Walking Tour Provence

Day 5 - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - From Avignon to Arles to See Roman Ruins; Home of Van Gogh; Visit Pont du Gard Aqueduct

We began our morning with breakfast at the hotel. We were the only group there so it was quiet and the staff was very attentive. Gennie is reviewing her high school French - the breakfast manager was impressed with her efforts if not her delivery. More words come back every day.

Everyone was on time again this morning so we could leave at 8:27. Vic checked the weather; the temperature was 58° and the humidity was 91%. We thought we could see a little patch of blue sky - nothing like encouraging those weather gods!

We arrived at Arles at 9:15 and followed the Roman Ruin Trail to see the Amphitheater, the Theatre, and the Forum. In addition to seeing the ancient Roman buildings, we also saw the modifications made in Medieval times turning the structures into fortresses.

The next stop was a visit to St. Trophine Cathedral built in the 12th to 15th Centuries. Intricate carvings portray the stories in the Bible as most teaching was done through art; sculpture, tapestries, and paintings.

We were able to walk through the cloister. Although it was under restoration, we could still experience the quiet gardens where the monks prayed and meditated.

Jean-Sébastien led us through the neighborhood streets of Vincent van Gogh who spent a troubled but productive year in Arles. Many of the sites painted by van Gogh are well marked with a poster of the painting.

The most famous and well preserved is the yellow Le Café la Nuit, now the Café van Gogh. His home was bombed during the war and is no longer there.

Gianni picked us up at noon and we drove to Fontvieille for lunch at the Restaurant La Cuisine au Planet. We had a deliciously cooked and served meal in simple perfection as only the people of Provence can do.

One of the ladies in our group had researched a photo exhibit at Baux de Provence called Carrières de Lumières (Cathedral of Images) The exhibit was in two distinct sections. The introduction was The Universe and then "Monet, Renoir… Chagall; Journeys around the Mediterranean" was the feature presentation.

Held in an enormous limestone underground quarry, the enlarged images were projected on to the white walls by hundreds of projectors. Accompanied by music of the times, the paintings came alive as they danced on the ceilings, walls, and floors.

We had one more stop, near Remoulins at Vers-Pont-du-Gard to see the oldest Roman Aqueduct in the world. Pont du Gare is only the bridge of the aqueduct built 2000 years ago.

The bridge was dry laid, using only cut limestone and no cement. It crosses the Gardon River. Built around the year 19 BC, it no longer carries water to Nimes, but it is one of France’s most visited attractions and is now a UNESCO Site.

We drove back during rush hour and made it back to the hotel at 6:00. We started recording the day’s events for GarciaTrips and then at 7:30 we went out to enjoy the evening in Avignon.

At the end of our last day in Avignon we had walked 7.2 miles.

Accommodations: Hotel Bristol - - - Meal: B & L - - Rating: A-

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Go Ahead Tours: Walking Tour of Provence


So bright and colorful, very cool pics today Uncle Vic & Aunt Gen

Chris   April 30, 2013 - 9:40pm
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Courtyard of the Hospital at Arles

Courtyard of the Hospital at Arles

Le Café la Nuit - Arles

Le Café la Nuit - Arles

Red Poppies of Provence

Red Poppies of Provence

Carrières de Lumières (Cathedral of Images)

Carrières de Lumières (Cathedral of...

Pont du Gare

Pont du Gare

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