Posts Tagged ‘arles’

Our holidays in the Provence were coming to an end…

Arles

We returned to Arles, but again and again, what a surprise… we discovered a new location that we had not been to in our previous sojourns in the Provence! It’s a drawbridge which was a subject of several paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. It was the replica of the original Langlois Bridge (Pont de Langlois) or better known as Pont Van Gogh.

Walk

Nearby the Pont Van Gogh was a lovely walking trail that seemed to run to infinity. The surrounding flora were very simple; dried thistles, wild berries, shrubs and bushes, fathomless stream and dusty trails.

We seemed to be walking for ages until thirst and hunger got the better of us 🙂

We returned to the car and drove back to the centre of Arles. We found a good spot under a shady tree but had to walk quite a distance passing deserted alleys and back lanes.

We finally stopped at the first resto we saw, Le Bistrot des Artistes. Surprisingly, the choice of dishes were fab, but the service was quite slow, despite the fact that we did not order a set lunch for once. From too much of walking, we did not feel like eating too much variety of dishes, but were definitely more parched. Or perhaps we wanted to save space in our tummy for the much talked about artisanal ice-creams in Arles!

Last year my friend and her family stayed in Arles and she recommended an ice-cream parlour that served only artisanal ice-creams.

We thought we found it. It’s located just outside Le jardin de la Maison de Santé à Arles de Vincent Van Gogh (once upon a time a hospital). Whew! It’s a bit of a mouthful, innit?

It was there that Van Gogh was admitted after cutting his left earlobe. The Hospital of Arles is the subject of Van Gogh’s 2 paintings; one of them was the painting of the inner courtyard of the hospital called Le jardin de la Maison de Santé à Arles (Courtyard or Garden of the Hospital in Arles).

Oh by the way, the pink-coloured ice cream parlour we went to (Glacier Fraîcheur et Délices) was not the one my friend mentioned. She went to the yellow coloured ice cream shop called Soleileis. Anyway, there were several artisanal ice-cream makers in the vicinity of Arles. We just found one that succeeded to ‘cool’ us down on a hot day and both parlours were in close proximity to Place du Forum.

Unfortunately, the day was still young and there were no stars in the sky! Sorry, no starry night, Vincent 😉

Finally at Le Bistrot de La Galine!

It was Friday and our last day at La Maison Blanche. We were to check out the next morning.

Before wrapping up our stay at La Maison Blanche, we were looking forward to lunch at the nearby Le Bistrot de La Galine. We had missed that place just a week before because it was closed on a Sunday.

I had the Bistro menu of smoked duck salad and the local specialty of Camargue, Gardiane de Taureau à la Provençale served on a bed of tagliatelle. Both the starter and the main course were good until the house dessert came. The banana chocolate tart was an anticlimax, for me at least. It was just not my favourite, however, my younger son hit a home run with his choice of dishes; ravioli, burger and fries and tiramisu!

Back for the Muscat

Last year our trip to Beaumes-de-Venise was extraordinarily special with a hint of nostalgia. This year we only went to the wine tasting cave of Coyeaux. Yes, we came back for the muscat Beaume-de-Venise! After tasting 4 different Muscats, hubby bought the muscat Beaume de Venise rosé (2016). The 3 bottles followed us back some 1k km…

Knock! Knock! Who’s there?

We headed back to La Maison Blanche and guess who came to visit us?!!

Yay!!! Our friend came back! He may not have the friendliest of faces, but I guess for a dog’s expression that would probably be translated as his sensing our imminent departure from La Maison Blanche, hence the sad drooping look through the glass door of the back yard.

By the way (not in the photo), before the littlest hobo scampered away, he peed on the shrub bed, as if to tell us that he’d be back.

I’m sure he would or did, but with new tenants to pick up where we had left off…

Bonjour! Merci! Au revoir!

À bientôt!

Until we meet again!

From Bonjour to Hola!

We checked out La Maison Blanche at 10 am and left St-Rémy-de Provence in South France direction Girona, North East Spain!

Thus, ended our Provençal vacation, and the beginning of Catalonian summer escapades!

From Bonjour et Au revoir France to Hola España!

Spain, here we come !!

To be continued…

Enjoy the rest of the week. TGIF!

Cheers !

We left home exceptionally late and had a late breakfast. I was excited about the trip that day because I had pre-warned hubby about a sought-after kitchen item I wanted months before the Summer hols.

We left for La Camargue at 12.30pm. The GPS calculated a distance of 106 km from our holiday home.  It was the farthest distance  we’d travelled from origin to destination yet.

When we reached the Camargue, it was 1.30 pm ~ in the nick of time for some local dishes of the region. Lol!

What better way to indulge in moules et frites (mussels and fries) and le steak de taureau (bull steak) ! 



The Camargue
is home to black Bulls, prevalently white horses, migratory birds and pink flamingos. 

We were at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the capital of the Camargue. It’s a coastal town  situated in the Rhône river delta, hence, our lunch of mussels and bull steak befitted our trip there excellently. 


Walking in the centre of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer reminded me of some coastal towns in Belgium. 

It’s a charming little town, very clean, with touches of Spain; after all, the Camargue almost bordered Spain.

This floral corner was a popular photo shooting spot. I had to take several shots before I succeeded in getting the view without earthlings *big smiles*

My Quest Ended …

I know we could find this salt in some of our local supermarkets, but, it was not the same as buying it in the manufacturing town itself.  La Camargue

The trendiest salt used in most health-conscious kitchen is fleur de sel (flower of salt).  

My jaw dropped looking at the many types, colours and flavours of the salt displayed. It’s definitely not the cheapest salt type around. The fleur de sel from the Camargue was priced at Eur 2.50 per 100 g. I bought the big pot of 1kg, which was slightly cheaper than buying in break-bulk, plus a pot with a personal label!

I was a happy bunny 😉


Before leaving the town, we strolled along the coastline, which I later learnt about the close link with our next stop. 


Arles

We left La Camargue at 4 pm for Arles. Like the Camargue, Arles is a city on the Rhône River in the Provence region of southern France.

Arles is famed for inspiring the paintings of the Dutch painter, Vincent Van Gogh. That was precisely why we visited Arles that late afternoon. We headed for the Fondation Van Gogh where contemporary arts are displayed. 



Vincent Van Gogh 

The story of Vincent Van Gogh is rather poignant. He had not known fame or fortune during his lifetime, but he left a legacy of his thousands of artworks for us to appreciate. By the way, he sold only one painting during his lifetime, and became renowned after his suicide, at age 37, which followed years of deprivation and mental illness.


I was so glad I found this painting of the fishing boats on the Beach of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. We were just there that afternoon! 

Vincent Van Gogh painted this painting in 1888 when he lived in Arles and took a trip to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

As you can see, the painting of the fishing boats became a centre of attraction that afternoon. Lol!



Same Theme, Different Colours, Same Painter

If you noticed, the early paintings of Van Gogh when he was in the Netherlands, were always dark and bleak, as can be seen below (top left) of the Avenue of Poplars in Autumn, painted in 1884 in Neunen

When he moved to the Provence, his paintings were more colourful, as depicted on the painting of Pine Trees in the Garden of the Asylum at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence in 1889.

On the other hand when he was in Paris, he painted the Blossoming Chestnut Trees in Auvers-sur-Oise (1890) with minimum colours, ie, mostly greens and blue/purple. 

Vincent Van Gogh was considered a lunatic and a failure or loser in his lifetime. He exists in the public imagination as the exemplary and misunderstood genius where insanity and artistry converged.

Le Café La Nuit Vincent Van Gogh, Arles

One must not leave Arles without visiting Place du Forum. That’s where the painting of Vincent Van Gogh’s yellow café came to life! 

And by the way, the song, ‘Vincent’ (Starry Starry Night),  by Don McLean was written in tribute to Vincent Van Gogh. The painting Starry Night over the Rhône was painted in Arles in 1888.


We walked away from the hustle and bustle Place du Forum glancing back at the yellow café for the last time. 

We left Arles at 8 pm. Unfortunately with the longer hours of daylight, we did not experience a starry night. 

Have a great weekend!

Cheers!