On Friday, a few of us took the train to Arles, which is a couple hours east from Aix, for the day. We started early, and the day was pretty gloomy, but Arles was a beautiful city full of vibrant colors, even though the empty streets made it seem like a ghost town at times.
We started the visit with the ancient amphitheater and and arena that date back to Roman times in France. Sadly, the structures were left as ruins when the empire fell and the rise of Christianity in France caused men to take stones from the Roman remains to build other churches and structures in the city. However, the history that remains is still beautiful to behold, and both sites have been reconstructed for use in concerts and events today.
After seeing the Roman remains, our group visited the Vincent Van Gogh foundation and spent time looking at its current exhibit: Urs Fischer’s “Mon Cher…” (https://www.fondation-vincentvangogh-arles.org/en/expositions/urs-fischer/). The exhibit included an amazing installation and many other unique pieces. The main installation consisted of hundreds of cast bronze pieces suspended from the ceiling; it was simply mesmerizing to meander through. The foundation is also home to Van Gogh’s “Undergrowth.”
We spent the rest of the day wandering the streets; bright blue is a popular color for shutters and doors in Arles. The little city made for a great day trip, and I would love to visit again on a sunny day in the spring- we never found the Roman aqueducts on this trip so I have the perfect excuse to return.