September 2, 2014
02.09.2014 - 03.09.2014
Up early and had breakfast. Checked tourist brochures in a basket here then packed cameras and set off for a day in Arles. We managed to get there in jig time only stopping for gas and a pretty unsuccessful attempt to clean the windshield . . . no towels at the station. Continued into Arles and quickly found free parking. Love Arles parking; there is always a place. We walked into the Old Town and started exploring. We all wanted to show Peg our favorite things. We stopped in several souvenir shops looking at everything from ceramic crickets to expensive linens but restrained ourselves. Peg did buy a really cute little salt and pepper set. You can only exercise so much restraint . . .
Found the Roman arena and got photos as we walked around it. Ed got out an Arles walk card and after we took photos of the ancient Roman Theater behind the Coliseum, we started the walk. It took us into the public garden with great views of the Roman Theater and then a neat monument to Van Gogh.
Our walk took us to the peripherique boulevard so we started looking for lunch. We finally settled on Brasserie des Lys with a bull fighting theme. We all got the 19.50 euro menu. Ed got the melon and ham sec starter and the rest of us got the much-loved hot goat cheese salad. For a main, Jean got the bavette (steak); Peg got salmon in parchment and Ed & I got Daube de Taureau (bull stew) . . . all excellent. Ed got crème brulée for dessert and the rest of us got a little cake with chocolate chips and crème Anglais. [Brasserie des Lys, 14 Boulevard des Lices, 13200, Arles; tel. +33 (0)4 9047 4223; https://www.facebook.com/La-Brasserie-Des-Lys-978084125586168/]
We started our walk again and followed our noses into a lavender shop where a very nice lady gave us lots of information but the prices were more than we were willing to pay so we wandered on. We found Place de la Republique and paid to visit the Cloisters of St. Trophime. The cloisters were wonderful but the current photo/art exhibit was a travesty . . . not unusual in French monuments. It is often best to focus on the monument and ignore the exhibits although we've seen a few excellent ones.
Moved on to the Cathedral of St. Trophime and took lots of photos . . . tapestries, windows, relics, statues . . . Then we tried to find the folk museum but it was closed for renovations. Started back toward the car planning some shopping on the way. Ed & I got the Van Gogh book that had the Van Gogh walk in Arles in it. Peg had already gotten a cute little ceramic salt and pepper and we were all looking for things. I got a gorgeous white scarf and Peg found a great Van Gogh tote bag. We ended our shopping spree on the square with four bottles of cold Perrier that we immediately consumed. It has been amazingly hot for September.
Our waiter at lunch gave us directions to Monoprix so we walked over and got wine, cheese, including a St. Felicien and a nice melon. We had stopped at a boulanger on the way so had our bread. We're all set for supper tonight.
Then the fun began . . . getting out of Arles at rush hour. One wrong turn and we were lost in the cramped, narrow streets with a confused GPS and apparently no way out, doomed to wander the warren of streets in ancient Arles forever . . . We finally followed a truck and managed to get on the road home where we got two loads of laundry done and hung before supper. Hooray . . . clean clothes.