samedi 3 décembre 2005

For my birthday and our two year anniversary (the day after), Alain and I decided to spend a weekend in the nearby city of Arles. It is about an hour away by tollway, to the northwest.
Here is the description from the guidebook.
Few other towns in Provence combine all the region's charms as well as Arles. Its position on the Rhône makes it a natural, historic gateway to the Camargue. Its Roman remains, such as the arena and Constantine's baths, are complemented by the ocher walls and Roman-tiled roofs of later buildings. A bastion of Provençal tradition and culture, its museums are among the best in the region. Van Gogh spent time here in 1888-9, but Arles is no longer the industrial town he painted. Visitors are now its main business, and entertainment ranges from the Arles festival to bullfights.

We left Saturday morning and arrived a little before noon. It was a challenge to find our hotel, as the roads in the old section (within the Roman walls) are very narrow, one way and winding. We finally managed to find it, checked in, and went to eat lunch. Our hotel was very close to the Amphitheater. After lunch, we set off to explore the city.

First we went to the Amphitheater. It is described as one of the best-preserved monuments of Roman Provence. It is 446 ft by 351 ft, and could seat 21,000 people. "The floors of some of the internal rooms were decorated with mosaics, the better to wash down after bloody affrays." Those Romans, they think of everything. Interesting point- the arena is the actually sandy area in the middle, the surrounding part is the Amphitheater. In summer they hold Bullfights, some where they kill the bulls, others not. It is free for residents of Arles, and there were some in there reading books, like at a college campus. Today I think I will go read my Statistics book in a 2000-year old monument....

After, we went to see the Cloisters of St-Trophime. Not sure really what it was. I think a monastery. Not much in the way of explanations. All signs in French museums are in French. No English or any other language for other visitors. Anyway, there was an exposition of UNESCO World Heritage site pictures, of all former Roman cities and monuments. Right outside in the Place de la Republic is the city hall, a huge Egyptian Obelisk, and the Eglise St-Trophime. It is a "fine Romanesque church" with a 12th century portal of the Last Judgement, including saints and apostles.

The rest of the day we just walked around, tried to find some place to eat. We finally found a place called L'Escalade, close to the amphitheater. It said that it opened at 6:30. Whenever you find a restaurant that says that, don't believe them. They are lying. Technically, there might be someone there at that time, but they are not open and not ready to serve food. Me, I was hungry at 6. We waited until 6:45 to arrive. They let us in, but boy did we feel in the way. We returned to the hotel and fell asleep immediately.

2 commentaires:

Anonyme a dit…

Hi Megan!

I've just been reading all your sites. Your comments are hilarious! And true! Have you been to Avignon yet? Or at least under its bridge (get it? get it?)?

Everything's fine here. I hear that Mark Sulcoski's wife is moving into your cubicle. Can you say,...NEPOTISM!!!! ? Sure, I knew you could...

How are your French and karate classes coming along? I especially enjoyed reading your comments on genders and articles. How true! My Achilles heel!

Hope that you and Alain are doing well and that you had a good (non-traditional?) Thanksgiving and (not-so-traditional?) Christmas. But at least the French celebrate New Year's about the same as we do back across the pond!

Take care and Happy New Year, Megan!

John Peck

Ed/Sue Smith a dit…

I guess you don't remember Quito and waiting in the restaurant while the cook sauntered through the door about an hour later.

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