14 September 2015

Arles

Today was all about Arles!
The plan: spend most of the day following Van Gogh, and throw in a little history.

We left our place in mid-morning, and drove about 45 minutes to the Arles Ancient History Museum (Musée départmental Arles antique). Yay us, we had driven the road several times before, so we did NOT get lost! We parked (free) and spent a couple of hours in the museum (so much I did not know!
Look at how similar these early buildings are to the adobe of the American Southwest:
 The area shows evidence of settlements in the Paleolithic age. In 600 BC, the Greeks founded Marseille, and established cultural and economic ties with the Celto-Ligurians of Arles.
Then the Romans came - in 46 BC, Julius Caesar settled his 6th legion in "Arelate," aka, "the settlement near the swamp" (nice, huh?). Augustus ramped up the building. This is a recreation, showing the arena, circus, and theater:

This is a model of the forum:

Here's a column top:

A model of the arena - note the shade mechanism!

And the theater

This is a bridge across the Rhône - the center section is floated on boats; the ends are anchored by portsls surmounted by stone lions.

Augustus

A goddess

Marble carved to emulate draped cloth

We caught the Navette (shuttle, again free) into centre-ville, where we had lunch (Paella - yum!), and then visited the Tourism Office - we bought a walking guide (1€) that mapped and descibed several tours, including places where Van Gogh painted.

Espace Van Gogh - Le jardin de la maison de santé

Place de la Républic - the church of Ste Anne is on the left of the obelisk. The Hôtel de Ville (17th century) is behind the obelisk, and the St Trophime church (15th-18th century) is to the right (not shown) - we went inside, but didn't get any good pictures...

Le Café Soir

An interesting building (I want to paint this one!)

A tower

The view across the Rhône - same as "Starry Night"

The lions! They guard the old boat-bridge across the Rhône


The arena

By this time, we were pretty worn out, so we caught the Navette back to our car at the museum, "refreshed ourselves," and drove back home.

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Now we're waiting for another short storm - the waves are small, the surfers are gone, and the sun is out :-)

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