Cee’s Flower of the Day #118

Enjoy showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Cee’s Flower of the Day #117

Let’s enjoy showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Thursday doors #120

Here’s a bit of a pic n’ mix from my archives

Looking for Lavender

As the Tour de France peloton rides adjacent to Provence’s famed fields of lavender, I thought I’d explore the French and Italian Riviera’s lavender heritage, when and where to see lavender in bloom, plus where to buy lavender-based products.

lavender-france

Think of lavender and your mind inevitably goes towards the South of France. While the areas around Valensole and Sault concentrate most of the lavender production in Provence, the Riviera also has a strong tradition of cultivating this aromatic flower.

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The city of Grasse, located about 20km inland from Cannes, was for centuries the centre of Europe’s perfume industry. Even today, its perfumeries are thriving, and the cultivation of lavender and other flowers continues to be a significant activity in the surrounding areas.

Gourdon
Gourdon

The small village of Gourdon, a steep climb 15km north of Grasse, is the gateway to the plateau de Caussols, a vast area of limestone and shrub sitting 1,450m above sea level. These are perfect conditions for growing good-quality lavender, which requires porous soil, high altitude and plenty of sunshine. Some lavender farms can be visited just outside Gourdon, and the village itself has numerous perfume and soap makers.

Even outside lavender season, there are plenty of reasons to visit the town. The views from the village across the Loup valley are stunning. There is also a splendid chateau (not currently open to the public due to restoration works) with terraced gardens designed by none other that André le Nôtre, the famous head gardener of the Palace of Versailles.

Sanremo Guide | Martha's Italy

Flower cultivation is equally important on the Italian side of the Riviera. The hills around Sanremo, Bordighera and Ventimiglia have so many greenhouses for flower cultivation that the area is dubbed the “Riviera dei Fiori” (Riviera of the flowers). To find lavender, however, you have to go high up the valleys to places like Seborga, a small town which has lavender as its symbol. Every summer they hold a lively festival celebrating lavender-scented products including the famous lavender-flavoured biscotti made in nearby Vallecrosia.

Further east, in the valley Argentina, the hamlet of Agaggio Inferiore (just outside Molini di Triora) is home to the famous Cugge distillery, where you can find artisanal skincare and essential oils for aromatherapy. You can also explore the town of Carpasio, which even has a small museum dedicated to lavender cultivation and distilling.

Lavender festival in Bulgaria: purple fields, folklore music and dances

To really witness how important lavender is to the culture of the Italian Riviera, visit the city of Taggia on the 22 July, the feast day of Mary Magdalene. In the late afternoon, the confraternities of the town will be coming back from a 24-hour pilgrimage to a remote chapel in the hills behind Taggia. Legend has it that the chapel was the location where Mary Magdalene spent the night on her journey from the Holy Land to Provence (she is said to have lived and died in Provence). In order to prove that they succeeded in reaching their destination, the confraternities of Taggia enter the city on horseback carrying lavender…… tons and tons of lavender bouquets, which they then toss in the air as a gift for the cheering crowds. This is truly one of the most colourful and beautiful festivals in the whole of Liguria, and one that shows the strong connection between Provençal and Genoese traditions which make the Riviera such a fascinating region.

If you want to see lavender fields in bloom, the season on the Riviera and in the rest of Provence normally runs from mid-June till the end of July. Festivals tend to be held immediately after harvest, ie from the end of July until mid-August.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #116

Have fun showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Wordless Wednesday #89

Another photo from our 2016 #adventuredownunder, here’s hoping we’ll shortly be able to visit once again.

The House where celebrities…….

The recently published tome Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc: A Timeless Legend on the French Riviera explores the world’s most famous and photographed hotel’s 150-year history. This is a magnificent property which I cycle past on a regular basis. While I’ve never stayed here, I have drunk [very expensive] coffee in its lounge. This week sees the reprise of the Cannes Film Festival and, if I were a celebrity, I’d be happy to shelter here, wouldn’t you?

How it all began

Situated half way between Antibes and Juan les Pins, the Cap d’Antibes is a pine-clad promontory scattered with magnificent Belle Epoque villas. Many of these grandiose properties were built by visiting gentry who became captivated by this special corner of France in mid-19th century. One such visitor – Hippolyte de Villemessant – the founder of French newspaper Le Figaro from Paris, built the mansion now known as the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in 1869, allegedly for writers seeking inspiration – what better place to find it! Dashing Russian aristocrats Paul de Fersen, and then Alexis de Plestcheyeff, eventually brought his idea to life in 1870.

Standing majestically in more than 22 acres of sumptuous parkland, the hotel is barely visible to passers-by on the road which winds around this idyllic peninsula in the South of France. But such is its reputation as the place to stay for the rich and famous when they attend prestigious events like the Cannes Film Festival or holiday in this glorious part of the world that everyone is aware that it is there.

In 1887, Antoine Sella, a young hotelier from Piedmont (Italy) came to Cap d’Antibes and discovered the original Villa Soleil in a state of abandon. Equipped with vision and an extraordinary talent for hospitality, Sella bought the hotel, renovated it and reopened it in 1889 as Grand Hotel du Cap, a destination that immediately attracted a distinguished clientele from across Europe and the United States.

Sella’s ambitious plans came to a halt when the war broke out. The hotel was requisitioned and used as a hospital. However, even harsh times can be fruitful. While observing off-duty nurses at the hotel, Antoine Sella noticed how on warm summer days they cooled themselves off in the Mediterranean. Sella had an idea: The Grand Hotel du Cap should henceforth have a sea water swimming pool. The swimming pool might have been a simple enough idea, but it turned Antoine Sella into a pioneer of the summer season on the Côte d’Azur. Antoine Sella passed the hotel on to his son André in 1928, a few years before his death in 1931.

Gerald and Sara Murphy, a young American couple who had been expatriated to France in the 1920s, once rented the hotel for an entire summer, a unique event for the era as the French Riviera was not a summer destination at the time, but a winter escape for the wealthy. Ironically, the Hotel is typically closed for part of the year October through to April.

With the Murphys came many writers and artists such as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Fitzgerald immortalized it as the Hôtel des Etrangers in Tender Is the Night. Marc Chagall made sketches in one of the shady beachside cabanas after their construction in the 1960s.The Kennedy family summered here in 1938 when John F. Kennedy was 21 years old. Guests have included Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Winston Churchill and Charles De Gaulle. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton conducted an affair and honeymooned there. The hotel has traditionally been a particular favourite of film stars, especially during the Cannes Film Festival.

Of course, like every great hotel, Cap-Eden-Roc has seen its share of scandal — including accusations of embezzlement that still swirl around the former GM, Jean-Claude Irondelle, now 85, who continues to battle charges that he siphoned a million dollars in cash from the till — you could only pay by cash up until 2005. There’s a reason Fitzgerald’s contemporary W. Somerset Maugham described the French Riviera as a “sunny place for shady people.”

Still, even the mischief conducted at du Cap is garbed in the sort of glamour one associates with a Cary Grant movie. In 2007, producer Graham King returned to his villa one evening to interrupt four burglars, all dressed in identical To Catch a Thief-style black outfits. Marvin Davis was robbed, in 1993, of US$10 million in cash and jewels at gunpoint in his limo while being driven up the winding roads leading to the hotel in an incident more reminiscent of a Brian De Palma film. And Kate Moss, in 1998, got banned from the du Cap after trashing her room in a tantrum out of a Faye Dunaway movie, because she’d been told she couldn’t wear a bikini in the hotel’s hallways.

In 1969, the Grand Hotel du Cap was bought by Rudolf August Oetker who shared the same values and the same corporate vision as Antoine Sella and his son, André Sella. A major renovation equipped the hotel with all the comforts of modern facilities and in 1987 the hotel became the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Its history brings a sense of glamour to the establishment that visitors continue to cherish.

Today, the name still evokes something, especially for first-time visitors. It’s a luxury hotel that has welcomed celebrities. It’s a place of endless fascination and prestige.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is part of Oetker Collection, an exceptional portfolio of fabulous hotels, estates and villas – some of the most enchanting places around the world. Hotels, each with their own identity, including Le Bristol Paris, Brenners Park Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Château Saint-Martin & Spa in Vence, The Lanesborough in London, L’Apogée in Courchevel, The Eden Rock in St Barths, The Woodward in Geneva, Jumby Bay Island in Antigua and Palácio Tangará in Sao Paulo, and more than 150 private villas and estates around the globe.

Whoever said it’s not the destination, but the journey that counts never checked in to the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc because the 1870 Belle Époque gem still fizzes with je ne sais quoi.

Put simply, this hotel is the stuff of legend.

Actor Kirk Douglas waterskiing in front of the hotel, in 1969

Cee’s Flower of the Day #115

What fun showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers

Musical Monday: Raise Vibration

I pretty consistently wake up feeling enthusiastic and ready to conquer the day, which means my vibrations are soaring high. On the other hand, if you’re feeling bored, stuck, and generally blasé, then chances are your vibrations are low and maybe this song will do the trick.

Raise Vibration is the sixth single from Lenny Kravitz’s 11th studio album (issued 09/18) of the same name which was released on his label Roxie Records via BMG Rights Management.

In interview Kravitz claimed that he struggled with serious writer’s block while trying to focus on this socially-conscious album, containing 12 tracks addressing multiple issues plaguing the world. As on most of his other albums, Kravitz plays almost all of the instruments himself. The album was recorded in Eleuthera island, Bahamas, in Kravitz’s studio.

Kravitz teamed up with renowned photographer and director Mark Seliger in The Bahamas, surrounded by natural splendour, the video intercuts footage of Kravitz rising from the ocean, singing atop a cliff, and ripping on a Gibson Les Paul as waves crash, water splashes, and the sun sets. A fire rages as tribal drums resound for the grand finale. It culminates with the message:

We can join together and through love we’ll get it done. We’ve got to raise vibration.

Kravitz commented that this song is very special to him. It’s all about hope, banding together and remaining fearless in the pursuit of passion and purpose. Kravitz and the video director particularly wanted to celebrate the beauty of the Bahamas in the video and try to capture the spirit of inspiration synonymous with the islands.

Kravitz has hunkered down in the Bahamas recording new music – for release very soon – since the onset of the Global Pandemic, no doubt continuing to draw inspiration from his surroundings.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #114

What fun showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Challenge rules, why not join in?

1.Feel free to post every day or whenever you you feel like it.  You can either post new flower photos or dig back into your archives.

2. Depending on the time of year, you can post any of these types of things for your FOTD.

  • Single flowers
  • Buds
  • Multiple flowers
  • Bouquet
  • Flower fields
  • Wildflowers
  • Tree or bush blossoms
  • Autumn leaves
  • Spring leaves
  • Decorative Cabbage
  • Berries
  • Still life
  • Fake or Silk Flowers