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Arles: Feria du Riz Food and Fashion

Just tell me there’s a bullfight close to Uzes, and I’m there. As usual, there’s always a party that makes the corrida even more fun.

Arles, a town less than an hour down the road that’s mostly famous for being one of Van Gogh’s “hangouts”. The Feria du Riz, the annual Rice Harvest Festival, celebrates one of the region’s top crops — rice.

Rice in Arles

Arles is on the northern edge of the Camargue, which has been the subject of a few earlier blogs. Just as bulls, white horses and flamingos are indigenous to the area, rice has been produced in the Camargue since the Middle Ages. Today there are some 200 rice producers in this small area, representing about 5% of rice production in Europe. Camargue’s “red rice” is a popular local souvenir. Explore the original post.

Reasons to Visit Arles

Considered the gateway city to the Camargue, Arles has it all – history, shopping, gourmet food and enough grit to capture your interest. Here are some of the top reasons to visit Arles:

Contemporary Art

Frank Gehry designed Luma Arles, which opened in June 2021, a project commissioned by local philanthropist Maja Hoffmann. Parc des Ateliers, the old SNCF railway grounds, now includes a gleaming, aluminium-clad tower. When it comes to contemporary structures, there are probably equal numbers of fans and critics in a one-time Roman town. But seriously, who had heard of Bilbao before the Guggenheim Museum?

“Luma Arles is a creative campus dedicated to providing artists with opportunities to experiment in the production and presentation of new work in close collaboration with other artists, curators, scientists, innovators and audiences.” ~ Luma Arles Website

Vincent Van Gogh

Imagine arriving in Provence for the first time on February 20, 1888, after two years of struggling to make a living in Paris. Provence’s radiant light was a stark contrast for Vincent van Gogh, who grew up in Holland with its muted colour palette and luminosity. Some might say this profound change spurred his creative abilities to obsessive reaches. During his two years in the South of France, van Gogh produced over 200 paintings and many drawings.

Roman History

During the Roman Era, Arles was an important trading centre along the Rhône River. Cargo from all over the Empire travelled along the Rhône to Avignon, Tarascan, Arles, and beyond. Imports such as tapestries, fabrics, spices, and grains from other Mediterranean ports moved up the river on low-hulled wood boats. Commercial trade of local products such as almonds, wine, and olive oil was active.

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Deborah Bine

Deborah Bine

The Barefoot Blogger, aka Deborah Bine, loves to share tales of her solo life in France as an American expat who speaks no French. Retired from a career in advertising and marketing communications, and divorced after a 40-year marriage with children, Deborah left Beaufort, South Carolina and all of her belongings last year to move to the south of France. Now that she has found her "bliss," her passion is to encourage others to break away from whatever is holding them back and to go after their dreams. "We're on life's journey alone. Be certain you love where you are."

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