February 4, 2018


Arles is only an hour from us and we haven't explored it enough. I was doing a bit of research on the region and read about the Roman Arena in Arles. I was fascinated to learn that when Rome fell in the 5th century, the arena itself was transformed into a self-contained city. The walls of the arena fortified a circular town that contained 200 homes, a church, shops - a proper village for 13 centuries. It wasn't until the 19th century that the houses were expropriated and the space was returned to its Roman origins. Men aren't thrown in to wild animals and there are no chariot races now, but there are still bull fights here.

Colette overheard some of my historical facts and got her big, going-down-in-history eyes on. She insisted she had to go with me there to see Roman life. We agreed and we all went into Arles. An unlikely time - cold (for Provence) and drained of the pumping life the city has under the bullish sun. The arena was magical though. I believe in spirits in a place like that - walking in the dark galleries with tunnels of soft light coming through the arched passages coming through - it is otherworldly and thick with the past. Just the place for Colette. She was transfixed and wanted to rebuild Roman life. She did pause to play a game with Romy where on every step and stone ledge, they would pause and Romy would climb up and wait for Colette to get in position for her to jump down into her arms. They wanted to do this on every possible occasion and given the setting, the game lasted a very long time.

We also snaked through the streets of Arles - oddly grim in the season, but beautiful. The girls were moved by the Roman ruins and amphitheater just down the street from the Arena. Romy looks like a tiny speck climbing the stairs of the amphitheater. Colette plunked down among the ruins around the amphitheater and wanted a brush and archeology tools to start making sense of the mess. She just wanted to restore it all to Roman life!

"You didn't even bring a brush? No tools at all?"

1 comment:

Rosie said...

Building amazing memories!

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