Arles Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Arles

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    Examine the Cloister of the Church of St. Trophime

    by hquittner Updated Jan 23, 2011

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    From Inside the Cloister
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    The Cloister of St. Trophime was built between 1150-60, before the famous facade which was finished in 1180. Only two side of the cloister were done at that time, the other two galleries were completed in the 14C and were done in Gothic style. The capitals are figured and there are sets of free standing deeply cut statues held to the pilasters set at the ends and between each four set of slender columns similar to the earliest ones at Chartres.

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    Study Works That Two Museums Integrate

    by hquittner Updated Jan 18, 2011

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    Hadrian
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    The new Musee de l'Arles Antique replaces collections in two disused 17C churches in the middle of town. The materials were found in and around Arles, giving a continuous picture of the area which ends during the 5C. The only significant structures created between then and the building of the Cathedral are the towers on the Arena walls and one at the Theater. The pagan and Christian sections still separate themselve, as they must. There are statues and busts in the early Roman period. Mosaics become the style before 400AD. In the 5C religious sarcophagi with pagan motifs still exist with such as this hunt . Note the persistence of a beardless Christ in picture five.

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    The Theater Is Near the Arena

    by hquittner Updated Jan 16, 2011

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    Theater And Remaining Whole Corinthian Columns
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    The Theater is the oldest public Roman building in Arles. It was erected in about 30 BC during the reign of Augustus and seated over 7,000. It originally was backed by a fine portico with many slender Corinthian columns with only two whole ones still standing. Heavy damage occurred in the early Christian period and it became a quarry but some 20 rows of seats still stand. A tall tower stands behind the seats at the south end in the medieval period. At this time there are summer activities, most important the Festival of the Queen of Arles with dance and song from all of Provence and there others as well, where old costume is seen everywhere.

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    On the Blvd. des Lices and In the Jardin d'Ete

    by hquittner Written Jan 15, 2011

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    Indicating Where van Gogh Sat
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    The main street of Arles is the Blvd. des Lices, a wide roadway lined along one side with many cafes and shaded by plane trees. It is here that on Wednesday and Saturday morning is held the weekly market. Above the street is the Jardin d'Ete, which is just down the hill from the Theater. One of the copies of a van Gogh work is located here to indicate a place where he painted. On the south side of the Blvd. is the Jardin d'Hiver and further south are Les Alyscamps.

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    Enter the Arena & Possibly Attend A Festival

    by hquittner Written Jan 15, 2011

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    Inside the Amphitheater
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    The most important ancient building in Arles is its Amphitheater ("les Arenes") seated near the top of the central hill. It was built in 80 AD measuring 133x107 m, shortly after a smaller one in Nimes; both were erected by T. Crispius. The Arena has two remaining levels, each with arcades and 60 arches and at one time there was an attic level above for the slaves. It is decorated by lower level Doric pilasters and upper Corinthian partial columns. After 550, the plague hit Arles followed by various invasions and it became a fortress and was walled up. In the 12 and 13C it became a bastide with over 200 habitations, two chapels and four watch towers of which three still stand. In the 19C the rubble was cleared and the Arena has be used in the summer for festivals, Spanish corridas and the "course la cocade", a Provencal bull fight competition, which we describe in a Local Custom.

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    The Mysterious Cryptoporticus

    by hquittner Written Jan 12, 2011

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    In the Cryptoporticus With Part of a Column
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    An entrance into part of the vanished Forum is a subterranean structure measuring 348 x 236 feet, which is quite tall with air shafts high on the walls which open into the area where the forum once occupied. There are two galleries in it with a connecting end and it is thought that this wa used to store grain, but some pieces of statuary have been found here. Only a couple of similar structures have been found among all of the Roman remains.

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    See the Inside of the Church of St. Trophime

    by hquittner Updated Jan 11, 2011

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    Nave of Church Toward East
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    The inside of the Church of St. Trophime is unusually tall, wspecially for a 12C church but the nave is quite narrow and has four bays. It has heavy pillars and a longitudinal barrel vaulting. The choir was rebuilt in the 15C. There are two two ancient sarcophagi used in the church, one used as a font with two tiers of 14 figures and the other an elaborate Crossing of the Red Sea. There are many Aubusson tapestries on the walls and the treasury contains a great many reliquaries.

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    Visit Les Alyscamps South of the Central CityAltho

    by hquittner Written Jan 11, 2011

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    The Lane In the Alyscamps With the Sarcophagi
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    Although the cemetery was once over a mile long and half a mile wide, it is now only a wide lane with the remains of sarcophagi along the sides leading to parts of the Church of St. Honorat , which is now fragments of a Carolingian church and a 12C Romanesque chancel and two story belfry with a lantern and watch candle at the top. Coffins were once sent from further up stream along with burial fees attached to be interred in this holy place where St. Trophime and others worked miracles. It was a Roman burial area before the 4C. In the 15C began its decline, as most of the tombs were pillaged for their sculptures as gifts by the local and distant nobility. Only a few of the fine ones have survived in the new Musee de l''Arles Anitique. Two of the best are in the Church of St.Trophime. Van Gogh painted here and a poster is displayed of one of his views.

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    Walk Through the Hotel de Ville

    by hquittner Written Jan 10, 2011

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    Ground Floor of Hotel de Ville
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    The Hotel de Ville was built as an expansion of a 16C bell tower which is topped by a bronze statue of Mars. The building was started by Peytret but it a work of Mansart in the next century. It has a ground floor supported by columns and covered by an unusual wide flattened arch ceiling which is studied by students of architecture and its graceful outer arrangement of parts is also worth a view. A copy of the Venus of Arles stands on the landing on the way to the first floor. The statue was unearthed in digging out the ancient Theater; it is standing in the Louvre. The ground floor is commonly used as a passageway between viewing the Obelisk in the square and walking north to the Place du Forum.

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    Visit the Palace and Baths of Constantine

    by hquittner Updated Jan 9, 2011

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    The Baths: At the Calidarium

    At the hieght of the reign of Constantine in the early 4C, Arles was the leading Roman city in Gaul and aso in the entire nirthwest part of the Empire. Constantine liked to live here and built a palace and a set of baths next to it at the edge of the Rhone river. All that remains of the two structures is parts of the baths: a semicircular apse like "calidarium" and wall pieces of the tepidarium. The buildings are built with rough blocks of stone (opus mixtum) and interwoven courses of red thin bricks. Another set of baths were once in the area where the Pl. Republique now stands with its obelisk from the Roman Circus .

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    The Famous Place du Forum

    by hquittner Updated Jan 8, 2011

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    Corinthian Columns in Pl. du Forum
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    The only remnants of the Forum are the two large Corinthian columns in the north wall of the square. They adjoin the Nord-Pinus Hotel. Actually this would have been the south edge of the original Forum. Today in the center of the square is a statue to Frederic Mistral ("not to Buffalo Bill") who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1904 and who is the f greatest man of Arles. As part of his writing, he he also wished to preserve and keep alive the Provencal language. Because of this work, he used the money to purchase a 16C Hotel near here in which is the Arlaten Museum and where this scholarly work continues. The Museum should be visited. On the northwest side of the square is where van Gogh set up his easel, outside of one of the bars, to paint the "Cafe du Soir", where there is now a picture placard to mark the spot. There is nothing that van Gogh created that remaining in Arles. The more famous "Cafe de Nuit" was done in Pl. Lamartine (just north of the Ramparts) but the area was bombed away during WW II. The square is never the less a pleasant place wherein to finish the evening.

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    The Dioramas At the Arlaten Demand Careful Study

    by hquittner Updated Jan 6, 2011

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    Christmas Eve Dinner
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    The dioramas inside the Arlaten are quite fine. They are the equal of those at any of the Tussaud galleries. One is a Christmas Eve gathering in the home of a Camargue family. Another is a visit to the dressmaker with several workers sewing away. Still another displays a visit by female friends to a mother and newborn child bringing them special symbolic gifts. There are detailed collections of aspects of dress such as head ware. Some displays require individual notice here.

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    The Museon Arlaten Has Roman Remains and More

    by hquittner Updated Jan 6, 2011

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    Courtyard of Museon Arlaten
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    The Museon Arlaten was created by Frederic Mistral, the Nobel Prize Winner in Literature in 1904, with his reward. He acquired the 16C Hotel de Laval- Castellane in which he created this fine collection of the local traditions of Provence. One enters the courtyard of the museum where there are pieces of an exedra from the old Forum on their original spot (?) and ancient statues re-set at the entry level. Inside there are collections detailing each aspect of daily life as it was before the 20C in Arles. There are dioramas as well that alone are worth the admission fee. It is hoped that this can be expanded in the future.

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    Pl. de la Republique Is the Center of Town.

    by hquittner Written Jan 3, 2011

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    Obelisk at Pl. de la Republique
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    The Place de la Republique has at its center an ancient Egyptian obelisk which originally stood at the center of the chariot races or Circus (the spina) of Ancient Arles, st nearby. It was placed here in 1675 when the base was added with the lions and masks and the surrounding fountain. Across the square to 17C its west is the disused Church of the Jesuit's which was lately used as a museum of Christian Art. On the North side is the Hotel de Ville and on the South are commercial outlets.

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    A Romanesque Sculptured West Facade

    by hquittner Written Jan 1, 2011

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    Lower West Facade of Basilica
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    50 years after the first tympani with sculpted facades appeared at Moissac and Toulouse, they began to appear on the west facades of some Romanesque churches in the south of France. One of these was at St.Trophime in Arles.. As was usual in larger churches, there were also carvings on most of the rest of the facade as the art form expanded. The tympanum at Arles contains an Apocalyptic Christ with the four beasts.

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Arles Things to Do

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