Abbaye Montmajour


My last weekend in Arles had finally arrived and it also so happened to be the only opportunity to go to the Montmajour Abbey for free before the high season starts. Only the day before had been a 20km cycle to the wine festival and I wondered if I could do another, not because of distance or difficulty but purely because the seats are just sooo uncomfortable. Poor Johanna had to listen to my little words of affirmation, “We can do this! We’re going to be JUST fine!” even though my voice was clearly telling another story.

Not even a kilometer away from the house and I think we were both in a bit of agony but I KNEW I wanted the satisfaction of the ride and I knew that my jeans weren’t about to get any bigger after all the bread, cheese, wine, speculoos and a trip to the abbey in the car. Within a few minutes I had forgotten and the weather kept us both cool as we cycled. I seemed to finally be picking up speed because for the few weeks prior I felt like the one trailing behind everyone else as I got accustomed to being on a bike again.

I have to say that while the site was stunning there was something very bittersweet about the whole experience. I’d just finally had time to think about the fact that I was leaving Arles, leaving these new friends and not being able to take them with me going to a site that has sounded more and more difficult at every turn. It was a bit overcast so it even just had that looming feeling of sadness in the air.

Once we’d made it through the crypt we went outside into the now open graves and sat eating yogurt and granola. It felt a little weird but we needed to eat so we could make it back home without dying of hunger. As luck would have it the plastic bag that carried all our food caught wind and landed inside of a partially covered grave. I left it until we finished but fishing it out just felt so wrong. Remind me to be more careful next time, also remind me that a picnic in a graveyard is strange and not like me.

We ran around the site in record time trying to hit every part of it before it closed but also trying to take it all in. It was so pretty and definitely somewhere I’d recommend to visitors. We had to run up the tower in order to make it on time but it was a stunning view and we were rather winded from the experience. It was a little freaky because there are bit gaps where it looks straight down (look for the photo of my foot.)

All in all I’m glad we went, the ride was pretty, I felt good about finishing it and was thankful to have cycled more than 40km’s this weekend.

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