Menton Garden Tour
Peter Beers
6/27/2007
PedroGringo@yahoo.com

I'm writing this part over 4 months after we returned home. When I got home, I was swamped with work, as you all know, and just haven't had time to sort through anything. Pardon me if I'm a little vague on this part of the trip. It will be a good memory test for me. :D

Josy and Laura and I took a wonderful tour of some of the historic gardens in Menton. This was arranged by the tourist bureau and was attended by a combination of visitors and locals who wanted to see the gardens. We met a couple from Sweden who were living and sailing on a friends boat for the year. They were fascinating and great people to talk to on the tour. It was also kind of nice to meet some people who were significantly taller than me.

We started off with a garden that had been donated by the royal family of Monaco. They had a wonderful collection of citrus trees and our guide was amazing about talking to all the different varieties and their history. She's one of the only people that gets to lead tours through there where she can pick the fruit and give us samples. I loved that part. The first 2 photos are from that garden.

Next we were off to a Mansion that is used by the Mayor of Menton to entertain. The garden was lovely. It was not characteristic of the local gardens in the area. You could see that the lawns required a lot of water to keep green. The flowers and trees were lovely. I particularly liked the Chinese dragon in the fountain. I got some lovely photos of that, as well as some neat photos looking down toward the old part of Menton. This garden was located about 20 feet from the Italian border and right below the old customs house.

The third garden we went to was called Fontana Rosa. The garden and building are in the process of being renovated and restored. What a truly amazing place. It is obvious that they're spending a lot of money restoring the place and it will be lovely when they're done.

The man who built the place loved the author Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. You can see the photo of the fountain that has tiles depicting what happened in the book. The fountain is lovely and there are some much loved and cared for turtles and goldfish in the fountain. They looked quite happy.

There is a story about the tiles. It would seem that someone had been stealing the tiles one at a time over the course of a few years. One of the craftsmen working on the restoration visited the home of a woman who was also working on the restoration and noticed that her bathroom was tiled in a Don Quixote theme. She'd stolen them to tile her bathroom. She got to keep the tiles because removing them would most likely have damaged them beyond repair. I don't know what else happened to her, but I thought the story was interesting.

Josy? Herb? How did I do?

Here's Josy's comment:

"The garden we visited with the dragon fountain is the Villa Maria Serena. The other garden was
Fontana Rosa. The owner, Pablo Ibanez came as a political refugee from Spain and chose the locale because it reminded him most of Spain.. The large construction with the steps was built exclusively for the writing and reading of one's own poetryand listening to friends works in the Spanish tradition."

Thank you! I knew you'd have some things that I missed. :D

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