arles, france

My memories of Arles are probably different and skewed from those of most people.  It was Easter morning when we visited, but instead of the streets being deserted, they were packed due to the town's Easter Feria, and the weather was blustery, like unusually so, and I just couldn't seem to get my hair under control or out of my face the whole time (I think I forgot or misplaced my hair tie which is why I don't appear in any photos).  

However, Arles is pretty important to history: it was a major metropolis in the Roman region of Gaul and the town dates back to the 7th century BC.  The Roman arena and theater still survive, and the arena is still in great condition, in fact, on the day we visited it was being used for the first bullfight of the season (hence why we only saw it from the outside).  

More recent history revolves around the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, who spent 14 months in Arles, living and working.  Many consider the time he spent here as the most productive (between February 1888 and May 1889, he created over 300 works of art in Arles) of his life, and although none of his works are currently kept in town, you can take a self-guided tour of nine of the spots where he worked on particular pieces, and see copies of the paintings in each place.  Danny was really interested in the Van Gogh bit, and I may have been too had I not been battling the wind and feeling a bit cold as well, but we still visited five or six of the stops before heading out of town for Avignon, our second stop of the day.     


See more from our road trip around southern France: our day in Toulouse here, and all of our stops on our first day: Cahors, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Bouzies, Rocamadour, Padirac CaveLoubressac, and Figeac.  We began our second day in Marcillac-Vallon and Belcastel, made a stop at the Viaduc de Millau before heading into the Gorges du Tarn, and finally checked out the lovely Sainte-Enimie.  That night, we stayed in Le-Pont-de-Montvert.  

We started our third day in Labeaume before driving through the Gorges de l'Ardeche and stopping afterwards in Aiguèze and then spending some time checking out Roman remains in Orange and staying the night in Vaison-la-Romaine.  The next morning we explored Vaison-la-Romaine, drove on to Sisteron and Moustiers-Sainte-Marie and through the Gorges du Verdon and stayed the night in Castellane.

The morning of the fifth day of our road trip, we drove to Grasse, onto Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and then to Antibes and finally onto Nice for the night.  On our first morning in Nice we took the train to Monaco and then started explored Nice in the afternoon.  

We started our second day in Nice by taking the train along the coast and visiting different towns, the first being Villefrance-sur-Mer, traveling onto Menton, and then to Ventimiglia and finally Èze.  After our third night in Nice we packed up and drove to Cannes and then to Aix-en-Provence where we stayed overnight and in the morning we drove onto the Arles.