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Monday, September 12, 2011

Arles, France: Land of Van Gogh and Spanish Influence

The city of Arles ("arl") is where Van Gogh painted sunflowers, starry nights and his apartment — and left part of his ear behind. The sunflowers are far past their prime in September, but Van Gogh's name is on many streets and businesses.

We happened to arrive on the day of the town's festival of the bull, which shows the influence of nearby Spain and the caballeros who work the nearby camargue on their white horses. Although we didn't have any, the meal of the day was paella, served as a special at every restaurant and the many street tents set up for the day.

The other dramatic influence here is in the form of huge stone amphitheaters and other buildings built by the ancient Romans, and still being used today in many cases. This is a rebellious part of France historically, much more Protestant than the heavily Catholic rest of France, and a place where the rulers in Rome or Paris could always expect trouble and an argument that led to violence.

But like the rest of France, the food is wonderful. We lunched on salads because we were still sated from our rich restaurant meal the previous night. Salad Niçoise is one of the regional favorites, and ours was refreshing, light and just the right amount to keep us walking and gawking.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post. I am a gypsy by heart and really love to travel. This is my first vist to your blog, but it will not be my last. I love the food and recipes you share with your readers and I enjoyed the time I spent here today. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary