Arles and The Camargue – Part One

A recipe for an easy 100 km ride:

1. Two reasonably fresh legs.
2. A dash of dead calm.
3. Two well-inflated tires.
4. The Camargue (this is the secret ingredient)!

The cycling gods blessed me with a near-perfect riding day today, so I took the hint and hopped on the train down to Arles, so I could explore the Camargue a bit. It ended up being pretty long and I took lots of pictures, so I’ll cut this one up into two parts.

A few shots of Arles. It seems that they, like Nìmes, have jumped on the clean-your-Roman-stuff bandwagon because I’m positive the amphitheater didn’t look this new last time I was there.

The 2nd photo is interesting (to me at least). The Roman remains of Languedoc are still here most likely because they had a purpose throughout the ages. So, this amphitheater, like the one in Nìmes, was converted into a fortress during the Middle Ages. You can see the square tower that still remains. I don’t know about this one, but the one in my town had a whole village INSIDE (the amphitheater, not the tower..)!

On my way through the old town I snapped a couple of pictures of the Romanesque portal of the cathedral. It really is something to behold and, according to Wiki, is one of the best examples of Romanesque sculpture you can find anywhere.

Arles is also famous for being the home-away-from-home for Vincent Van Gogh. He lived here for a year and a bit (1888 and 1889) and painted a slew of stuff, including this.

Which looks like this in real life today.

Here’s a link to the Van Gogh museum in Holland with his works from Arles.

Once I left Arles the road opened up onto the flat Camargue and, without any wind or cars, it was a real pleasure.

But it’s funny how fickle the mind can be. For about 10 km I was blissfully riding along, thinking how wonderful everything in the world was, then after 15 km or so I started thinking that a hill might be nice, or maybe a village…even a cow would do. But no, it was 40 km of this before I turned and crossed the Rhone. Well, there were some wind turbines…

Then I crossed the Rhone River, but that will have to wait till tomorrow.

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