Cee’s Flower of the Day #70

This is such an enjoyable exercise, showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

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

The House where James lived…….

As you know I love trawling through property porn magazines and this property, previously owned by Sean Connery aka the James Bond, caught my eye. The six-bedroom, five-floor seafront mansion is on the market for €30 million (£27 million, $34 million).

Even though all of Nice is a tribute to the Belle Epoque, featuring homes that symbolise the golden age of the Côte d’Azur, Villa Le Roc Fleuri is truly one of the city’s most mythical. The facades of these Côte d’Azur villas, châteaux, and palaces, such as the Negresco, the region’s equivalent of the Eiffel Tower, are decorated like wedding cakes. Their glimmering reception halls bear witness to the intense lifestyle and carefree ways of the British, American, Russian, Italian and French aristocracy for whom they were built with great extravagance between the start of 20th century and the Belle Epoque era.

Villa Le Roc Fleuri

Built in 1928, Villa Le Roc Fleuri sits on top of the Cap de Nice overlooking the Port de Nice and Baie des Anges. Sean Connery, famous for bringing 007 to life, bought the rock-side mansion with his second wife, the painter Michelle Roquebrune, living there throughout the 1970s and 80s.

In 1983, it was even the set of some scenes in Never Say Never Again, Connery’s last film as James Bond.

The villa’s luxury features

The property boasts 1000m2 (10,000 sq ft) of living space, with a further 5000m2 (50,000 sq ft)  of newly renovated terraced gardens running down to the sea. Two guest houses, one of which is currently used as a studio, are located on the grounds.

With an indoor infinity pool, outdoor saltwater swimming pool as well as a spa and gym, it truly is the house in which you would expect to see James Bond drinking a martini – shaken, not stirred. Although the property has since changed hands, neighbours still call it “Sean Connery’s house”.

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The saltwater outdoor pool of Villa Le Roc Fleuri © Knight Frank
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The infinity pool at Villa Le Roc Fleuri © Knight Frank

Stone steps lead you into a covered outdoor reception area, with mosaic tiling at the front door and in the grand reception and entrance hall. The floor-to-ceiling windows show off the mesmerising views of the the Riviera’s coastline.

The master bedroom, which has two bathrooms, comprises the mansion’s entire top floor and is accessible by a private cage elevator, decorated in wrought iron flowers. Four other bedrooms span across the mansion’s six floors, three of which include a walk-in wardrobe and dressing room.

The style is resolutely retro, with decor incorporating Art Deco elements with natural materials from the region.

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The art deco interiors and wrought iron staircases and cage elevators of the Villa © Knight Frank

Adjoining the main villa is a two-car garage with a self-contained staff apartment above. With automatic gates set into stone towers, the villa is very private despite its main position on Cap de Nice.

A unique Bond-esque dream

Describing it as “one of a kind,” Knight Frank suggests the property possesses an almost literary quality.

There’s definitely some Bondness to it. Even some Gatsby. There’s nothing like it and very few properties anywhere with this style, this size, with as large a garden as this or the space.

Once you’ve visited, you can easily imagine yourself standing in the long drive when friends come by, greeting them with a bottle of champagne in your hand like Mr. Gatsby or a Martini like Mr Bond.

Now, where did I put my cheque book?

Cee’s Flower of the Day #69

This is such a lovely exercise, showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

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 #80

2021’s  Wordless Wednesday is going to feature photos from my trips to Australia. Here’s one from 2019’s #adventuredownunder. Goodness knows when I’ll be able to add to these. I’m kinda hoping to visit again in 2022-23.

Things about France that surprised me: love of Nutella

I’ve already discussed the surpising French love of le hamburger and pizza. This week I’m sticking with the (Easter) chocolate theme and (frankly) milking it for all it’s worth!

What REALLY goes into a jar of Nutella | Daily Mail Online

Surprisingly there’s nothing France loves more than Nutella – at least according to a 2020 review of the most-sold groceries in French shops (apart from wine). It was not only the most sold product – the brand dominated half of the top 10 rankings. Claiming the top spot, the Nutella 1kg (2lb) pot generated €40 million worth of sales in 2020. The 1kg chocolate pot was so popular that it outranked butter, black coffee and toilet paper.

Fifth was the 975g pot of Nutella, with turnover of €31 million, followed closely by Nutella 750g (€30 million and Nutella 400g (also €30 million). Then in 10th spot Nutella biscuits, the only non-pot version of the brand on the list. The study presumably didn’t even take account of sales of supermarket own-brands or organic versions of the ubiquitous chocolate spread.

Allegedly, the French eat 26% of the world consumption of Nutella equivalent to about 75,000 tons per annum!

Quelle surprise! Nutella is not even a French product. This brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread is manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero – yes, they of the sickly Ferrero Rocher choclates –  and was first introduced in 1964. It’s so popular in France that it has its own manaufacturing capability in Villers-Écalles.

France’s longstanding love affair with the chocolate spread Nutella is a faithful kind that begins, for many, at childhood and lasts for life. French children smear the hazelnut paste onto their bread in the morning, some dip the tartine in a bowl of chocolate milk. Adults might lay off the topping during the week, but few can resist that occasional tartine de nutella. And let’s not forget the absolute classic: crèpes de Nutella. French people eat it by the spoonful to connect with their inner child.

You might remember that back in 2018, a 70% discount on Nutella at the Intermarché supermarket chain turned into a ‘riot’, with customers jostling and battling each other to get their hands on the pots.

And even though in reality it was more like a feeding frenzy than a riot, France’s passion is in no doubt.

Would there have been the same reaction to jars of pickles, such as cornichons? Certainly not! Nutella is pure pleasure for children and to offer it at a bargain price obviously attracts lots of customers. Still, although it may seem bizarre to many, it’s nice to know the French can still surprise us from time to time.

Let’s leave the final word on the subject to French President Emmanuel Macron:

Cee’s Flower of the Day #68

This is such a fun challenge, showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

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

Sunshine’s Macro Monday #84

I’ve been out and about again with my trusty iPhone6 snapping away at the local flora in the Domaine’s gardens.

Sunshine’s Macro Monday Challenge is hosted by Irene a formidable photographer who encourages 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. Feel free to join in and brighten everyone’s Monday.

Cee’s Flower of the Day #67

This is such an enjoyable challenge, showcasing beautiful flora – flowers, shrubs, trees, bushes and leaves – throughout the year.

Cee’s challenge is all about bringing a little beauty and colour into our daily lives. Who wouldn’t be in favour of that?

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

French fancies: Confiserie Florian

Today I’m looking once more at one of our well-known and well-loved local companies, Confiserie Florian, which is celebrating its centenary, the French Riviera’s ultimate sweet tooth paradise, run by the 4th generation of the Fuchs family.  To some of you that name will be familiar………..

The story starts in 1921 with the opening of the company’s chocolate factory in the Old Port of Nice where one Henri Matisse was a regular customer.

In 1949, the family created “Confiserie des Gorges du Loup” on the Pont-du-Loup site (a former flour mill turned Fragonard perfume factory) which sits in a breathtaking setting along the banks of the Loup river, in the lower hills of Grasse’s beautiful hinterland. This was at the initiative of Georges Fuchs, son of Eugène, visionary and great traveler, who bought the copper jam vats and terrines in terracotta from the famous local (and now defunct) Confiserie Nègre. This enabled the family to branch out into candied fruits and jams.

Panier gourmand "La Violette dans tous ses états"

Situated just a stone’s throw from France’s violet-producing capital Tourrettes sur Loup, visitors are welcome to see where mounds of bitter oranges, lemons and bergamot, plucked from the nearby citrus groves, are sliced, pressed and dipped in chocolate.

Tranches d'orange confite chocolatées - Boite de 8 pièces

The family-owned Florian also specialises in confections made from flowers, grown in the same fields near Grasse that serve the perfume industry. The company’s floral goodies range from a violet-flavored pastis aperitif to rose-olive paste for hors d’oeuvres. Then there’s violet jam which is delicious with pan-fried foie gras, and the newest taste treats of fresh rose or violet tagliatelle. Dessert ideas abound, from crystallized rose-petal shortbread cakes – made with the same May roses that go into Chanel N° 5 – to jasmine and verbena-filled chocolates, along with delicate flower liqueurs..

At its HQ, Florian also offers cooking classes at the Atelier de la Cuisine des Fleurs, where imaginative chef Yves Terrillon teaches budding cooks the culinary secrets of begonia (crunchy and fruity), pansies (velvety and nutty), and nasturtiums (a peppery radish taste) as well as roses, jasmine, violets and saffron.

The quality of the company’s products was honoured in 1972 when the company received the Coupe d’Or du Bon Goût Français, (the Gold Cup of French Good Taste). Just two years later, it re-opened the former Florian chocolate factory as a Confiserie du Vieux Nice, a branch of the parent company in Pont-du-Loup.

Panier gourmand " La Rose dans tous ses états"

The company continued to expand its range of products with the creation of Califleurs®, Aix calissons with pink or purple icing, Mielôfleurs®, acacia honey with bursts of roses or crystallized violets, and rose nougat with crystallized violet.

In 2014 it received the Award of the Epicures de L’Epicerie Fine Silver Prize, awarded by a jury of journalists, restaurateurs and fine grocers, for its Rose Petals Confit, noted for its unusual and daring packaging.

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In October 2019, Sandrine Fuchs-Wyler, Confiserie Florian’s managing director, received an Ordre National du Mérite Agricole knighthood. She and her brother, Frédéric Fuchs, are the fourth generation to run the famous Riviera confectionary started by their great-grandfather in 1921.

Confiserie Florian, les Lauriers de la Gourmandise

For a century the family has kept tradition alive, taking it forward over the decades.
The Fuchs great-grandchildren’s respective contributions to the family business are different but complementary. Frédéric joined the firm straight from university, whereas Sandrine began her career abroad then in the Fragonard perfumeries also started by their great-grandfather. The two companies became independent in 1996.

I wanted to build my experience and bring back to the family business what I had learnt elsewhere, in particular during my years in London and New York. I’m the first woman in the family to work at Florian, so I couldn’t afford mistakes.

Sandrine Fuchs-Wyler’s idea was to retain what had earned the reputation of the brand bequeathed by her forebears but to modernise and develop it, notably by extending its product lines, opening new shops and retail outlets.

When my father learnt I was going to receive a knighthood he was very proud, but my children were undoubtedly more so. As a mother I had to make many sacrifices to get where I am, so it’s a magnificent reward.

The baton no doubt will be passed onto the upcoming generation to enrich it with their own experiences and adapt the company for their era

Images courtesy of Confiserie Florian

Silent Sunday #61

Last year all my photographs were from Australia, this year they are from France.