Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Temple of Love

This is the Temple of Love [Temple d'Amour] aka temple of Diana in Parc Chambrun, Nice.

The land was originally bought by Comte Caïs de Pierlas en 1837 and he had a botanic garden planted on the site. There are still some of the original olive trees on the site from before the botanic gardens.

Count Joseph de Chambrun then bought the land in 1876 and brought in the famous Swiss brothers, Denis et Eugène Bühler, to do further landscaping.
At one point there was an artificial waterfall - probably similar to the one on the top of Colline de Chateau in Nice centre.
The neo-classical temple was designed by the architect Philippe Randon and dedicated to Countess of Chambrun , who wanted a sort of bandstand for classical music recitals.
Winter concerts were given here in winter from 1885 - Nice was originally a winter desination rather than a summer one, due to the very mild climate.

These are the steps that lead up to the temple. Kids [and some adults slide down the sloping edges] and the marble is now polished from thousands of bottoms sliding down.

The interior ceiling is beautifully decorated with gilded rosettes. Its still in very good repair considering its age.The tops of the columns are highly decorated with bull heads and foliate decorations. The pigeons like to use them as perches -this one started to fly away at the moment i took the photo.

The 12 columns are beautiful white fluted marble. The top of the roof is 19 metres from the ground The city of Nice bought the 'temple' and a small amount of surrounding land in 1920.

Since then , the Temple of Love has become a popular and very romantic place for local people have their wedding photos taken.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

He's a lumberjack and he's ok

This isn't spiderman -though the colours are nearly right. In January and February we see lots of folk with chainsaws dangling from trees all over Nice.

Thankfully they are firmly attached with harnesses and ropes.

I don't think I could be a tree surgeon since I hate heights. I guess tree surgeons have different phobias.
This is the end result. The plane trees end up looking gnarled and impossibly bald but they soon sprout new shoots and branchlets.

In a few weeks the trees in the boulevard will be leafy and green again-which is really hard to imagine when the trees look so lifeless.

The palm trees get pruned too.

The huge spikes on the feet help with climbing and hanging on to the tree.

Even with the ropes and harnesses and other precautions, its still a bit creepy to watch the tree surgeons at work. I worry about people falling -even when I don't know them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pretty Flamingoes- happy valentine's day

I thought some cute kissing flamingoes were appropriate for Valentine's day. I liked the almost heart shape made where their beaks touch.

These flamingoes live in PARC Phoenix in Nice.
I have been lucky enough to see a wild flamingo flying and landing on a beach in Antibes but I wasn't fast enough to take its photo. I think it had been blown off course and was really heading for the nearby Camargue.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Groundhog day

These are actually black tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianus rather than groundhogs- but they look a little bit similar to me.

These prairie dogs live in Parc Phoenix in Nice

Prairie dogs dig elaborate burrows with separate toilet areas, a listening area near the entrance where they can listen for predators, nurseries and sleeping chambers .
Prairie dogs are very social animals -and they often 'kiss' each other - a bonding and family strengthening behaviour. After they 'kiss' the prairie dogs groom each other and generally snuggle up.
I was lucky enough to catch a couple in the act.
The name, black tailed prairie dogs, comes from the black tip on the tail -just visible in this photo.