Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Arles & Les Baux | France

Oh France. We were only in France for one day - less than eight hours. After our ship arrived late to the port because of rough water, we basically lost an hour of our tour. Our tour started in Arles, which was about an hour away from the cruise port. When we got there we walked through Van Gough's courtyard since Van Gough used to live in Arles and his paintings were inspired by the city.
We also saw a Roman amphitheater that used to be used in Roman times. Now days it is still used for bullfighting. The amphitheater was designed using the same design of the Colosseum in Rome, but on a much smaller scale.

When we were done touring the amphitheater, we were given an option to continue on the tour or explore by ourselves. We decided to look around the city ourselves and visit the market they had going on. The market was like a typical farmer's market, except they had a lot of raw meat that they were selling. We bought a baguette to share since we had to wait awhile before we would get lunch.
After the market, we walked along the riverside and enjoyed the view. There was a spot on the river that used to have a bridge that is no longer there. Also, we saw some of the lion statues that used to be the entrance to the bridge and you can see "Arles" inscribed by the lion's foot.

After we visited Arles, we went to a small hill town called Les Baux. At the edge of the town you could see these great cliffs that were amazingly gorgeous. Then when you enter the town they have all sorts of different shops that sell touristy stuff along with some sweets and treats. The whole town is situated on a steep hill, so the further into town you get the higher up you are. At the very top of the hill is a ruined castle. We decided not to go into the castle because we did not think it was worth going in. A part of me wishes we would have just done it to see what it was about. The town was fun to explore and it was so pretty.

Once we were done with exploring Les Baux (and buying too many souvenirs), we went to a small restaurant as a group for a nice lunch. We were not all that impressed by their food choices. The food was good, but it was nothing special. We had fish, veggies, potatoes, wine, salad and dessert. Then we loaded up the bus again and headed back to the ship.

This was probably one of our least favorite days on the whole trip. It was a combination of not getting enough sleep the night before, having an hour cut out of our tip, being extremely tired, having a headache, and simply not having enough time. Our neighbors who have been to this area raved about Arles and the surrounding cities so we thought it would be a good day. I think it was because we had very limited time in both areas that we did not feel like we actually saw much of anything. France is one of those places we know we will travel back to so we will just have to make sure we visit these areas again in the future.

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