I (and you) may refresh our memory about Arles and Provance even without leaving Moscow. I should go to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (19th and 20th Century European and American Art Department) and see “The red vineyard at Arles (Montmajour)” by Vincent Van Gogh apparently the only painting sold during the artist's lifetime.
What a wonderful opportunity!
12 Volkhonka St., Moscow
Metro station: "Kropotkinskaya".
Ticket price for foreign visitors 400 rubles (10 euro) for adults, 200 rubles for schoolchildren, students and pensioners.
Attention! Ticket prices for exhibitions might differ from those for permanent collections.
Visitors are offered audioguides in Russian, English, German, French and Italian.
Many exciting tours are on offer!
Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm
Thursdays from 10 am to 9 pm
We watched a group of future razeteurs in a small bull-ring try their hand at daring a bull. They attempted to reach the steer's forehead without the cocarde in place. They had learned the moves and barely jumped across the barrier with the bull also crossing the inner barrier in close pursuit. They were in the first stage of becomig a performer.
You can stay at a dude ranch in the Camargue or at any of several places emphasizing horse riding. As part of an Elderhostel group spending a week in Arles, we went one afternoon to see the activities at the Domaine de Mejanes. We were treated to riding exhibition of the domesticated ponies of the region as well as to roping, calf-tying and finally to the branding.
The famous French writer Alphonse Daudet was born in Nimes and when successful bought a farm beyond the town of Fontvieille next to a mill which was still in use. This inspired him to write a series of local tales about the decay of rural life in Provence. These were written in Paris in 1865 and published four years later. Today there is a museum in the mill which has been restored. Two km beyond this site are extensive parts of a Roman mill and sections of an aqueduct (we have no pictures).
East of St. Remy and just beyond the village of Eygalieres, on the plain just north of the Alpilles. stands the Chapel of St. Sixte (Sixtus). It is on D24B and was built in the 12C. We came upon it while driving toward St. Remy from Aix and Orgon. It sits next to an olive grove , while beyond it are rough white stones fields forming white hills and rocky outcrops.
We believe that every one who visits this part of Provence should try to go to the Pont du Gard, which we feel is one of greatest views in the world. On our second visit we arrived from Arles, then driving oward to Avignon. On this trip the town of Remoulins had put up barriers and there were unpaved parking areas with a fee. Up river there were two camp grounds and there were a few canoes paddling in the upper waters. We could still climb freely upon the bridge.
Tarascon is on the east bank of the Rhone, ten miles north of Arles. It has a fine castle with a tower at each corner. This version of the building was built by Louis II of Anjou in 1400 and finished by his son in 1435. It was the next owner, Good King Rene who enjoyed it and further improved it. This is also the site at which Ste. Martha died, but only after she tamed a Dragon, the "Tarasque", which is celebrated each year at the end of June. Tarascon is also famous for Daudet's hero Tartarin de Tarascon.
The Musee de l'Arles Antique is at the south edge of Arles next to the main road. It was opened in 1995 and combines works previously shown in two museums previously housed in no longer used 17C churches near the Pl. de la Republique. It can be quickly reached by taking a local bus for a five minute trip from the Pl. des Lices. The interior contains both collections , many more works and models that make the real treasures more understandable.
Its located 60 km meters south of Arles and the area is known for the white horses (not wild but free). The city also offer beautiful sand beeches. Its a small city and interesting shops and restaurants. There is a church with interesting design and a kind of soothing music is being played.
Think of a cluster of Roman ruins situated in the middle of a Van Gogh painting.
Just outside (1 mile south) St. Remy and almost across the road from a hospital where Van Gogh attempted to convalesce, sit the ruins of the Roman city of Glanum. Approx. 2000 years old, many of the sites in Glanum are very well preserved and documented.
The area around Glanum is very beautiful and inspirational. This is a side/day-trip from Arles that is well spent. Anyone interested or fascinated by ancient history and Caesar's conquest of Gaul will love Glanum, Orange, Arles and Nimes.
Here (click below) is some good info:
Roman City of Glanum
French Arles became the first aincient Roman city, that I've seen. In a year later I saw the Roman Collosseo and other sights which became prototypes of Arles's constructions. I saw them in Arles for the first time, and it has made strong impression.
After falling of Rome in Middle Ages about 879 Arles became the capital of Kingdom Arl. Then it got in sphere of influence of the German confederation. It is interesting, that in 1178 Friderich Barbarossa was crowned here. In 1487 Arles was attached to France.
The name of the great Provence poet Frederik Mistral also is connected with Arles and Rhone.
Till XV century Provence had the Provencal language, but as a result "a common-French alliance" it gave up the place to French. However since XIX century language revives - verses and songs on Provencal are well known. Alphons Dode introduced Provencal air and accent in the French prose.
Starry Night over the Rhone is one of Vincent van Gogh's famous paintings of Arles at night.
The challenge of painting at night intrigued Van Gogh. The perspective he chose for Starry Night over the Rhone allowed him to capture the reflections of the gas lighting in Arles across the glimmering blue water of the Rhone.
The sky above is illuminated by the constellation known as the Great Bear.
In the foreground, two lovers enjoy the soft, soothing night light as they stroll by the banks of the river.
Depicting color was of great importance to Vincent. In letters to his brother, Theo van Gogh, he often described objects in his paintings in terms of color. His night paintings, including Starry Night over the Rhone, emphasize the importance he placed in capturing the sparkling colors of the night sky and the artificial lighting that was new to this period.
Oil on canvas
72.5 x 92.0 cm
Musée d'Orsay Paris
Lettre à Théo :
" ... Pour ce qui est du travail, j'ai rapporté une toile de 15 aujourd'hui, c'est un pont-levis sur lequel passe une petite voiture, qui se profile sur le ciel bleu - la rivière bleue également, des berges orangées avec verdure, un groupe de laveuses aux caracos et bonnets bariolés ..."
"Today I brought back a canvas of a drawbridge with a little cart going over it, outlined against a blue sky --- the river blue as well, the banks orange-coloured, with green grass and a group of washerwomen in smocks and many-coloured caps. And I have another landscape with a little country bridge and more washerwomen; also an avenue of plane trees near the station."
Vincent van Gogh painted this drawbridge in Arles in 1888.
Located just outside of the town of Arles.
Get a self-guided map (about $2US) available at the town's local newspaper and it should give you further information and directions to the bridge and other spots of interest in Arles