Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Arles

The Arena de Arles.  They have recently cleaned and repaired the stones, so it will stand another 2000 years, hopefully.
Arles is a very old city, originally settled by the Greeks, then expanded by the Romans, who also used it as a place to retire. Not a bad idea, really.  Everywhere you look there are bits of old and in some cases, huge chunks!  Take the arena.  A coloseum still in excellent condition and used regularly for bull fights.  Around the corner is the theatre, which has been extensively rebuilt, now with a marvelous sound system and comfortable seating. One the main square near the Maire is a portion of wall that is left from the Forum, now a parfum shop. 

The Romans were here.

Looking over the rooftops of old town Arles.
The church is here also, but in recent years, since we were here in 2005, it has had it's history painted over.   The church is nicely lighted, brighter paints, but the markings of the Knights Templar, with they symbols used by the Masons, are gone.  If we didn't have pictures from our visit, we might think we were remembering wrong.  I guess it didn't fit in with the current Catholic views.  Too bad, it was really an interesting thing to see and wonder about.  Also, the Knights Templar were the ones who originally built the church.

There were a lot of people waiting for the church to open after lunch.

This fountain in square was in use during Roman times, but has been rebuilt several times since.

The Treasury has more reliquaries than most.  There is quite a collection of bones, hair and skulls in beautiful gold boxes, along with your usual candlesticks and incense burners. 
I enjoy being in Arles.  I looked at a few shops, but mainly, I either found a place to sit or stand and just looked at the town.  When we were here in 2005 while New Orleans was still flooded, two men in the market place, when realizing we were from New Orleans, invited us to move to Arles.  "We would welcome you with open arms.  And we don't flood here, either."  Except for the flooding part, that seems to be the way alot of French feel.
The reliquary of Ste Triomph.  She and her brother who has the same name in the masculine form are the patrons of the church.

The inside is much lighter and brighter than our last visit.
If you haven't seen enough, then go to the museum romain.  We have been to hundreds of museums, from small county ones in Texas to the Louvre, and this one ranks up there with the big boys.  The displays are perfect, the signage good and the lighting, magnificent!  And, most important of all, there is space enough to see and appreciate the displays.  While looking at one of the artifacts recovered from the river, the man standing next to us started talking to another in English, instead of French.  Turns out he was the one who had found this particular item, as well as many others!  We think they were speaking English to keep the French people at arms length, and since we were the only English speakers we ran into all day, it worked.
This head was from a tomb, don't you just love the hair?

This was the bronze lady that was found in the river.  She is a work of art.

No comments: