Now this is living. We are in Arles – loving the town, food and hotel. We’ve given ourselves two days here. There is a lot more to this town than some of the others we’ve been to. Besides being a charming village, there are Roman ruins and incredible weekly markets. It was also the home of Van Gogh while he did some of his most well known pieces.

The day we arrived, we went straight to the market. It was by far the most impressive market we’ve been to yet. Walking through the market, you really get the sense that the locals shop primarily here (as opposed to the grocery store) for their weekly groceries. In addition to your usual fresh produce, baked goods, cheeses and cured meats, we saw people purchasing live ducks, chicks and chickens. There were also vendors cooking and selling paella, snails and every kind of meat you can imagine. We will be posting a video of this market.

We also did a fun, self-guided walking tour where we stopped at all the sites that Van Gogh painted (for example, his “Café at Night” and “Starry Night on the Rhone”). In the 18 months that Van Gogh lived here, he did over 300 paintings. We can see why he was inspired. We also toured a Roman arena where 2,000 years ago gladiators fought and where they still have regular “bullgames” today. Unfortunately, there was no bullfight while we were in town.

Speaking of bulls, Arles is known for serving bull in their restaurants. Being a meat lover, Brent was really looking forward to trying it.  The restaurant we went to was serving a bone-in bull ribeye.  It looks like exactly like a cut you would get at a steakhouse, but we agreed it wasn’t as flavorful as a steak.

The most adventurous thing Katie has eaten (not on purpose) was scallop with something attached to the muscle. After a google search, we’re thinking this was the roe, but we’re not sure. If anyone knows what this was, please comment.

One thing that’s worked out great is that we are here in shoulder season. The weather is perfect (around 70 degrees) and there are no crowds. After spending a couple days here, we’re really glad we made the decision to come. It rates high on our list of places we’ve visited so far.

For more pictures, check out our Arles photo album dated 24th April 2010