Friday, April 20, 2012

Days 3 and 4, Nice to Arles

Enroute by bus to Arles, we made a stop at the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial in Draguignan.  Servicemen who were killed in action during the southern offensive of France are buried here, 861 in all.  There are 294 names of Missing in Action on a retaining wall.  Also, there are 61 graves with a Roman cross that state:  Here Rests in Honored Glory A Comrade In Arms Known Only To God.  Recently, remains of one serviceman were identified and removed to the U.S. for reburial by his family.  We had a moment of silence for our fallen comrades.

We continued on to Arles where we boarded our riverboat.  The next morning we took our guided walking tour into Arles.  This city provided grain for most of the western empire, was a crucial port and ship building center and in the 4th century was capital of Gaul, Britain and Spain.

The most impressive remaining architecture is the Arenes, built in the first century, originally seated 20,000 and is still used today for bullfights.  It is being cleaned and I tried to get a picture showing the clean versus the dirty.

Wisteria was in bloom in almost all of the cities we visited.  And I took pictures every time I saw them.  I'm a sucker for purple flowers - wisteria, lilacs, irises, pansies, etc.  You'll have to bear with me.

Arles' other claim to fame is Vincent Van Gogh.  He spent time here n 1888 and 1889 including time in a hospital being treated for what we would call depression.  He painted some of his finest works during this time. 

Cafe Terrace at Night, then and now.

The Asylum Garden at Arles, then and now.

Van Gogh also painted The Starry Night Arles which is housed in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and The Yellow House Arles on exhibit in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, that we visited in 2006.

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