One of the local beverages for late evening
An acquired taste for sure, but try a Versinthe
Hotel Calendal will serve you one with absinthe spoon, glass, sugar, etc. in the garden as an overture to your late night Arles promenade.
You can learn much about one of my favorite Arles beverages here:
Liquoristerie de Provence Versinthe
The one view that I fell in love with was the one before me and all around me once I made it to the top level of the Arles Roman Amphitheatre.
I had never before seen such a collection of orange-colored roofs before me!
The surrounding countryside quite enchanted me...so much so that I had to force myself to come down.
But I'll be back for another look!
I think I'll have to plant myself there for a few days to do some sketches...
One of my favourite writers, Jerome K. Jerome, wrote in his best known book ‘Three Men in a Boat’ that it is an irresistible passion for many people to go to the cemetery and admire tombs as soon as these people arrive into any village, town, or city. I do not usually do so, though even I am not immune to the desire to see some of the most known ancient cemeteries.
And Alyscamps is one of the most famous necropolises of the western world. Its fame began when Genesius, a Roman civil servant, refused to write down an edict calling for persecution of Christians. For this, he was beheaded in 250; later he was (quite predictably, too) made a saint when it was said that miracles began to happen on this site. You can imagine what consequences it brought to the image of Alyscamps. In time the fame of Les Alyscamps spread throughout the Christian world; more and more of the faithful wanted to be buried here, and coffins were shipped down the Rhone for burial. By the 10th century the legend spread that the heroes of Roncevaux--Roland and Olivier--were also entombed here, which brought the place even more fame. Dante even mentioned it in his Inferno, and both Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin painted pictures of it.
In the Middle Ages there were 19 churches and chapels on the site. After the Renaissance, the graveyard was desecrated: tombs were removed and stones taken to construct other buildings. Some sarcophagi have been sold to many museums throughout France and other European countries, other have been pretty horribly neglected. Though, as I think of it, I come to the idea that in their neglected state they are much more picturesque.
For an evocative experience, walk down L'Allée des Sarcophages, where 80 generations have been buried over 2,000 years. The lane is lined with sarcophagi under tall poplar trees. This is the focal point of the experience. Daily, from 9 in the morning till 7 in the evening. 2.5 Euro for adults and 1.5 Euro for children are approximate entrance fees.
Unique Roman Theatre
The Roman Theatre of Arles was built at the end of 1st century B.C., on top of the hill of Hauture, not against the hillside as man other Roman theatres. The stage was a wooden platform with curtain machinery underneath. Behind the stage stood a wall of a hundred pillars, decorated on 3 levels. Many statues stood there. The Venus of Arles, now in the Louvre in Paris, was from this theatre. The photo shows the remaining pillars and some of the bases remaining.
Today, much of the semi-circle stone seating rises up from the ground. A platform stage is used for performances. I took this photo of the stage. The chorus once sang in front of the stage, back in ancient times. Today the theatre is called The Theatre Antique.
For a small ticket you may walk around here and take photos, of course. Stand on the stage and sing,imagining you were once a Roman, in a past life! Or find the latest schedule of events and go to one as an audience member. I would prefer to do the later!
Lunch at the Cafe
We had an enjoyable French lunch in Arles. I remember the delicous goat cheese on toast with olives. That's all I need~~I'm a cheese freak! It was nice to sit curbside and people-watch, too. I could be mistaken, but there really isn't much traffic in Arles.