introduced into the tiles during
the Art Nouveau period(early 1900s).
|I liked how the tile columns mimic tree trunks|
adding color and whimsy to the natural space.
|A view of Menton from the beach.|
The time and energy spent to create this garden are impressive. These gardens are a celebration of nature and its creations while also using man's creativity to build garden rooms and inspiring spaces.