Starry, Starry Day

She stole my title: Edith Wharton wrote this in 1908 to chronicle her travels through France, accompanied in part by none other than Henry James. (image from

Just for fun, let’s pretend we are still on our “motor-flight-through France”, even though we all know full well that I’m back in CA, still in my jammies and a ratty sweater with a mountain of tissues in front of me as I nurse this stubborn cold. I know, it takes some imagination, but I know you can do it!

Arles is about 20 miles south of Avignon. France, by the way, is almost the size of Texas. (Image from

Just a half-hour drive from Avignon is the village of Arles. Knowing a good thing when they saw it, the Romans took it as their own in 123 BC and by the fourth and fifth centuries it had become an important city and a favorite of Emperor Constantine I. He declared Arles his capital in 408 A.D.

We saw these ruins from an ancient Roman theatre in Arles.

In more recent history, Arles is known for its famous resident,  Vincent Van Gogh, who painted some of his most important works here toward the end of his life. He came to Arles in 1888 with the intent of starting an art academy there with his then-friend, Paul Gauguin. The two painters had a fiery falling-out, Van Gogh lopped off his ear and things rapidly went from bad to worse. The citizens of Arles actually circulated a petition to induce Van Gogh to be driven from their town.

Le Cafe de Nuit was painted in Arles

The current owners have painted the cafe to match the colors Van Gogh used in his painting.

Le Jardin de la Maison de Sante a Arles

Here we are in Le Jardin of the former Hotel Dieu hospital in Arles where Van Gogh was cared for after cutting off his ear.

If you’re interested in learning more about Van Gogh, I found a web site that has catalogued all of his letters at:

Next up: we trace Van Gogh’s footsteps from Arles to Saint-Remy-de-Provence…

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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3 Responses to Starry, Starry Day

  1. Katherine says:

    So nice to add some information to the city name “Arles” b/c up til now I’ve only known it as “that city-word that always crops up in crossword puzzles.” Looks beautiful!

  2. jess says:

    I love Van Gogh. I saw an exhibition of his and Gaugain’s works at the Art Institute in Chicago a few years ago. Fabulous presentation. How great that you were able to visit such places in person! Love it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Chicken Emperor says:

    I must concur with Jessica’s view of Van Gogh. Seeing these dramatic paintings in the flesh is a real experience, and you do not need to know much about art to know that his talent was new and fresh and that a tormented soul was behind the brushes. I particularly liked the self portrait we saw in Paris; it was mesmerizing.

    So many beautiful things to remember, and so many wonderful experiences to recall. I am truly grateful to have made this trip, and cannot imagine having made it with anyone other than the Chicken Lady.

    And so we have returned to real chickens, not those painted on plates. The real ones are quite so more satisfying I must say.

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