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Published: October 2nd 2021
Today we drive to Arles 56 minutes by car from Avignon. Arles was once a Roman city and the old town has narrow streets and is know as a place Vincent Van Gogh lived and worked. We park near a large outdoor market. Mark buys a hat and I buy some handmade soap. We buy a museum pass and visit the Les Arenes (colosseum). The colosseum holds 12,000 spectators. We are not able to enter the colosseum because it is being used for a girls volleyball tournament. We visit the St-Trophime Romanesque church. They have the largest collection of Saint’s bones I have ever seen. We visit every open church we pass when traveling because the church funded artist’s work and beautiful paintings, statues and tapestries can be found in churches. We also visit the Saint Trophime Cloister. The church is free to visit but the cloister charges. Entrance to the cloister is included in our museum pass. The cloister is plain but does have beautiful engravings on the pillars. After lunch we visit the Theatre Antique. The theater was built by the Romans and is still used for events. Picture half of a coliseum facing a stage.
is our next stop. The museum collection is housed in the former Grand Priory of the Knights of Malta. The Knights of Malta were an Italian Catholic lay religious order of a military nature, The museum houses the works of neo-classical painter Jacques Reattu. They also have other artists works including painting by Picasso. A visit to the cryptoporiticus is included with our pass. It is hundreds of feet underground galleries where grain was stored by the Romans.
Our last stop is the Musee Departemental Arles-antique. This is a large museum on the banks of the Rhône river. This archeological collection is devoted to antiquity in Provence. The most impressive artifact is a Gallo-Roman barge which is nearly intact. It is amazing a wood boat could survive in the bottom of the Rhône river.
Rick Steves likes Arles as a home base for this part of Provence. I would disagree we are staying in Avignon which is much cuter and is also a good location as a home base
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