The exhibition before the exhibition was filling up rather quickly.
And while I do have a very special attachment to the Chapelle des Trinitaires, as it is where Remi and I had our thunderbolt "we should live here" moment, I felt a little lost amidst the bisous of acquaintances and the getting caught up after summer banter.
However, I was delighted by an old image of the Antique Theatre, taken at the beginning of the renovation process, so late in the game, time-speaking. How much, nearly all of this grand structure had been pillaged. Stone to stone to be somewhere else, something else entirely after the fall of the Roman Empire and the trumpet's blare arrival of Christianity in Arles. We build up, we tear down, we build again, we move on.
My friend Christine touched my arm and zapped me out of my reverie. We continued along the panels depicting the efforts to support the blue vein of Heritage running through Arles until we stumbled upon a small door opening out of the church...
...and into a courtyard. Remi came to join us, echoing our smiles in his discovery. Somehow, in the very center of town, we had fallen into an unknown place. And yet, apparently not so secret after all as a restaurant that I had dismissed as "for unwitting tourists" had many a table awaiting under the fairy lights. "It is quite decent actually, très correcte," Christine nodded. "We should go one day for lunch."
I took in this nearly imaginary corner with a gulp. The massive, over-laden pear tree with such beautiful fruit tumbled in the grass, the many layers of centuries shifting the architecture of the chapel with adds and minuses plus one very fortunate terrace overlooking it all with drying sheets flapping through what were once medieval windows. To my left, down a short flight of stairs was a side entry to the Hôtel Dieu, the hospital where Vincent Van Gogh was treated. Did he walk in this secret garden too?