Tuesday, November 12, 2013

ARLES - France

Arles is a city and commune in the south of France. A large part of the Camargue is located on the territory of the commune, making it the largest commune in Metropolitan France in terms of territory.

The city has a long history, and was of considerable importance in the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis. The Roman and Romanesque Monuments of Arles were listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1981. The Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh lived in Arles in 1888–1889 and produced over 300 paintings and drawings during his time there.

When we arrived in Arles, we started our visit with the Roman amphitheater.



It looks very impressive







We couldn't go everywhere as restoration works were going on.

In 46 B.C., Julius Cesar founded a Roman colony in this city, which had supported him during the siege of Marseille.

Consequently, the city changed and splendid Roman buildings were built: the forum, of the temples, the ancient theatre, the amphitheatre, the circus, the thermal baths, etc.

Under the reign of the emperor Constantine, Arles' prosperity earnt it the title of  "The little Rome of Gaul"

After that, I wanted to follow the traces of the painter van Gogh who had lived in Arles.



We had a cup of coffee just in front of the "Maison Jaune" (the Yellow House) which I recognized. Today there is a snack bar and a shop in it.



During his stay  between February 1888 and May 1889, Vincent Van Gogh produced approximately 300 drawings and paintings.



Unfortunately there was little indication if not at all to find where he had lived and painted. Finally I found this "Fondation", but there was nothing in it but a lady who showed me a plan how the "Fondation" would look like in a year or so.



Fortunately, when I took the little tourist train, the driver showed us the places where he had painted and the reconstruction of the house where he had lived which is a hotel today.  It had been destroyed in WWII.
I couldn't find no other traces of his life and found it deplorable that the city hasn't done more for his so famous inhabitant.



We then crossed the "Place de la République" (Place of the republic) surrounded by beautiful manors, once inhabited by rich citizens.



Some wall paintings where very beautiful.



I don't know if van Gogh ever bought medication in this pharmacy, but at least it was called "van Gogh"



My little train, which had started at the "Maison Jaune" took me through very narrow little streets, leaving only a little space left and right so that the train didn't touch the walls of the houses.



The sightseeing was very interesting and I even spotted a cat watching us from a window.



There is no space for big cars !



Some doors were so beautiful



These are remains of an old bridge at the Rhône, which hadn't been rebuilt.

Arles is really a very beautiful city. I only deplored that there were so many graffiti and tags all over the city. I never had seen so many in my whole life in just one town, which looked a little neglected.

More information about Arles are here

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

MEDITERRANEAN PARK - SIX FOURS, France

During my stay in Ollioules in South France, my friend took me to the Mediterranean Park at Six Fours a little village nearby. The name is rather funny because it means "six ovens".



The park is beautiful in its partly wilderness and botanical gardens.



The whole domain is 7 ha (17 acres) and on the top sits a kind of fortress,



which is called Cap Nègre



There was nothing indicated at the building which looked rather neglected and unused, but I learned from my "google" researches that it should be a museum and dates from Napoleon. As at the bridge leading to the entrance was written "danger" I didn't dare to go further.



The park was full of beautiful palm trees, and this part was rather well maintained.



The marble table needed some restoring, it was partly broken and it was hard to read the directions which should explain where was what.











But the views on the sea were beautiful



and walking around on these little ways through the wilderness with exotic plants was a real pleasure.

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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