This gallery shows photos from a short trip on an old steam train through the Doux valley in the Ardeche region of France.
Of course there is the Roman Amphitheater:
Inside the Amphitheater:
More arches in Arles
Down almost every alley
It is common to see a few arches when you look down a narrow alley. In places where there wasn’t room to put in a foundation the buildings support each other.
The Mairie (town hall)
This town hall has a fascinating structure of partial arches carefully balanced. It’s held up for a very long time, the building was completed in 1676. You can read a bit about it here: The Vault of the Hôtel de Ville in Arles.
Van Gogh’s arches
The garden of the former hospital building is maintained to look like van Gogh’s “Garden of the Hospital in Arles”.
The Church of St. Trophime is a lovely building with lots of arches, inside and out. If you are interested here is the Wikipedia article about it: Church of St. Trophime, Arles. The article includes a description of the fascinating sculptures around the portal.
Another rainy morning walk on our journey was in Tournon, a charming little city along the Rhone.
Trivia: the castle was the home of the woman whose life story inspired Shakespeare’s character Ophelia.
As part of my recent trip to France I took a river cruise on the Rhone. When Dean, the agent who helped me arrange the cruise asked me what my favorite part was my answer was quick: Viviers. He seemed a bit surprised, his favorites had been Arles and Lyon with their dramatic Roman ruins.
Viviers doesn’t have, at least that I saw, dramatic Roman ruins. They may be there, possibly in the walls or under the floors of the existing buildings. But Viviers is, in my opinion, charm itself.
I loved the cobblestones. The guide pointed out how they laid the stones differently in the middle and on the sides to make it easier to walk, better traction, or roll carts, less bumpy.
I loved the narrow streets and passage ways. The space is so tight that they use the buildings to support each other by building arches over the streets. In one spot someone when needed more room for his expanding family he bought the house across the street and built a sky bridge between the two places.
I loved the tiled rooftops and lovely views of the surrounding countryside. It was worth the climb through the narrow streets to get there.
There were also some fun quirky details:
I’m sure that my warm buzz about the morning was augmented by the tasty tomato bisque they served up for lunch, perfect after a rainy walk.
But the reason it was my favorite part of the cruise was this: I would never have gone there on my own. Traveling on my own I’d have spent more time in Arles or Avignon and never even known this little gem of a city was there.
Sometimes I take a picture because it has elements that show what a place was like then, when I pull it up, it seems blah. That happened with this one:
Since I was up anyway, thanks to jet lag and a hungry cat, I started to play with this in Topaz Studio 2. Doing artsy stuff fits with Arles, since it is where many of the impressionists came to work, argue and drink.
Here are a few variations on the original.