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Sunday, August 11, 2013

France 2012 - Day 10 - Orange (Part 2)

"Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking." - Albert Einstein

***

France 2012
Day 10 - 22nd October - Orange
(Part 2)

Next was the museum just across from the theatre.

There was a small, amusing kids' exhibition. Although it was for kids, I thought the text was quite adult.

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Roman Armour

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Roman Shield

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Lorica segmentata Armour, Shield

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On Roman Women: "An uncontented client could hit the hairdresser"

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On the Principality Room with engravings of members of the Nassau family

The museum building had some history linked to the Princes of Orange, but there was very little stuff from them.

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Plate with William of Nassau and his spouse. With an orange tree.
This is not very flattering.

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Symbol of the House of Nassau (I think)

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Centaurs Frieze

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Centaurs Mosaic

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Centaurs: Myth, Drunkenness and Religion
Centaurs are rare in myth

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On the Land Registry Room (Cadastres)

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Cadastre B

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Cadastre A

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Sphinx

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Cyclops Mask

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Frieze of the Victories

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Sphinx atop skull

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Griffons

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The Merides (municipal tax for the rent of common ground)

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Egyptian crocodile

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Triumphal Arch of Orange - sketchings and photo

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Virgin in Ivory

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Cross of the Rhone Mariners

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Jean-Jacques d'Obeilh, Bishop of Orange
This is a really ugly bust. I assume it was realistic, because why would you make him look uglier than he was (unless the artist sucked)

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Young girl and death

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On the Episcopal Palace

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Ugly Tapestry with Ugly Bust
The stuff in this room was donated by the ugly guy

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Bacchanale

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Bridge of Sighs

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Spring
In the pink of health!

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Small pink corset

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The Museum

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Poem about Orange by Mistral. The other language is presumably Langue d'Oc

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Way to the bins, and flooding level in 1924

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Fountain

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Saint Florent
You can see why they chose that photo
"Austere Gothic" is a good euphemism for "we didn't bother decorating"

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Alley

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Carving on some wall

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Square

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Raimbaud III (Raimbault III), Count of Orange and Victor at Antioch and Jerusalem

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Hotel de Ville

I popped into the cathedral of Our Lady of Nazareth.

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Nave
I was tempted to call this Austere Romanesque but there was some colour (at least inside)

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Grave stones

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Portal

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On the cathedral

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Portal

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Another portal

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On Notre Dame de Nazareth ("and all the Saints")

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Hotel de Lapise

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The Hotel de Lapise looked very innocuous from without

I then made my way toward the Triumphal Arch.

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"You cut hair, some shave you!"
This is an ad for independent hairdressers

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"草菇" (Straw Mushrooms)
???
Maybe this was a reference to his hair

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Canal

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Stylish dustbin (with coat of arms)

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"Beauty salon. Cats and dogs. Drying without hot cage"

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Triumphal arch in distance

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Arch

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I can't remember why I took this

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On the Arch, dating from the 1st century on Agrippa's Way

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Detail

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Other side

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More details

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Sides

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Side detail

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Retirement home: "The City of the Princes. 'It is good to live here' For old people, a rare quality of life"

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Fruit and detail

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Canal

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Provence postcard

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Sitting on traffic stumps like Bosses

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"Cleanliness of Orange. We don't believe in pigs. Cleanliness is also your business"

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"No. Horse is not eaten. Fight against horse-eating"
There is actually a word for horse-eating in French - L'Hippophagie

I then took a train to Arles, which I had missed all those years ago.

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"Baggage ramp. Practical!"

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Arles walls

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Fountain Amedee Pichot

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"All is peaceful"

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Arena of Arles

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Strolling

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Rue des Arenes

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High tech electronic display in the wall, not just with information on the city but in English as well

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Theatre

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Alley

Because I had booked late and because Arles had a shortage of hostels, I ended up staying in a hotel, which was refreshing.

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The Height of Luxury. This was €40. There was a "chambre confort" (room for comfort) at €49, but I was alone and the only difference was the size, so.

I had lunch at the sister restaurant (Bistrot "À Côté") of an upscale atas Michelin starred restaurant (L'Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel). The Rough Guide assured me that the food was just as good despite the lack of stars (and of course the prices were much better), so I guess one pays for ambience (and branding). Literally the name is "Just Beside [our sister restaurant]"

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Entrée: Tartine de Champignons de Saisons (seasonal mushroom tartine)
At first I thought there was a mistake - I didn't see my tartine under the mushrooms. Goodness, those were great mushrooms (but this was a €37 menu, so)
In the background is a tapinade (black) for the pastis (yellow). It was damn strong but only €3 so it was okay. I wanted something sweet but they didn't have anything (the previous day I'd had a "Diabolo" - a mixture of mint syrup and lemonade, which my friend had recommended for me and was very nice, but that was a cheap bar, so. Then again that wasn't an apéritif).

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Plat Principal: Poitrine de Porc, caramel soja, pommes grenailles rôties (pork breast, caramel soy, roasted new potatoes)
This was wonderful. The fat melted in my mouth and it was a large piece, and glazed magnificently too. The meat was quite tender even if it didn't melt in my mouth.
You know this is an atas restaurant because they have fleur de sel on the table, not normal salt.

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Ambience of eating outside

There were some hidden items in the menu. Mine came with cheese (which wasn't listed), but more importantly there was "le Grand Gourmand" (Grand Gourmet) which I heard another table order, which was a mix of desserts. The waitress said I could swap my cheese and original dessert choice (tarte de frangipane à la crème anglaise - marzipan tart with custard) for it so I did so since I don't like cheese that much.

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Le Grand Gourmand: Apple Pie, Almond and Pear Tart, Chocolate Cake. The ice cream had no flavour; I thought it was latte but I asked and was told it was praline and blueberry (I didn't spot the latter though).

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Water con: "L'Eau FRESH est Produite sur place pour le Respect de L'Environnement et du Goût" ("Fresh Water is produced on-site in order to respect the Environment and Taste")

The website: NordaqFresh.

I love the copy:

"The Water
Pure & Totally FRESH.

The water that we serve together with wine determines how we have the possibiity to process and experience different tastes. For example, normal tap water, which often has a taste of earth, clay and chalk, makes your wine acidic and harsh.

The FRESH unit produces and purifies the water directly on-site. The water circulates through a cooler, is carbonated according to desire, and is then drawn into a beautiful, specially designed glass bottle at a temperature of approximately 5 degrees celsius. In just a few seconds you get natural or carbonated drinking water of the highest quality, with all the necessary salts and minerals preserved, but free from added chemicals or flavours.

Acidic and harsh, or a good wine?
It depends on the water."

But then, wine is also a con job.

Later, a friend told me about restaurants with their own in-house filtration systems which bottled their own water (and didn't serve either tap water or other brands). This is a step in that direction.

Naturally I didn't order this: I asked the elderly Dutch couple at the table beside mine for permission to take this, and told them I thought it ironic, because bottled water is a con job that is good neither for the environment nor taste. They were also amused at my photo taking, to which I told them it was "an Asian disease", which amused them. It seems only he spoke French, though she seemed to understand it.

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Restaurant in alley

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Angel Hair

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Square

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Obelisk detail

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Hotel de Ville

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Romanesque Church

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Portal of Romanesque Church, which was really splendid

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??? statue in hotel lobby

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Stylish (?) staircase in hotel

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Interesting French TV: there is an indication both of the signal and the quality (presumably of the image)


I'd asked the Orange Tourist Office if they got a lot of Dutch people. The man said yes because of the links with the Netherlands but he agreed with me that there wasn't much left, so people visited just because of historical sentiment. He also said the castle ruins were nice, but I didn't want to climb the hill above the amphitheatre and ruins. Even if it was supposed to be the most beautiful castle ruins in Europe (now, where had I heard that one before?)
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