Seasons greetings to friends and talesandtravel followers. We will celebrate quietly in our new home, an apartment in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on France’s Cote d’Azur where it does not seem very Christmasy. That is OK. We do not miss freezing cold temps. However, a bit of snow on those trees would be a welcome holiday touch. At … Continue reading “HAPPY HOLIDAYS”

A Christmas light spectacle viewed from our apartment — year round.

Seasons greetings to friends and talesandtravel followers. We will celebrate quietly in our new home, an apartment in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on France’s Cote d’Azur where it does not seem very Christmasy. That is OK. We do not miss freezing cold temps. However, a bit of snow on those trees would be a welcome holiday touch.

Stuttgart, once our home, has a wonderful Christmas market.

At this time of year we do miss German Christmases, the very best. We were fortunate to live and work in Germany for many years and relished the festive atmosphere during the entire Advent season with those captivating Christmas markets.

Monaco Christmas market is lacking.

It seems Christmas markets have become popular the world over. Unfortunately we have found most are but pathetic imitations of those German markets with Gluhwein, the aromas of cinnamon and cloves and grilled sausages, glittering glass baubles, twinkling lights, tasteful décor, Christmas carols. There is a delightful spirit, a childlike wonder, that imbues German holiday markets.

Tribute to New Orleans at Monaco Christmas market: Mississippi river boat.

Last week we decided to investigate the Christmas market in Monaco, just next door to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. I had heard the theme was New Orleans. A Creole beauty who hailed from New Orleans, Princess Alice, was not the only American princess who made her mark in Monaco, I learned. Alice lived in Monaco in the late 19thcentury and is credited with developing the principality as a cultural hotspot.

New Orleans fish and chips? How about Jambalaya?

Interesting, and certainly upscale Monaco would have a sensational Christmas market…  Sadly, it did not. There were a few stands selling gift items, some rides for kids, and food, lots of food, everything from Hungarian and Dutch specials to French favorites such as cassoulet and escargots.  No Creole cuisine.  Not much festive ambience.  A skating rink did add a  wintry touch.fullsizeoutput_d76

For another pre-holiday activity we joined the British Association of Menton, a city straddling the Italian border on the other side of our town, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.  Menton is known for lush gardens where exotic plants flourish thanks to its subtropical microclimate. The garden at Val Rahmeh which we toured is one of many tucked away on terraced hillsides above the Mediterranean.

Val Rahmeh

A retired gardener led us through the shady lanes past fountains, ponds, dense foliage and colorful blossoms.  He told us about Miss Maybud Campbell, a rich, eccentric English woman who was the last private owner.  A woman after my heart– Maybud had 14 cats.  The gardens are now owned by the French Museum of Natural History.

Since this was a British activity, we ended the tour with mulled wine, mince pies and Christmas carols. At last, genuine Christmas spirit.

Lots of photo opps at Val Rahmeh.
Hard to believe it is December with all this gorgeous greenery.

I have been neglecting recipes.  I will add one soon, and a post about finding sun on the beach in  Egypt.  Don’t miss out.  If not a talesandtravel follower, sign up, upper right.  Your email address is not shared.  It is safe. Trust me.

Merry Christmas to all!

Please share your thoughts.  Click below,




22 thoughts on “HAPPY HOLIDAYS”

  1. As always Leah has shared a Xmas most of us would envy:missed festivities in Vail this year boohoo! Hilton head doesn’t quite measure up,next year hopefully.Joan has returned; will see about that! Talk later. Bisous my dear friend (hi to Bob).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Holiday greetings to you and Bob, too. Your new town looks beautiful nestled in along the bay. Too bad about the absence of good Christmas markets. Thanks for keeping us up to date.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Leah,
    Wishing you and Bob a new year filed with joy.kory and I had a wonderful thanksgiving in Santa Fe with Steve, Yoshie, Tai and Sean.
    Would love your new postal address.
    With love,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The German Christmas markets must be special and I always think of how much Dad loved this holiday.
    The Christmas music and the Christmas star that he had made displayed on top of the house for all to see.
    Make the gardens of Menton a holiday tradition and Italy must be festive at this time of the year. Your in a wonderful location and Merry Christmas. Wishing you and Bob a New Year of discovery.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too have fond memories of our childhood Christmases. They were magic thanks to our wonderful parents. You are right. We are in a beautiful location. We will discover more in the New Year. Tomorrow, the feast of Santo Stefano, we are dining in Italy.


  5. Feliz Navidad Y Próspero Ano Nuevo, Leah. Such a beautiful venue you’ve moved to, especially your proximity to Menton. I think I would just stare at the scenery for a couple of months.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Obrigado Bill. The scenery is special. I never tire of it. I wanted to be next to Italy and am so glad we found this apt. Italy is just 20 minutes away. I am taking 2 Italian courses. Tutto va bene.


  6. Hi Leah, I could only read part of your post. For some reason it wouldn’t give me the entire post. I’m glad to hear from you . Portland is very full of Xmas lights, music and shoppers. I love the lights and music. I’m spending Xmas day with friends here. And then off to San Francisco to see Annekarin Glass . She and Clebia are still good friends although Clebia lives elsewhere most of the time. I missed the last reunion because my daughter and grandchild were visiting . Very disappointed about that. I have more fun with friends than family. Less baggage. The gchild is sweet and fun. Daughter less so. Life can really throw some zingers. How’s your husband? I hope you have good support. Maybe try sending your thoughts my way again. Love Elizabeth

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Elizabeth. The blog was temporarily screwed up yesterday. Sorry. I think and hope it is fixed. It’s great to hear from you. I think of you often. Your wonderful Brazilian art work hangs in my bedroom just across from the bed. Even though you missed the reunion, you still have contact with many in the PC group. Give my greetings to Annekarin. I will send an email soon with more news. Love, Leah


  7. Thanks, Leah. Great to hear all well there–despite the lack of German-like Christmas markets. Here in Palm Springs, Calif., has been mid-70s to low 80s–strange feeling considering the December weather we’ve come to know in St. Remy. But, rain is predicted for Christmas–yikes! Joyeuses Fetes! Love, Gayle & Ralph

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Enjoy Palm Springs and a warm and sunny Christmas. It is a cloudy Christmas Eve here, but I hope the sun will appear soon for a walk along the Med. Bisous to you and Ralph.


  8. Love Maybud Campbell’s garden-with my thin, tropical blood, I’d take her lush greenery over a White Christmas* any day! Lucky you! And Merry Christmas to you and Bob in any climate!
    *Remember: our tradition of associating Christmas celebrations with a Nordic atmosphere comes from the fact that Scandinavians were so desperate for sun and warmth that they had to make a big deal about the winter solstice, when the days start getting longer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybud’s garden is outstanding. I would expect no less from a cat person. Thanks for the enlightenment on those Scandinavians and the winter solstice — and a white Christmas. I’ve got those spectacular lights. Who needs snow?


  9. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Leah! Here’s a proposition for you: some year let’s trade places in the run-up to Christmas. You can visit all the German Christmas markets your heart desires and I’ll enjoy all that lush scenery. That view from your window is stunning!

    Liked by 1 person

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