It’s worth the drive to Arles

If it’s Friday, it must be France …

We’re taking a little side trip today to Arles, just  a 2-1/2 hour drive  from Antibes and the French Riviera to the area (département) known as the Bouches-du-Rhône (great info and pics on this site). The changing scenery from La Côte D’Azur,  through the dramatic red rock hills of Le Massif De L’Estérel, alongside vineyards and farmland in the Var, guarantees the time on the A8 autoroute passes quickly.

Wow! You’ll be glad you came along. Arles is a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to the 7th Century BC when it was a major Roman-Gallo city (Arelate). Built on the edge of the Rhone River where it branches into two parts to the sea, established its importance as a port.To say it is a treasure trove of well-preserved  Roman sites would be an understatement.

Charmingly medieval streets, narrow and winding, pass between ancient buildings. Who can resist them? Not me!

The major Roman sites, such as the Arena and the Theater, are uniquely integrated into the houses and buildings of the town, and used today for concerts, plays, and even bullfights … gulp, yes still … more on that next week and modern changes to the ancient sport. Also I’ll fill you in on Van Gogh’s stay in Arles – as colorful as his paintings, let me assure you!

I’ll just include this teaser now . One memorable evening, Vincent Van Gogh chased his friend, artist Paul Gauguin, down the street holding a razor. Um … there’s a reason for the bandage in this self-protrait.

Van Gogh’s stay in Arles was relatively short but he still managed to complete over 200 paintings while there.

Here’s a quick look at the Arena. I’m going to figure out how to include a slideshow for next week. I hope you will plan to drop by for that.

Have you ever been to Arles? You know I love to hear from you so please share a memory or two. À bientôt!

6 responses to “It’s worth the drive to Arles

  1. Patricia, beautiful pics as usual! Arles looks like a great place to wander, discovering the architecture found on its ancient structures. Looking forward to next week’s part of the tour. I’ve long been interested in seeing a bullfight, but would have liked to attend one back in the 1930s when Hemmingway frequented them.

    • Marcia, you would love it and – guess what? You’re right! Hemingway did spend time in Arles and loved to stay at the Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus. I’ll post a link next week or google the hotel. I suspect you will love it!

  2. My favorite town in France! Favorite city of course is Paris, but Arles was like home. So much to recommend it, especially the courtyard with all the bistros and the Roman arena. Amazing. Loved the street fair, the museum, everything. I wrote like crazy. Lovely little toy store on the cobblestone street going down to the plaza. I know why the artists went there. Beautiful light, intimate, great townspeople. Now I want to go back! Thanks for posting, Patricia.

  3. Patricia, thank you for this virtual trip to Arles! I love the story about Van Gogh and Gaugin, the artists had fun and wild lives at that time 😉 I love the photographs – especially the one of the winding alley. So typical for France and Italy, and wonderful atmosphere.

It's always good to hear to from you!

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