But due to the rain, we had to change our plans and instead Thomas's' Dad Max drove us to Arles about 90km away.
Arles is famous for inspiring Van Gogh's painting, and having been part of ancient Rome is home to many Roman monuments.
The day was gray, but at least we didn't get wet while walking around.
On arrival we went into the Tourist Information centre to get a map and some information in English, but the queue was huge and there wasn't anything on display that would help us, so we followed Max.
The area where the Roman monuments are has been declared a Unesco World Heritage Area since 1981.
The first street we walked in had some interesting things hanging from one side of the street to the other - plastic windmills, and statues hanging from umbrellas.
The Church of St. Trophime is a Roman Catholic church and former cathedral, built between the 12th and 15th century.
The two level Roman Amphitheatre was built in 90 A.D., capable of seating 20 thousand spectators. It's still used today for concerts and plays and unfortunately for bullfighting during one of Arles festivals.
One of three spas discovered in Arles are the Constantine Baths, dating from the 4th century A.D., believed to have been part of the Palace of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. The brick and limestone structure was the center of Roman society, a place for exercise and hygiene, with pools, saunas, changing rooms and exercise rooms.
The Roman Theater was built in the 1st century during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Seating 8 thousand people, over 33 tiers of steps. Only a few pillars and columns remain, and the theater is used for Summer concerts and sporting events.
We had some difficulty choosing lunch at "Les Ateliers" restaurant, at Victor Hugo Avenue, but in the end we made the right choice and the food was very nice.
Just across the street was this very modern building being constructed - Parc des Ateliers.
After some investigation I found out that the area where the building is coming up, was previously the old railway yards, now being redeveloped.
The piece de resistance is the 56mt high twisting building made of stainless steel, metal panels and glass, designed by Frank Gehry, and which will make Arles the centre for art and creativity, with the building having galleries, workshops, a cafe and restaurant and a glass atrium open to the public. Started in 2014, it's expected to be finished by 2019.
After lunch we walked towards the river Rhône and walked along the promenade.
It was here that Van Gogh painted the picture entitled "Starry night over the Rhone" in September 1888. There were quite a few cruise ships docked here too.
I loved the history and art of Arles, but found the town lacked some colour, that is apart from some beautiful blue and green doors and windows and a small street whose houses were covered in greenery, so quaint.
|Other interesting monuments|
|A beautiful area where houses were covered with greenery|
And before departing to Marseille we had time to sit down and have a drink at the Garden Cafe, on the ground floor of the Hotel Le Calendal. The front esplanade was full, so we were offered a table in the back garden, and it was cool and green, a great spot to spend a while savouring a slice of cake and tea, and a great way to end our visit to Arles.
I also loved their chandelier with hanging cups and saucers in one of the rooms we walked through on our way to the garden.
|Garden Cafe at the Hotel Le Calendal - Karina, Max, Thomas and Jose standing.|
**Follow this link to read about Day 1 and 2 in Marseille.