Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hometown beauty

My goodness, I have been a bit remiss in writing. I have things to share but have been perhaps caught up in a bout of winter sluggishness. A bit of sadness too as Emma, my Mom's incredibly loving Golden Retriever, passed away. She will be missed as she gave unconditional love to everyone who crossed her path. Sometimes I think we all forget the power of being kind.

And the power of beauty. Especially that which lasts for centuries. Arles is home to one of the greatest concentrations of World Heritage Sites in France--the richness of its historic sites being one of the reasons we were drawn here. Of them, the cloister of Saint-Trophime is the most fascinating for me. Built in the second half of the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, it is constructed with both Provençal Romanesque barrel and gothic vaults. Each column is unique, dedicated to different scenes sculpted by members of the School of Arles, who set the standard at the time. Lions, monsters, kings and vagrants all given a stunningly realistic twist. 

The mark of time is also present in the graffiti left behind by the visitors that have passed. Here, one dating from 1747.

Even though in the heart of town, once inside the cloister walls, there is no sound but the whisper of the trees. Perfect for soothing the mind, for finding a bit of peace amidst the winter winds. As a resident, I am always welcome to come and sit under the arcades and plan to return in Spring with a book. Yes, I am well aware of the good fortune of having access to such inspiration, at hand whenever needed. 


  1. I remember visiting here when I was in Arles - so beautiful and peaceful! The perfect place to bliss out or meditate and send Emma some love...

  2. Whew, that's beautiful! I was laughing about the graffiti, though--having to carve it into stone must have taken a bit of time!

  3. When all the world was full of noise and chaos in Cairo, I loved to go to the old mosques and be enclosed by the ancient walls and breathe the silence. It never ceased to astonish me that old interiors could be so still. It soothes my mind,even now, to think of those spaces.I am glad you have your still, quiet place in Arles too.


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