Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Week in Provence

Our home in Provence, the first half at least

Honoree whipping up dinner

Our terrace - it was warm enough one night to eat out there

Our very attractive living room

Walt clowning (and cooking)

During our time on the boat we checked around on the internet for a rental for the week following in Provence and Honoree came across a charming place listed on the internet. It turned out to be a great place with a terrific couple hosting us (details on a forthcoming blog entry detailing all of our hotels, restaurants etc.) It was just outside of Arles and allowed us to visit a number of cities and sights around the area.

Scott on the Rhone River walkway

Posing for the auto timing camera at dinner time

Arles had some interesting street art

Arles itself is very charming with a number of well preserved Roman remains, a theater, an amphitheater, viaduct and necropolis among others. It is an ancient city known to be a Ligurian community by 800 BC, then Celtic and Phoenician before being taken by the Romans in 123 BC. It was an important center for the late Roman period and continued on as a major port on the Rhone until the introduction of trains. Vincent van Gogh lived there for a time and was visited there by Gauguin.

And a bustling informal  flea market

Fall colors on the ivy covered walls

Typical narrow streets

The beautiful main square with it's obelisk

The Coliseum is still used for many events

As is the theater

Scott, Walt, Honoree and myself also visited Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, both beautiful cities. The first is also set on the Rhone, further north and is often referred to as the City of Popes as they were in residence from 1309 to 1423. It is one of the few cities in France to retain it's ramparts and it is very atmospheric for sure. Like Arles it was an early Roman city and then occupied by the Goths in the 5th C, followed by the Saracens and the Franks. In 1033 it became part of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1274 it became a possession of the Popes and in 1309 it was chosen by Clement V to be his residence. This caused a schism in the Catholic Church but even after that was resolved the city remained part of the Papacy until 1709 when it was finally joined to France. The Palace of the Popes takes a hours to visit as it is enormous. Here as elsewhere we have found the audio guides indispensable.

Main courtyard inside the Palace

This bridge was destroyed a number of times and they've given up

View up at the Palace facade from the Plaza

Looking down at the Cathedral

Honoree with friends in the Crypt

Interior of the Cathedral

Cobblestone plaza with Walt and Honoree

The Public Market "Les Halles" with it's garden exterior

The Grand Staircase in the Palace

The view of the pliza in front of the Pope's Palace from the roof

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