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.
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.