Visit to Musée national du Sport, Nice

To be honest, we’d long intended to visit this museum but, despite it being close to OGC Nice’s Allianz stadium, we never seemed to find the time to pop in. This was finally rectified last November, when we were invited by friends to attend the presentation of some new local bike races for elite and amateur athletes held at the museum. This afforded us the opportunity to wander around enjoying the exhibits pretty much on our lonesomes.

Naturally, I did my research beforehand not appreciating that it is the national sports museum. First established in Paris in 1922 by the French war minister – how appropriate! By the 1940s, the museum had fallen into disrepair and was re-established by the secretary of state for youth and sports in 1963. Architect Roger Taillibert created the galleries inside the Parc des Princes stadium in 1972. The museum was relocated to 93 Avenue de France (13th arrondissement) from 2008 to 2013, until its move to Nice on 27 June, 2014.

Today, the museum contains more than 100,000 items documenting different sports and sporting achievements from 16th century to the present day, including a fine collection on the history of the modern Olympic Games from 1896. The collections include sports equipment, paintings, sculptures, posters, drawings, stamps, advertising, books and magazines, plus interactive displays.

The museum has four permanent exhibition areas:-

1. Individual sports – where human limits have been pushed to the limit: swimming, cycling, athletics, skiing, horse riding, etc. featuring amazing and unique works such as: 1st speed record bike, outfits of great champions and examples of the first sports’ equipment (bikes, skis, kayak, etc …)

2. The one-on-one challenge – where athletes duel one another and only one can be declared the winner! This area features unique pieces such as Marcel Cerdan’s shorts and boxing gloves, equipment from great judokas, tennis players etc

3. The collective challenge – focuses on team sports and particularly showcases those years where France won the Football World Cup. There’s also a large collection of jerseys from famous athletes, not just French ones, such as Lionel Messi and Michael Jordan.

4. Finally, those challenges “Beyond Limits”   – bear witness to the most extraordinary of human exploits! Such as crossing the desert by bike, windsurfing across an ocean, or speed records in motor sports. This is where you can drive an F1 car at the Monaco Grand Prix using the on-site simulator.

Of course, there are also rotating temporary exhibitions. Coincidentally and very appropriately, at the time of our visit, the temporary exhibition was celebrating the centenary of the winner’s jersey, le maillot jaune, of the Tour de France.

The exhibition designed by the museum in collaboration with Amaury Sport Organization, organiser of the Tour de France, traced the jersey’s many adventures, including those where it was draped across the shoulders of the sports’ greatest champions and more modest riders.

The jersey’s first appearance was in 1919, the 13th edition of the Tour de France, and has long since become the Tour’s universal emblem. The exhibition reminded us that if the yellow jersey is synonymous with glory, it is also permeated with the sweat, and sometimes the tears, of a long succession of exploits, disillusions and even tragedies. From Eugène Christophe, the first to wear this badge of honour, to Eddy Merckx, absolute record holder who spent more than three months of his life in yellow.

More than 170 objects and numerous immersive and interactive devices (bicycle simulator, virtual reality headsets, holograms, family games, etc.) paid tribute to this legendary jersey which, since its creation, has made the rider stand out from the others in the peloton, weaving its magic and confering greatness.

If, like me, you’re a sports’ fan, this museum is well worth a visit! Of course, it’s best combined with a trip to watch my beloved OGC Nice.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday #47

You may have noticed I’m still using the photos of spring flora taken on my iPad mini while wandering around our private Domaine during lockdown.

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.

Authors’ Recognition Award I

This is my maiden Authors’ Recognition Award which was most kindly bestowed on me by author James A Best back in May. If you don’t aleady follow James, please head on over to his blog to read about his love of music and some of his excellent short stories. Unlike me, he is a published author.

Background

This Award was created by Beverley at Becoming the Oil and the Wine Blog to support fellow bloggers who have written and published books or who are in the process of writing a book. You are free to write as much as you’d like about your book and/or the reasons why you decided to write one.

Brief Description Of My Progress

There are lots of people in the blogosphere who have written or are in the process of writing books, but I’m not one of them. Nor do I have plans to write one. I have however edited two books for the same author which were interesting and fun experiences.

I first “met” the author Greig Leach when I interviewed him for VeloVoices about his cycling artwork. Greig liked how I’d edited his interview and asked if I’d do the same for his first book which was funded on Kickstarter. I was thrilled!

Book de Tour: Art of 101st Tour de France featured the 2014 Tour which started in the UK and was won by Italian Vincenzo Nibali. But my work didn’t end there, oh no! I had rashly promised to get copies personally autographed by the winner for Greig’s major backers. This did not go smoothly at all, despite my meticulous planning and preparation. Firstly we had postal and then logistical issues. But it all came good in the end. Plus, one copy of the book which had the autographs of many of the participants and jersey winners was auctionned for charity.

One of Richmond’s many Monuments

Our second collaboration covered the UCI World Road Race Championships held the following year in Greig’s home town of Richmond, Virginia. By now, we were both old hands and this went pretty much as planned. We had hoped to do something similar for the Giro d’Italia but there was little appetite and interest among Greig’s largely US-based audience. I still hope we might work together again.

Greig is a talented artist and you can view his artworks on his website which includes his paintings of major cycling races and his new found passion for stained glass.

Nominees For This Award

Have you recently published a book or are you thinking of writing one? If so, please consider yourself nominated and tell us all about your work. That aside, I’d like to nominate the following bloggers:-

1. Rachel MankowitzYeshiva Girl

2. Chika RavitchBento for Beginners and Sushi Cookbook for Beginners

3. ArundhatiThe Travelling Diary of a Dippy Dotty Girl

4. Lelah ChiniClimbing over Grit

Award Rules

1. Create a new post on your blog using the above logo or create one of your own.

2. Copy and paste the Purpose of the Award and The Rules of the Award on your post.

3. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.

4. Include the links to the creator of the Award and the inspirational post: Celebrating and Supporting our fellow writers.

5. Write a brief description of the books you have written or the book you are currently writing.

6. Include a link to your published books or the potential date of publishing.

7. Nominate at least five bloggers who have published a book or who are thinking about writing a book.

8. Support at least one of the bloggers you have nominated by either purchasing one of their books or sharing the links to their books.

9. If a nominee has not written a book share one of their blog posts.

Silent Sunday #24

I’m still selecting photographs from our many trips Down Under. This one is from 2019.

I’m not sure whether this is a kangaroo, wallaby or a wallaroo but they all used to freeze if you were close by. This one’s clearly hoping to merge with the tree stump behind. We were advised by the rangers at Wolgan Valley NOT to look the animals in the eye as they might think we were predators. As soon as we’d passed, they went back to grazing the grass.

The Musette: courgette fritters

I’ve made courgette fritters for years, initially using a recipe from that domestic goddess Nigella Lawson. However, I’ve shifted to making them less dairy laden and more acceptable to a wider range of regimes.

The word fritter usually conjures up something deep-fried, fat-laden, and overall heavy but these easy courgette (zucchini) fritters are testament that lighter ones are possible. Grated courgette joins forces with onion, flour, eggs, and grated Parmesan cheese to make low calorie, delicious little green pancakes that can be a light vegetarian meal, meze or side dish to a Mediterranean-style meal.

Fritters should be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. If there’s one thing I loathe it’s soggy fritters, they are a big no-no. The only way to avoid sogginess is to wring out the excess liquid from the courgettes.  Grate, salt, leave in the colander for 10 minutes, then wring out. I know this can be a painful process but there’s really no way around it. In addition to removing the excess water, I like to add a tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese to the batter. It both amps up the umami flavor and increases the crisp factor. I also like to use baking powder, which I believe helps enormously in making lighter fritters. You can leave it out, but do try it, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes.

Ingredients (Makes about 12 small or 6 medium fritters)

  • 2 medium courgettes (or 4 small), coarsely grated
  • 11/2 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten or 1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp water
  • ½ cup all purpose flour (or GF flour or almond flour)
  • 1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil or mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 fat clove confit garlic (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Place grated courgette (zucchini) in a colander, add 1 teaspoon of salt, toss and set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Wrap grated courgettes in a clean dish towel/kitchen paper/cheesecloth, squeezing and wringing all the moisture you can out of them. This step helps the fritters brown better, even when using less oil. It also keeps them from turning soggy and falling apart in the pan.

3. Place squeezed courgette in a bowl and add all the other ingredients, including remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and ground black pepper. Mix until well combined. The batter should be dropping consistency.

3. Heat two tablespoons of olive in a frying pan (skillet) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop two scant tablespoons of zucchini mixture onto the pan, press them flat with the help of a spatula and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.

4. Make only a few fritters at a time, do not crown the pan, so that the oil temperature doesn’t drop. Drain briefly on paper towels to soak up any excess grease and keep warm.

5. Serve with Greek yogurt, plant-based yoghurt or sour cream, and sprinkle with finely chopped scallions if you like. We eat them with my chilli and tomato jam.

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1. You can, of course, make fritters from a variety of vegetables. Experiment to your heart’s content once you’ve mastered the basics.

2. Feel free to add a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs. I like freshly chopped basil or mint and lemon zest with courgettes but parsley would work too with maybe some chopped capers.

3. You need a batter that’s of dropping consistencey. If it’s too wet add a bit more flour. If it’s too dry add some water a teaspoon at a time.

4. I rarely use raw garlic as it’s too strong a flavour. I always keep a jar of confit garlic (home-made) in the fridge for use in my cooking.

 

Sculpture Saturday #14

This bronze statue in the park near the NSW Art Gallery in Sydney commemorates Scotland`s most famous poet Robert Burns (1759 – 1796). Inaugurated in 1905 by the State Governor in honour of the origins of many Australians. The statue and its plinth was cast in statuary bronze by Mr. A. Burton, bronze founder, of Thames Ditton, Surrey. Burns is represented leaning upon a plough left standing in a furrow. He is wearing his Kilmarnock bonnet and rig, as seen in Naismith’s portrait of him.

If you want to join in this challenge hosted by the Mind over Memory blogger:-

  • Share a photo of a sculpture
  • Link to the Mind over Memory’s post for Saturday Sculpture

Go on, give it a go, you know you want to!

One from the vaults: Stay calm, count to five and exhale

We’re heading back to 2016 today where I discuss my beloved’s ability (or lack thereof) to buy great presents.

Just over three years ago, my beloved bought me an iPad mini. I was sceptical at first but it’s become an indispensable part of my life. It goes everywhere with me. It’s the first thing I reach for when waking up and the last thing I look at before going to sleep. Just in case you’re starting to feel sorry for me, please remember my beloved travels a lot so I’m often home alone.

This morning the screen froze while I was reading a newspaper online. I rebooted but it just returned to the frozen screen. Initially panic set in as I thought this might mean a trip to my local Apple Store where I knew I would encounter lots of indifferent Gallic shrugs, little assistance and be advised there were no appointments for the next three weeks. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt! Instead, I googled the problem and found plenty of advice to help me through the few steps needed to resolve the issue – phew! Crisis averted.

It’s amazing how dependent we become on these devices. I can honestly say it’s the best present he’s ever bought me. Regular readers will know he’s not a giver of great presents so, much to his relief, I have banned him from buying me any. Indeed, my blood runs cold when he utters the words “I’ve bought you a little something!” That’s because we’ve been together for over 40 years and I can count on the fingers of one hand all the really great things he’s bought me.

Yes, I know I sound ungrateful, but I hate to waste money. You have to understand that my beloved gives very little thought to the actual purchase and is far more likely to buy something he’d like. Also, purchases tend to take place in airport duty-free while he’s rushing to catch a plane – not necessarily a conducive environment.

Unfortunately, my beloved has a hard act to follow. My late father was a purchaser of great gifts par excellence. He would spend hours trying to find the right coloured scarf to go with an outfit, or handbag or a piece of jewellery to delight or a beautiful handkerchief. Gifts don’t have to be expensive but they do need some careful thought as to what would please the receiver. He’d buy things throughout the year for little surprises, birthdays and Christmas, never once disappointing any of his four girls. My beloved is never going to assail those dizzy heights.

Indeed, my beloved will only go shopping if we’re going to buy him something. I generally don’t allow him to shop on his own, he’s very susceptible to the charm of the shop assistants and I’ve long suspected he’s colour blind. His distressed purchases, when an airline misplaces his baggage, bear witness to this.

But I digress. Usually, if  I entrust him to buy something from the airport, I specify what he should buy. I find it’s much safer that way. He was recently entrusted by a group of businessmen with purchasing gifts for the two Chinese ladies who’d accompanied them on a recent trip to China. Needless to say, I helped him choose the gifts otherwise I dread to think what they would have received! I also keep a stock of gifts suitable to give to clients, particularly those in the Middle and Far East, where an exchange of gifts is typical.

My favourite gifts to give and receive are consumables. French goodies go down very well while I’ve recently, and gratefully, received white tea, imperial rice and a selection of Indian spices. I’m still using up all the liquid and alcoholic gifts my beloved has received over the years, most of which end up in my cooking. I suspect we may never exhaust all of them. Likewise, our local charity shop has been the “lucky” recipient of many of our unwanted gifts. How many daggers mounted in picture frames does a girl need – none!

My last employer had a catalogue of corporate gifts, the Swiss Army knife being a particular and always welcome gift. I recall giving the all-singing, all-dancing version as a birthday present to a senior executive with whom I was negotiating to acquire a plot of land for the company. My birthday was later that month and he reciprocated with a wholly unsuitable gift – Blonde perfume and matching body lotion by Gianni Versace. I opened the gift at a table surrounded by our respective advisors and you could hear a pin drop when I revealed what was inside. I think I murmured “How thoughtful”  while appreciating my beloved wasn’t alone in buying unsuitable gifts!

Friday Photo Challenge – summer traditions

I’m much enjoying these weekly challenges hosted on alternate weeks by either Amanda or Sandy because they force me to think about what’s in my photo archives and how I might re-use them.

Summer traditions on the Cote d’Azur? I’m thinking Festival of Music, Bastille Day Fireworks Display, evenings down the beach, Nice Jazz Festival, Tour de France……..do I have any photos of these in my archives?

An evening at the beach

A few pyrotechnics

A selection from our local 2019 Festival of Music.

And, of course, some from Tours past.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not join in the fun?

Friendly Friday

Thursday doors #73

Finally, I’ve been out and about photographing some “new” doors. These are from Eze village which had plenty of splendid doors, enough for a few weeks’ posts.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins

In yesterday’s post about our recent trip to Mougins, I wrote we couldn’t recall the last time we’d visited. We frequently ride past the village, but it was only once I’d looked into the “newish” museum, the Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins (MACM), and discovered it opened in June 2011, I realised it was over 10 years since our last trip there!

MACM displays a private collection of around seven hundred two-thousand-year-old Roman, Greek and Egyptian antiquities which are shown alongside a collection of modern and contemporary art with a classical subject matter. Artists with classical works in the museum include Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Degas, Dalí, Dufy, Chagall, Derain, Lautrec, Yves Klein, Damien Hirst, Marc Quinn, Antony Gormley, Arman. As you know, from some of my other posts, many of these have a strong connection with the French Riviera. This museum marked an historic first in displaying ancient antiquities alongside modern artworks affording visitors the opportunity to observe the influence of the classics in the artists’ work.

This stunning museum was established (and funded) by Christian Levett (a British hedge-fund manager and self­confessed compulsive collector) together with museum director Mark Merrony, (editor of the archaeological journal Minerva, now also owned by Levett). The contents of the museum reflect, naturally enough, the tastes of its owner, yet they are also a singularly appropriate range for the place and times. Classical and Egyptian antiquities have been one of the prime inspiration of European arts for centuries, down to Picasso and beyond.

Levett has strong connections with Mougins, where he owns two of its most famous restaurants, La Place des Mougins and L’Amandier, both under the direction of chef Denis Fétisson (previously of the Michelin two-star Le Cheval Blanc in Courchevel). No doubt too he owns some spectacular property porn close by the village.

Among its many busts and statues the MACM collection initially included the Cobham Hall Hadrian, bought at Christie’s for US$900,000 in 2008, but this was recent sold to fund further acquisitions. In addition, there are vases, glassware, jewellery and coins, and an array described as the world’s largest private collection of ancient armour.

Almost all of the collection is on show, packed into a plain medieval townhouse refurbished by the locally based architect David Price. The exhibits are lit against a dark background, and closely spaced, with ranks of busts confronting visitors as they enter. As the glass lift and stairs take up a quarter of the total floor area, they too are used as exhibition spaces. Displays are lightly themed, the Egyptian objects arranged in a tomb-like basement called the Crypt. The modern works are dotted about the ancient objects to create striking contrasts and parallels.

The interior of the museum, in contrast with the rugged stone exterior, is pristine-like. Of course, a personal collection made into a museum is a recurring theme in major western cities – the Isabella Stewart Gardner in Boston, the Frick in New York, the Soane and the Wallace Collection in London. This is not on the same level, nor does it pretend to be, but it still has the appeal of a private hoard made public.

The MACM is yet another addition to the the Côte d’Azur art trail, where artists’ discovery of the delights of the region has been honoured with permanent structures. Where once Parisian painters and sculptors might have happened on a place as a spot for a weekend trip, or to rent a cheap studio for a few months, now there are museums and monuments. In Cagnes sur Mer there is Renoir’s house and museum. In, Antibes there is the Picasso museum. In Vence you’ll find Matisse’s Rosaire chapel. Further afield, on the edge of Nice, are museums dedicated to Chagall and Matisse. In Mougins itself, arranged in a vertical series of rooms, is a small photography museum, centred on a series of portraits of Picasso. My favourite is probably the Fondation Maeght at Saint-Paul de Vence, with its collection of sculptures and paintings by artists including Calder, Miro, Chagall and, especially, Giacometti.

So, if like me you’re an art-lover, this is another must-see exhibition.