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Published: October 27th 2012
There was no rain today, but it was chilly because of the Mistral. (That is what the French call the strong wind that blows through this part of the country.) This morning I went to the weekly market and, as expected, there were a lot of fish. (See picture) I bought some picnic items and then wandered around the old part of Arles. In the main square of Arles is the "Yellow House" that was painted by Vincent van Gogh when he was here. (See picture) There are plaques scattered around the city that identify sites where van Gogh painted certain pictures. This was the only one that I came across today. I visited the Roman Theater and Roman Arena. (See picture of the latter with gladiator training in progress!) The arena is still used for cultural events, including bullfights. In Provence, unlike Spain, the bull always lives. I would have liked to see a bullfight, but it is the wrong season. I drove to a picnic area on the riverbank and ate my lunch while watching barges ply the river Rhone. Then I stopped in at the Museum of Ancient History. This focuses on the Roman presence in Arles and
it is very well done. I imagined a musty old warehouse, but it is a new, purpose-built museum with interesting objects and, my favorite, scale models of ancient Roman buildings. (See picture of the Roman Arena in its heyday.) After the museum, I drove out into the Provence countryside. It was pretty and there certainly are a lot of olive trees! There are big rocky outcroppings intermittently and some of them have been fortified in the past. The most famous one in this area is Les Baux. The remains of the medieval castle still exist and I went to see it today. It is a popular place to visit with children, who enjoy the idea of knights and jousts and storming the castle. I took a picture of the remains of the castle with a trebuchet in front and I also took a picture of a scale model of what the castle looked like in the 13th century. On the drive back to Arles I stopped at a viewpoint and took a picture of the sun setting over the Rhone. That seems a fitting conclusion to my time here. Actually I plan to do a little more sightseeing in Provence
during the day tomorrow, but tomorrow night I will be traveling. I may not be able to find a Wi-Fi connection to publish this blog at the usual time, but I will catch up when I can!
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