Arles - A Roman City, very much alive today
From Salon to Arles is now a quick drive through the Crau, semi-desert of small pebbles that human determination and hard work have managed to transform into a n agricultural paradise, specielly south of the A51 freeway where irrigation has transformed this once arid place into rice fields and north of the freeway into orchards, but some of it is still unsuitable for cultivation.
Arles is worth several days of your time, specially from May to Septembere when the city tranforms itself into a Centre for the Arts, including sculptures exhibitions - this year it is all about Rodin -, concerts and a world famous photographic exhibition. You can download the program (in French) for this year here:
Arles is built of a local white stone which gives the city its character and sense of continuity between the Roman buildings and the more recent constructions. Don't forget to bring a real film camera with black & white films!
Nowadays obviously, you can fake the B&W film with any good digital camera, but that's not as much fun...
For the foodies out there, you have to be in Arles on a Saturday morning to attend the local market which is stretching for 2.5 kms alongside one of the busiest arteries and featuring some 450 stalls, including fruits, vegetables, meat and fish, spices, olive oil, pots and pans, clothes, etc...
Camargue - Delta between the Petit Rhone and the Grand Rhone
Arles is the gateway to the Camargue, a wild area of wetlands, where humans, toros, wild horses, pink flamingos and rice fields compete with the water to survive and prosper. Its only city, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is a traditional refuge for Gypsies who come from all over Europe on August 15th to celebrate the Virgin Mary. Not to be missed!
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
A link here for our non-metric readers: