Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas trip to Luceram in the Riviera hinterland

I have previously posted pictures of the spectacular winter scenery we have in this part of the world. Spectacular and unexpected - given the glorious sight of that vast backdrop of snow-covered mountains behind Antibes and Nice. There's always a great excuse to venture into those hills and mountains at this festive time of year, which is to go and see the crèches at Luceram, a village some 18km due north of Eze, and about 40km as the crow flies from Antibes.

The first picture shows scenery on the way to Luceram . So far, it's just a light dusting of snow on the peaks, but a short way further on, there is deeper snow, right down to the roadside.

And here it is, the real McCoy(the snow that is) , a mere 45 mins drive from the Riviera beaches. Watch out: missus is in a playful mood.

This is the village of Luceram, viewed from the church. All these pictures should enlarge if you put the pointer on them and click (or tickle laptop touchpad) as appropriate. Sorry to keep saying this, but I continue to find other Bloggers who have been up-and-running for months without realising this).

ed: having said all that, I find these pictures don't enlarge. There's absolutely no rhyme or reason why it works sometimes and not others. And there's the matter of pictures that disappear from view hours or days after posting. Blogger's software developers really need to pull their socks up in the New year.

Click on the road at the bottom of the village (it's the entry route from the south) and you can just about make out a couple of tinsel hearts strung across the road. In fact, as you will see, the villagers have gone to some trouble to give the entire village a festive look. Most of the villages do in this part of the world.

You may recall my recent Christmas shopping expedition to Biot, the place for beautiful glass. We recently learned from our Nice-Matin that the Biotois (?) spent €66,000 no less on their street decorations, but let's not be mercenary. (Although in passing, I can't but help recalling the assembly given by a Deputy Head at a school near Slough in which he painstakingly computed the cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas in modern money. And we have just had a Christmas Card from "Uncle Ray" with a political -cum -mercenary message. The picture on the front shows a a throng of recently-appointed peers of the realm all living it up, over the caption "10 lords-a-loanin'".

Thinks: New Year's resolution: must stop digressing/going off at tangents in blogs. Who knows - someone might actually be reading this stuff ! And who was it on Louise's "Chocolates and Cuckoos" blog who claimed yesterday that I was someone unable to laugh at himself ? Answer: the same person who two weeks ago said he was resolved never to read my blog ! Sorry mate: bit of self-contradiction there: you can't have it both ways.

Luceram is a typical typical arrière-pays village, crammed with 15th century architecture and earlier, with these narrow, labyrinthine lanes, steep curving flights of steps, ancient doorways, and, at this time of year, Christmas decorations.

As already mentioned, Luceram is famous for its numerous crèches (nativity scenes) which the villagers install at various places around the village. They are not really my scene, I'm afraid, at least from a religious/philosophical perspective, but they do add a welcome splash of light and colour to what is otherwise somewhat cold grey masonry. Ladies with red jerseys and fur-lined hoods help brighten up the place too.

There's no shortage of history in these parts. This is the ancient xxxxxxx. It was built in XXXX, and played a major role in the Battle of Xxxxxx, and looks like it would benefit from a visit to a dentist. As you can see, there's no shortage of things for me to research in the New Year.

And here's where we had our pre-booked Christmas lunch. Sorry about the leaning camera angle. It must have been one of those post-prandial photographs !

Well, here we are back on the coast, after our day trip into the hills. This is the rue d'Antibes in Cannes, the place to go for that special Christmas present. At a price.

Well folks, this is my last post, this side of Christmas. If you have any comments, could you make them in the next three days ( by Dec 21st). We're spending Christmas with our family in England. I will then leave this site to accept comments by moderation only. Sorry to have to do this. As some of you know, up till recently I accepted all comments, including anonymous ones, but had to stop that, thanks to some clown who thought it funny to post what he thought to be my home address. So I've decided to play safe while away.

As already indicated, there will be some changes in the New Year. "Dreams and Daemons" will be for occasional posts ( once a week maximum). My new blog, called "Inside Antibes", will become my main daily blog, devoted mainly to monitoring the news in Nice-Matin ( local, national and international). I shall also be venturing cautiously back onto the Telegraph's blog, with a view (optimistically, perhaps) of using "Inside Antibes" to continue interesting discussions once they disappear from sight on the Telegraph. That, as some of you know, has been a sore point with this blogger, given that comments to Telly blogs now have to be made in a day or two, when they are then relegated to the dusty archives, where threads tend quickly to die the death.

How different from the good old days, when Colin Randall was blogging, and some threads went on ( and stayed visible) for many days on end . Shane Richmond seems pleased to have built up a team of 38 bloggers. A bad move, if you ask me. He should have restricted it to 15 max, and been ruthless with those that were underperforming. Some present Telegraph blogs are a waste of space, mentioning no names. And on that charitable seasonal note, I and that grumpy hippo, lodged in the hippocampus, wish you all :

A Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous New Year !


Sarah said...

Merry Christmas, Colin, and a Happy New Year.
Enjoy Christmas in England!

ColinB said...

And to you and your boys, Sarah.And to your partner. And to ng. And to your pets. Merry Christmas to you all in that little bit of paradise you've created for yourself. It may not be authentic France or England (ref you comment today on Salut!)but sounds quite idyllic all the same.

anne gilbert said...

Merry Christmas Colin Berry and to all your family.
The Spirit of Christmas is in flight.

ColinB said...

Festive greetings to you, Anne Gilbert.

You know, Anne, most bloggers after a while form a picture in their mind of how other bloggers look. But do you know, I find that with Anne Gilbert there is no face materialising from the aether ? Why that is I don't know. Does anyone else have this problem ?

Tell you what Anne. Why not get someone to take a picture of yourself, and email it to me. You can wear a Santa hat if you wish to give it a festive touch. I will then create an Anne Gilbert post on this blog, which will be the first one people see when they log on to this blog over Christmas ?

Come on then, be a sport. Let your hair down a bit. It's Christmas, after all, as you so rightly point out.

If you won't do it for me, do it for hippo !

PS You can add a Christmas poem if you want (but if anyone asks, say it was your idea).

anne gilbert said...

Thank you Colin Berry for your most generous offer of a season post special.I am far to infamous as it is and see no credit in an attachment to your splendid blog.
The Christmas Spirit is in flight.

ColinB said...

That's a shame, Anne. Please reconsider. After all, infamy has lightened many a heart:

Reminder: Kenneth Williams as Julius Caesar in Carry on Cleo.

"Infamy, infamy, they've all got it in for me !"

anne gilbert said...

Yes,Colin,the infamy..........carry on McGoneagle.
Your blog is perfection and should be kept that way.

Louise said...

Agree with you about the Telly blogs, Colin - load of rubbish on the whole; I only read a couple of them now. Reporting in the Telly too has taken a nose-dive too - this morning I was reading an article attached to the Ipswich killings which was on the level of the worst of the tabloid press!

Have a lovely Christmas and New Year in England with your family and let's hope we can calm down the blogging fever that has been around for the last few days!

ColinB said...

Merry Christmas, Louise. Happy blogging in the New Year.

Bill Taylor said...

In all seriousness, a Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones, Colinb, and a happy (and no-holds-barred) New Year. Have a safe trip.

ColinB said...

They used to do a hilarious ad on telly about a secret lemonade drinker, who crept down in the night to raid the fridge for his fix of the fizzy.

Well now, who would have guessed that Bill Taylor was a secret visitor to D&D (if only once, to post the above message of goodwill) ?

Seriously, Bill, that's a generous gesture on your part. It's nice to know that even for us unbelievers there's still a place for the Christmas spirit: peace on earth, goodwill to all men.

Season's greeting to you, your wife, two cats and any others who may be dear to you.

Anonymous said...

Best to save any comments till later, folks, since I can't reckon on having access to a computer over Christmas.

Any comments you do send will probably sit in my email inbox for days.

This is sent under "anonymous" to test the new settings.

Merry Christmas


Gigi said...

Oh dear, Colin... I have very bad memories of the Riviera hinterland. I was coming back from St Tropez last year (where I'd taken my children for the day - they are great fans of that soap opera thingy Sous le Soleil), to Aix-en-Provence. I followed the signs for the motorway, thinking it would be quicker that way, and ended up driving for hours up and down vale without a clue as to where I was. I do not have the best sense of direction in the world and it was pretty terrifying even though I got there in the end.

Your photo has brought it all back to me and now I'm going to need a stiff drink...

Bonne Année to you too!

ColinB said...

Hello Gigi

Welcome to D&D (you'll find it somewhat quieter here than Salut).
I think a lot of folk who drive to St.Trop, expecting a glitzy Riviera resort, are in for a surprise. First there's that D25 road off the A8 autoroute across the Maures that is little more than a country lane in places.

As for St.Trop - I don't consider the place at all glitzy. Busy, commercial, quaint in places, but not glitzy. Maybe it's because I'm used to the sight of swanky yachts in the harbour, living here in Antibes. But the yachts are tied up most of the year, and we rarely see their owners.
The little shops on the backstreets of St.Tropez are good though, like the mineral shop.

My best moment in St Trop was watching my wife tell a German yacht owner in his own language that he was parking his gin palace in the wrong place. That was when we were waiting at the quayside for the St. Maxime ferry to arrive.


Happy New Year!