Arles

Monday, October 13, 2008

Again today we woke to an overcast day and rain was threatening. Yesterday and today were terrible days for photography. Despite the forecast, we drove to Arles to poke around the old city. At one time Arles was the capital of the three Gauls — Spain, Britain and France. Originally Arles was a Greek site that the Romans expanded into a “little Rome”. Its location on the banks of the Rhône River made it a strategic port with its shipyards, baths, racetrack, amphitheatre, and arena (which is the location for a gun battle in the movie Ronin, which David has watched roughly 30,000 times.) Arles has one of the most impressive surviving Roman monuments, the arena (coliseum) which could seat 20,000. At present, it is undergoing a massive renovation and restoration, and still features bull fights and other festival events.

After a quick spin around Arles, we looked for a spot to dine in the Place du Forum. This square has the yellow-walled restaurant that Van Gogh made famous in one of his paintings, Café de Soir. We didn’t choose to have lunch at the Van Gogh Café, as we were not enticed by specials such as the “ear burger,” but dined right next to it at Restaurant L’Ardoise. After a delightful lunch, we strolled around a bit more, headed for the car which was parked outside the walls of the city, and went back to Eygalières.

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