Autumn light in Menton

26 October 2023

Autumn is advancing here in the northern hemisphere. In Menton, September’s heat has gone, giving way to a mild October. The days are shortening and leaves are falling. The Mediterranean, which was a deep satin blue, still and strangely quiet for most of our first weeks here, has come alive. It’s as Katherine Mansfield wrote from Menton to her brother-in-law in 1920: ‘Big glancing silver ducks of light dive in and out of the sea’. 

It hasn’t been particularly windy, but nevertheless for several days now it’s been a sea as I’ve always known a sea, capricious, rough and noisy. Waves boom into the shore and crash up over the wall, launching dollops of water onto the footpath and road. There’s no swimming at the local beach this week, but innocent newcomers can still take the salt water cure simply by walking on the esplanade. As one of these aforementioned innocent newcomers I can confirm that you also get a dose of seaweed with this method. I’m sure this boosts the health benefits, although it does take a while to peel it all off. 

The autumn light gilds the villas and buildings of the old town, and makes the high cliffs behind Garavan glow.

The cloudscapes have been astonishing, especially at dusk. Katherine Mansfield described Menton as ‘a small jewel’, and so it is.

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