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Old Post: Chasing Van Gogh

Sunday, 14. December 2008 12:52

My last post from our trip to Provence….

Van Gogh came to Arles in February 1888 in search of southern color and light. In the 15 months that he lived in the area he produced around 300 canvases that some say taught the world to see color in a completely different way than it had been seen before. There is a walking path in the city devoted to locations that became famous subjects of some of his paintings.

Starry Night Over the Rhone

Starry Night over the Rhone by Van Gogh

The Drawbridge at Arles
Van Gogh Bridge in Arles, France

The Bridge at Arles

Our most spectacular encounter with Vincent Van Gogh came at the Cathedrale d’Images near Les Baux de Provence. This is an old rock quarry that has been turned into an audio-visual art installation. They project images and films all over the walls, ceilings and floors of the location and have music playing throughout.

They change the theme every year and for 2008 it has been Van Gogh. They juxtaposed photography inspired by some of his paintings with early sketches and the finished artwork. It felt like we were walking in his art and could get just a glimpse of what he saw.

Cathédrale des Images - Van Gogh exhibit

The Cathedrale d’Images was a truly impressive experience that I would highly recommend. The Van Gogh show runs through January 4, 2009 and the new theme should start sometime in late February.

Category:France, Travel, Travel: France | Comment (0) | Autor: Erica


Friday, 26. September 2008 9:58

I didn’t get around to posting about our trip to Provence back in February. I had hoped to do it before our camping trip in August, but that didn’t happen. I’m also feeling a bit brain-dead in terms of what to post these days, and want to redesign and update the blog, and, and, and,……I think I’ll get these posts written and see if that frees me up for any creative observations.

Arles, France from the Arena

We chose Arles as our starting point for our trip to Provence. It’s pretty central to all of the other places that we wanted to see and on its own has some great sites.

Arles boasts a Roman arena that is still in use today and a Roman ampitheatre. It is also known for being the subject of many painting by Van Gogh since he lived there for a little over a year and it is here that he really started to develop his signature color style.

The Arena in Arles, France

The town center is very easy to walk since it isn’t very big and many of the roads are closed to vehicle traffic (great for traveling with a toddler). There are also several walking tours to do with markers paved into the streets that you can follow. There are four themed walks ranging from Roman Arles to Van Gogh’s Arles that take you throughout all the monuments that the city has to offer.

We stayed at the Hotel d’Arlatan in the center of town. Just trying to find it was a bit of a challenge. Since a good portion of the roads are closed to vehicle traffic, we had quite a time trying to figure out which roads we could drive on. At one point a woman stopped us to ask where we were going and then good-naturedly gave us directions that took us back to where we had started outside of town.

Since we were traveling with an infant, I don’t think we made it out of the hotel before noon the entire trip. Joe made a comment that we used to run at half-speed with Sophia and that now we were running at quarter-speed with the two of them!

Sophia running through the garden at Espace Van Gogh.
Van Gogh Garden in Arles

One of the things that I loved about this part of the country is that you can really get a feel for the Spanish influence. We live near Italy which you can tell from the food and the accent of the French speaking. In Arles, you’re more likely to see bullfighting in the Roman Arena and we were able to sit down to tapas one night. Things that you just don’t find once you drive just two hours away.

Category:France, Hotels, Travel, Travel: France | Comment (0) | Autor: Erica