End of a lazy day in Arles


Since we were in Arles on a Sunday and holiday Monday, the town was sleepier than usual. Many stores were closed and it didn’t seem to be high tourist season yet. We headed for the main square, the Place de la Republique.

Arles - City Hall wheelie

In front of the City Hall entrance - the perfect place to pop a wheelie!

Here we saw the town hall (Hotel de Ville) with its magnificent clock tower, the Cathédrale St.Trophime to the right and the smaller 17th century Eglise Ste.Anne, on the left.

Arles Main Square

Great little band, small audience in the sleepy town.

In the middle of the square is quite a beautiful obelisk fountain. It’s a 20m high Egyptian-type obelisk that the Romans built in the 4th century for a circus to mark the finishing line for chariot races. Apparently it was abandoned in the 6th century and then re-discovered (lying in a field?) in 1389 and placed in the centre of the square in 1676.

We did a quick walk through the City Hall and Cathédrale St.Trophime (which really deserved more time in retrospect), but the most charming thing was this little Provencal reggae band, Keur Fidel, playing by the fountain.

We stayed for a few songs and I shot this little video.

Walking out of the other end of the square, we found ourselves in one of the main shopping streets. We wondered whether this was it for the locals since it seemed to mainly cater to tourists or feature kitchen goods, but found out later that of course, out on the edges of town were a number of big superstores. Just like over here I guess.

Arles - main shopping street

Very cute, but mostly closed.

Arles - china chickens in window

The china chickens seem to be a hit in Arles. We saw them in a few windows.

All that walking made us thirsty, so we headed for the Place du Forum, and rather than sit in Van Gogh’s café, we headed for the bullfighter café for our pastis. We sat at the bar like a couple of regulars.

Arles - bull fighter cafe flowers

Our view from the bar.

Arles - bull fighter cafe bull head

He lost the fight, but lives on in glory.

The only thing left to do was to figure out dinner. We made our way back towards the hotel to change and then decided to check out one of the side streets that has row of little restaurants.

Arles - restaurant row mannequin

We ate at Le Criquet. It was as charming as it looks.

We picked one, were given a little table by the window, and soon found ourselves with neighbours – a pair of Australian women on a little vacation together. A three month vacation! They were quite funny, and of course shocked by the meager North American vacations that we seem to have. It caused us think…

Life is short. There are many little restaurants in many little French towns to explore.


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