We are staying at the most romantic and charming hotel in the middle of the old city. This gem of a hotel was worth the crazy drive we had to make to get here. The streets of Arles as you get into the old town can be described in two ways, small and narrow. They are winding and twisting and following the navigators directions just got harder and harder. The navigator says, turn left and the turn is so sharp and narrow at first it does not seem to be possible to make it at all. Driving in the old town here is not for the faint hearted. I am so glad I was not driving and C is my hero forever. I would have cried long before we got to the hotel if I had been behind the wheel.
We are staying at The Hotel de Arlatan. This was once the home of the counts of Arlatan and this 15th century stone house is just gorgeous! So romantic and so pretty. I almost feel as if I am on a second honey moon staying here. Love it!
This is what I mean by small narrow streets. This is a small car yet not much space is left. Add a lot of twists and turns to each street and you got yourself a real driving challenge. It was with a huge sigh of relief that we finally found our hotel. We thought we were stuck when we say the hotel lobby and the words of the receptionist saying that valet parking would take over the car made me feel like I had truly been blessed.
Vincent van Gogh lived here in Arles for about a year between 1888 and 1889. He was extremely productive while he lived here and produced over 300 pieces of art. However, this grand master had his spells of craziness and was kicked out of the city of Arles (this is something that the future generations are not so proud of). But he came here to Provence for the inspiration and for the light. This I totally can understand. This is the garden by the hospital where he seeked treatment after cutting off his ear lobe. Even if you can't see any of his art here his spirit and his source of inspiration can be felt and found here.
This small city is just filled with so much charm. I love the old window shutters. Here at the hotel we have them on our windows. It is a special feeling opening the shutters in the morning and closing them at night.
This is the old Roman arena that dominates old Arles. It dates from the first century AD. It is still used today for bull fights.
We had dinner at a the most lovely and charming place called La Gueule du Loup. A tiny restaurant serves Provencal specialties. You have to walk trough the kitchen to get to your table bustling with chopping and wafting scents of the fresh spices.
I tried something I have never ever had before, tenderloin of bull. I was curious and felt I had to try bull now that I am here in Arles with the old roman arena where they still have bull fights. This was truly delicious. The fresh herbs, the eggplant cream and the sauce full with flavors.
The final touch to a perfect day was this chocolate creation with a big spoon of caramel ice cream. We walked back to our romantic hotel through the winding streets of Arles.