Le Ville D’Arles


Remember what I said about not stalling the car on my first drive out when I as just learning? Well… apparently I just needed to be humbled a bit. Ha! I’ve more than made up for it since then alone. I wish I’d had Claire take a photo of me embarrassed but laughing my face off after missing an ENTIRE green light. Awesome. Yep, it’s true and I’m the first to admit to it. As silly as I felt, there’s little more that you can do but just laugh at that point. After many, many attempts of starting it, it finally dawned on me to make sure I’d actually put the shifter in first gear and sure enough… it didn’t quite make it all the way to the left! Third is not an ideal place to start… So then it started but Claire was laughing, I was laughing and I don’t think either of us could believe how many times I tried and tried again. At least I’m consistent right?

So we had a *great* start… That was really where the calamity ended but I felt so silly and yet I probably needed the good laugh after being housebound all week and most of the housemates being away with family this weekend. It was a mentally exhausting moment trying to figure out why every other time I tried to pull away from the stop line I was fine and this particular time was such a struggle. I even managed to make it through many roundabouts (which are many around here) with all the crazy French drivers and doing a u-turn on a main route without any issues but somehow yeah… well there’s nothing more to really say about it! Just thought I’d admit to it.

Claire was my tour guide for the morning, she’s been feeling the pain of not getting out enough lately and climbing and admits to being a little bored of Arles but agrees to show me around anyways. I informed her that when the weather warms up, I plan on bouldering the house with her! Though I like climbing… so maybe this deal is still working out better for me…

So in terms of where I’m staying I have to say it’s a bit hard living just outside of the city-centre at the moment. Yes, I’m doing alright keeping busy while being stuck here, BUT I like to explore where I live and it’s been a bit hard having been stuck inside all week. In a way living out here makes you feel like a tourist in your own city when you do make it in. It isn’t quite the whole experience of living in France, though as soon as it’s above the freezing level and we can get on our bikes I’m sure I’ll be humming another tune as I have a bag full of baguettes! So the house isn’t technically in central Arles, we live just outside of Pont-de-Crau which is itsy bitsy and borders town but I’m pretty sure it’s not on a map. From Pont-de-Crau we’re off on a country road a couple kilometres down where it’s good and quiet. I still have yet to figure out my never ending question of which I like more, city or country? I’m not sure I’ll ever know. Some days I want nature and the warm fireplace and the next day I want to walk down the street where life abounds. I love both and want both, surely one day I’ll have a more concrete answer…

All the same, we drove into Arles and we walked down the narrow ancient streets lined with shops and cafes and Roman ruins. Colourful doors, shutters and even an old French man biking past in a black beret seeming to be right out of a Provencal painting. Being a little late in the day we didn’t see too many places but we did have a look at the Cathedral which was stunning and full of charm unlike others I’ve seen so far, large rock slabs for floors that are perfectly uneven and easy to trip over but so picturesque and something felt so lovely about them. The doors were so old and ominous inside I wish I could have had some of you along to see it. Afterward she took me over to the garden that Van Gogh famously painted looking just like it did when he lived here, they seem to have really preserved his legacy even though I’m told you can’t actually find any of his paintings in the city. I picked up a few postcards at a shop nearby where I found aerial views of this old Roman city, the way it borders along the Camargue. Fortunately we got to go into the amphitheater before it closed and looked at all the old fallen pillars and worn down steps. I can only imagine what kind of performances and gatherings happened here. It was bitterly cold despite the sun so we didn’t stay too long, just enough to see a beautiful little three split level bookshop with an amazing collection of art books, one of Chagall that I know Jen and I would have easily spent some time thumbing through and a cookbook that nearly had me setting up shop, had a kitchen magically appeared before me. Perfectly French, full of seasonal flavors and stunningly photographed!

Before heading home I dropped off a couple pieces of mail to send a little love back home and we carried on as Arles had closed up for the evening. Oh France… you always close early.

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