To Avign…er Arles!

I had a ride into Provence planned for today, and I guess I succeeded in at least that part of it, but was thwarted in my destination pick. But we’ll get to that later. I took the train over to Nimes and headed off towards the east, and Provence, with hopes of reaching Avignon and a straight shot back on the train later in the day. This is a tiny, lonely, and remarkably fortified chapel a few km outside Nimes.

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In a village nearby I found proof that the French do indeed have a sense of humour. The break-and-enter Santa seems to be all the rage this Christmas season in France.

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Along the ride I learned something. Just because the wind blows one way in Montpellier doesn’t mean it will cooperate 50 km up the road. I guess around Nimes (and definitely further east) the famous Mistral blows the crap out of everything and everybody, instead of the winds we get off the Cevennes north of Montpellier. Anyway, I have a new-found respect for this mighty breeze. I was literally riding sideways against it for half of the day (it was coming at me from the north), with gusts of up to 60 kph, if I can believe my iPhone. Anyhow, I was thoroughly defeated by this Mistral and needed to come up with a Plan B that wouldn’t drive me insane. So, I turned south towards Arles, off the main train line, but mercifully the same direction as the wind was flying. Here’s one of a few old Michelin road signs I’ve noticed around here, just outside Beaucaire.

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And here’s what was behind it, what I thought was the remains of an old church entrance. Turns out it was custom built like this, to house a cross of some importance, I guess.

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After this thing it was flat, straight, fast roads all the way to Arles. I had a top speed of 48 kph, and I was pretty much just coasting. Just before I entered Arles I also entered into Provence, the first time since we moved here (on two wheels at least), and my one goal for the day.

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Arles, famous for an artist’s house that no longer exists, a name impossible to pronounce correctly, and much, much more! I was in a mad rush to catch a train, so I only stopped to take a shot of this church in the main square. 

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