Cafe Van Gogh. One of Vincent's hangouts.
We departed Paris and flew into Marseille
for the drive to Nice
. As a side trip, we headed to Arles
which had been settled by the Romans. As the bus slowed down, our middle-schoolers started cheering and getting excited. Yes, I thought. They are finally seeing the relavence of history and geography. Nooooo, they spotted a McDonald's Restaurant! How can you be in France and waste your appetite at McDonald's?
After lunch we walked up a sidestree into a small square and saw the Cafe Van Gogh. Vincent lived in Arles for a while and reportedly frequented this spot quite often.
No gladiators to be found.
I don't think a "Happy Meal" was part of their menu. Up the street a few more blocks was a small coliseum built by the Romans. In the past century it had been used mainly for bullfights. It cost a small fee to enter, once inside we saw no security or employees and were free to wander the entire facility, except onto the arena floor. Attempts to renovate the outside were underway, and one of my pictures illustrates the work in progress. For you movie buffs, Robert DeNiro and Jean Reno made a movie in France called "Ronin". The coliseum in Arles and surrounding neighborhood figures promiently in the movie.
This was quite a worthwhile side trip and I recommend it. There were several mom and pop type shops on the streets around the coliseum and the citizens were quite warm and friendly.