- Itinerary: Twenty-two days by train in France
- Back from France: Intro to Upcoming Series
- Days 1&2: Bordeaux, Sleep Deprivation, and the Case of the Missing Driver
- Day 3: Saint-Émilion, Wine, and Glimpses of Heaven
- The Arguing Old Couple. “Il est trés fou!”
- Day 4: A Travel Buddy in Amboise
- Day 5: Chateau Amboise and Solo Travel Revelations
- Day 6: Being Lazy in Amboise
- Day 7: Chateaux of the Loire Valley
- Amboise and Rude Americans
- Day 8: Dark Alleys and Fear in Sarlat-la-Canéda
- Solo Travel: Crushing Loneliness
- Day 9: Touring Les Plus Beaux Villages de Dordogne
- Day 10: An Evening of Tears in Carcassonne
- Day 11: Arles and Falling in Love
- Day 12: Gender Normative Behavior in Arles
- Day 12: Roman Ruins, Van Gogh, and Body Positivity in Arles
- Day 13: Catcalls and a Lost Reservation in Nice
- Day 13: There’s No Cerveza on this French Menu!
- Day 14: The Beauty of Nice
- Day 15: Eeeezeeee Does It At Éze Village
- Day 16: Wishing for Longer in Lyon
- Day 17: Getting To Chamonix-Mont-Blanc By Train Is Not For The Weak
- Day 18: L’Aiguille du Midi
- Day 19: Annecy
Oh, Arles. I spent today exploring Roman ruins and Van Gogh sites. And I fell more in love with Arles by the second.
Each turn took me down another perfectly charming alley or street. Every site was beyond what I imagined it might be.
I love it here.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED TODAY:
Locals here like to chat and make small talk, as do I. Sadly, very few folks speak any English. People here are quite surprised by how poor my French is.
It’s rather nice, to be honest. It feels real, for lack of a better word. If my French ever improves I imagine I’d enjoy visiting Arles even more, if such a thing were possible.
Also, the Rhône River, here, anyway, is the blue of the Mediterranean. It might be silly that I didn’t expect that, but there you go. The vibrancy is almost as shocking as Oregon’s Crater Lake! And equally impossible to capture in a photograph, but I did my best.
View this post on Instagram
View of Arles and the Rhône River from the top of the Arles Amphitheatre . #besteurope #bestfrance #incredible_europe #france4dreams #igersfrance #france #france_focuson #bloggers #travelblogger #globe_travel_ #travelphotography #scenicview #wandermore #living_destinations #forbestravelguide #hello_france #super_france #visitfrance #unlimitedeurope #europestyle_ #solotravel #solotraveler #travelerinfrance #traversefrance #beautifuldestinations #exploremore #instatravel #bloggerlife
Finally, among the more surprising things I’ve learned about Arles is not very subtle body positivity.
Everywhere you look, in storefronts, restaurants, wherever, there is art of all kinds depicting nude women. All women. All ages, shapes, grooming preferences. And every last one of them is beautiful.
A woman looks around almost any establishment and sees naked women they can identify with. And these women appear confident in their beauty and lacking the inappropriate shame so many of us have about our naked bodies.
One might expect this of Europe in a general sense, but Arles is the first place in which I’ve experienced it.
It’s a beautiful, powerful environment to feel immersed in, and one more thing causing me to be completely in love with this town.
One last quick amusing-to-me thing before I head off to bed:
Both the other day while on the lookout point of the medieval fortress in Domme, which was at the very edge of a sheer 1,000 foot drop, and today while climbing to the highest point in a Roman amphitheatre, I had the same thought:
“Is this safe? Does this feel rickety? Should I be doing this?”
Those were first thoughts. With the second thoughts came the laughter.
“Sooooo, ummmm, yeah. These things have each been in place for over 600 and 2,000 years, respectively, with zero structural issues while gazillions of people have walked on them. I have a hunch I’m good here.”
And that, folks, is all for today. Tomorrow, Nice!