Magical Mimosa

Sometimes I don’t think I bang the drum enough about the fabulous area where I live. This week it’s half-term (for two weeks) and it’s time for the Carnival in Nice, the Citrus Festival in Menton and Mimosa celebrations the length of the coast. Mimosa (or wattle as I understand it’s called in Australia) is the vibrant sunshine yellow symbol of winter in the south of France and a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

The bright yellow flower of this scented plant grows prolifically in southern France, particularly in the Var region, where the Cote d’Azur and Provence meet. Between January and March, from Bormes-les-Mimosas to Grasse, eight villages offer a journey through the land of these gorgeous, scented, little, yellow flowers: artisan chocolate-makers and bakers, ‘corsos’ and other traditional festivals, greenhouses, garden centres, perfumers. This route provides 130km of magnificent countryside where the blue sea and sky mixes with the brilliant green and yellow of the Mimosa-covered hills.

With its roots in the Carnival, the Corso Fleuri are now a key part of Var festival traditions. On the Saturday, the floats are decorated with thousands of flowers, and on the Sunday, they are paraded through the streets of the village.

Part of the acacia family, Mimosa was originally found in tropical areas, and was imported to the French Riviera by the English during 19th century to decorate their gardens. The newly introduced plant loved the climate and the soil, and Mimosa growers proliferated. It’s now used exstensively in the perfume industry and, of course, in bouquets for its exquisite beauty and gorgeous vibrant colour. So where are the best spots to see Mimosa?

Bormes-les-Mimosa

One of the prettiest floral villages in France. This ancient town is home to 90 different species of mimosa and celebrates with an annual festival at the end of January. ‘Mimosalia’ is the first botanical event of the year. An event for plant-lovers, it brings together the biggest garden centre owners and collectors in France. There are over 80 exhibitors of rare and unusual varieties, decoration and garden furniture, as well as plant-related activities, such as workshops for all ages, visits to the Town gardens and exhibitions.

Mandelieu La Napoule

The principal area of Mimosa production on the Riviera is also famous for its annual Mimosa festival (19-26 Feb). Plus, local restauranteurs the Raimbault brothers created La Tarte Mimosée.

Grasse

Huge bunches of cut mimosa flowers in a shop near Grasse, Provence

Internationally famous for its place in the world’s perfume industry, the town boasts gorgeous architecture including a magnificent cathedral. The Perfume Museum shows the part Mimosa has played in the success of Grasse’s perfume industry.

Rayol Canadel

Take the staircase from the centre of the village down to the sea and enjoy the spectacular views over the mimosa forests.

Sainte-Maxime

Beautiful botanical gardens, an elegant seaside resort and a laid back vibe make this town well worth a visit.  Local chocolatier Jean-Louis Vaissaud (pictured above) has created mimosa-flavoured chocolates to honour the famous flower.

Saint-Raphael

The reddish coloured volcanic rock contrasts stunningly with the yellow Mimosa. Another famous local chocolate maker, Didier Carrie, has created a unique recipe called Le Mimosa d’Agay, a white truffle chocolate, flavoured with plant liquors and lemons, covered with mimosa powder.

Tanneron Massif

This crystalline rock mountain forms a link between the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes, and is almost entirely covered in Mimosa and eucalyptus forest. This is the largest area of Mimosa, with both cultivated and wild areas covering 200 hectares! A real riot of emerald green, azure blue and gold.

Mimosa flowers for sale, measured in weight on an old fashioned weighing machine, Provence

Keen gardeners will love this place which has the largest concentration of mimosa in the whole of France, forests of mimosa glow in winter. I confess I love riding around here solely because of the Mimosa.

Pégomas

Mimosa, olive trees and vines all grow here in abundance. But there’s also another edible, local speciality, La Mimosette, a cream-filled brioche from Pégomas, decorated with mimosa seeds which is only made during the Mimosa festival.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday #28

These photos were captured on my iPad mini while I was out and about in Dubai earlier this month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your helpful feedback and kind comments on these posts – most encouraging.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday is a challenge hosted by Irene encouraging us to scrutinise the smallest of details by getting up close and personal and bringing someone or something to life in a photograph. It’s a one day challenge without prompts.  Irene posts a Sunshine’s Macro Monday post each Monday, just after midnight Central Time (US) so don’t forget to use the tag SMM and mention Sunshine’s Macro Monday somewhere on your post, create a pingback or add a link in the comment’s section of her post.

20 Questions

Back in November, Mrs Suvi most kindly suggested I might like to take part in this challenge. And, you know me, I’m always up for a challenge. Don’t forget to check out Mrs Suvi’s blog, she’s a wife and mother of two from Finland who is into travel, eating out and Prosecco – I get that!.

Feel free to join in!

Your most memorable fancy dress costume?

I’m not, and never have been, into fancy dress. In fact the only time I can recall having to dress up was when I was 10 years old and on a cruise of the Med with my sisters and parents. My mother made us the outfits from crepe paper. I was a playing card and my younger sister was a roman candle. My youngest sister was too young to join in. Neither of us won.

Which social media platform do you use the most?

I dip in and out of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp, generally using all of them to keep up with family, friends and business contacts.

Favourite season

I love sunshine and warm weather, so it has to be summer. I love spending time outdoors after all those years being chained (not literally) to a desk in an office. The days are longer, you can eat outdoors and spend time on your bike in the Niçois hinterland away from traffic.

If you had to choose the beach or mountains, which would it be?

I love nothing better than walking along long sandy beaches and dipping my toes in the water. It’s harder to do here as many of the beaches, our own included, are stony. As you know, I’m not one to sunbathe on the beach for hours on end, I leave that to my two sisters! It’s the water I love, so calming.

What can you play very well?

Like most kids I learnt to play the descant recorder, and read music. That’s it. I much prefered to be outside playing sport and was a pretty good tennis and squash player in my youth. I played a lot of sport at school and university but not so much once I started work. Now I love nothing more than riding my bike.

What kind of cheese do you like?

I loved cheese ❤!! Yes, that use of the past tense is deliberate. I can sadly no longer tolerate dairy and while you can make non-dairy cheese nothing, but nothing, replicates a wonderful ooozing non-pasterised Brie de Meaux.

Life goal

This is the type of question you get asked in interviews and reviews. I always used to confound people when I said I wanted to do something I enjoyed! Now I appreciate that my idea of enjoyment is probably someone else’s headache. However, I loved successfully managing people, processes, projects and big budgets.

How many cities have you lived in?

I was born in the Midlands and our closest city was Birmingham. I went to university in Loughboro’ and lived in Leicester once my beloved and I married. A few years later we moved to London and 15 years ago we moved here to the Cote d’Azur, not far from Nice.

What language do you wish you could speak?

I speak English, French German and Italian. I can get by in Spanish but wish I spoke it better. I’d also love to speak Japanese.

What can’t you stand?

Where shall I start? Indifference, not treating people and animals with respect, people who dither………

If you have an hour to kill on your hands, what would you do?

Whip up something in the kitchen, catch up on my emails, do something on my blog, a spot of yoga, some washing and ironing, a bit of housework, water my plants………… There’s no end to the things I could do but generally it would depend on what needs doing.

Your favourite routine?

My morning ride which sets me up for the rest of the day. During the week it may not be for very long but, during the weekend, I try to ride for much longer. If the weather rules out riding, I’ll happily potter for hours in the kitchen batch cooking to restock my freezer.

When do you become hyperactive?

Most people would consider me permanently hyperactive, I leave many a younger person trailing in my wake.

Text message or phone call?

More probably a WhatsApp message.

Your most precious treasure.

I don’t treasure anything, just people. So my most precious would be my beloved husband.

Your latest foreign language mistake.

I’m sure I make mistakes daily with whichever language I’m using though I don’t know unless someone chooses to kindly correct me.

What’s the best therapy for you?

A bike ride.

If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?

Never really given this much thought and can’t think of anyone offhand.

Where would you like to travel?

Check out my bucket list, it’s still pretty relevant.

Where did you meet your spouse/partner?

We met at university, we were introduced by mutual frends. We started dating and married nine months later. That was over 40 years ago!