Tuesday, November 01, 2016

France&Fez Day 11, Arles

Thursday was a gloomy, rainy morning.  We headed out in the rain, making our way Arles.  God was again gracious in that the rain itself only fell while we were driving.  But a hot crepe in our hands as we walked into the centre ville helped to warm our spirits!

Arles ended up completely charming me, which was a surprise since I had almost cancelled the day because I was so tired.  J. encouraged us to go anyway, and I am so glad she did!  Arles is such an amalgamation of the centuries!  It is full of Roman ruins: the remains of a forum, a Roman bath, an arena, and a theatre simply pop up out of the French village at various spots. 

The medieval period is spectacularly represented by the church of St. Trophime, with its magnificently carved facade and huge interior spaces.  But perhaps more spectacular, and maybe my favorite spot in the whole Rhone Valley region of Provence, were the cloisters behind the church, with their two Romanesque colonnades from the 12th century and two gothic colonnades from the 13th century.  They are such beautiful spaces, with the most delightful and skilled medieval carving I have ever seen!

Arles also has a large number of 16th and 17th century buildings, giving it a grand sort of eloquence.

Add in a little Van Gogh, since he lived here and painted many of his famous paintings here...

... and the magnificent Rhone River...

...and a good dose of Provence charm, and mix it all around so they are all intermingled, and even on a gloomy day, Arles is a delight.

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