July 16th, 2011

drinking bird

Continuing the trip

Our next big stop was Arles. The city is known for its Roman arena, ramparts, baths, and necropolis, as well as the early Renaissance church of St Trophime.  It is also where Gauguin and Van Gogh spent some time and Van Gogh did several well known paintings.

The exterior wall of the arena, with tourists scrambling up the steps

In the Middle Ages, its walls were used as ramparts, and a small medieval town grew inside.

But in 1825 it was decided to demolish it and restore it to how it had been. I rather regret that. The arena is used for bullfights nowadays. Modern version of gladiators fights?

The interior now.

The other place to visit in Arles is definitely St Trophime
Collapse ) First the front

Portal detail

Glimpse of the cloister

One of the many carvings: Daniel in the lion's den

A stained glass window

In 1889 Van Gogh left Arles and had himself committed to a hospital not far away at St Paul de Mausole, near St Rémy de Provence. He lived there for a year and painted many pictures. It was housed in a former monastery.

The cloister at St Paul de Mausole

After visiting there briefly, we made a quick stop at St Rémy, a charming old town with pretty houses and many artists.

Well, almost the end!

We left our river boat, boarded a bus, and drove on down to Nice, where it was time to fly home the next day. I have to confess that I went to France because I was homesick. However, this trip just made me want to go back again soon! Had not realized how much I missed the wonderful ripe fruits, the food and just the atmosphere.