Menton and Valbonne

Heading for Menton
Villefranche-sur-Mer, just east of Nice

From Nice the bus took us along the coastal highway, so we got several views of the seaside. Bypassing Cannes and Monaco, we arrived at the city of Menton, which is on the Italian border, right on the ocean. Our hotel, the Napoleon, overlooked the pedestrian esplanade, a beach and a marina. The link gives a live video feed from the hotel!

Hotel Napoleon, Menton
We were in room 107, with a nice balcony
Hotel Napoleon, Menton
Here is a view from the front of the hotel.

Our concert was in Valbonne, about an hour’s drive to the west. We were delayed because our bus got into a difficult spot in Monaco while sightseeing. Teams of police officers assisted in stopping other traffic so that the bus could get back to the main road; however, numerous planned stops and events had to be eliminated so that we could get to the concert venue on time.

Stage at Valbonne
Our concert stage

The concert was at Centre International de Valbonne, a modern private boarding school with extensive grounds that today offers programs customized for over 2000 students from several different countries. At the time, it appeared the students were on break. Once again, we sang with a local chorus, followed by an abundant buffet given by the hosting singers, many of whom spoke with us either in French or English.

That was the end of the singing tour. However, my wife and I did not go home. Instead, we boarded a train at the station near the hotel and headed for Monaco, where we had reserved a rental car. Shortly after the train started, I took this picture of a tower beside the tracks. I since learned that it is part of a property called the Fontana Rosa. It is the former home of the “Spanish writer Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (1869-1928),” now owned by the City of Menton. Its gardens can be visited but infrequently, by guided tour only. However, one couple has posted a story with pictures about their walking through an unattended gate.  Follow the link for the story of this misadventure and some great pictures of the gardens. Once again it appears that we did not have enough time to explore the city where we stayed. Alas, this is an unavoidable consequence of traveling. One cannot “see everything” without living there for a while.

Menton
A Tower of the Fontana Rosa, viewed from the train leaving Menton

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