the view outside the upstairs window at night...
those are honeysuckle vines
Ok, so it is not my bed and breakfast in Arles that's for sale, but I feel as if it belongs to me in some significant way. I went for my first cooking stage in 2005, took my friends, the Arles 6, there in 2006, went back there to work for Chef Érick Vedel in the summer of 2007 and then spent six month there on sabbatical in 2008. Érick and Madeleine Vedel have now divorced and the chambres d'hôte, the B&B side of the house, is up for sale. The price has been decided upon-- 296,000 euros or, at the current exchange rate, $444,000. Well, I am a French teacher and have no family money, so I am not running to the bank to transfer funds. Once in a while, I do buy a lottery ticket (in North Carolina it is, after all, the Education Lottery, with all proceeds going to our public school children and the future of America, right?) and am honest with all concerned that, should I be the big winner, I am buying my home in the south of France. Visitors welcome.
In the B&B, there are five beautiful rooms with private baths, a long, narrow dining room, a cellar, a separate bath and linen closet that could easily be turned into a small kitchen to service the breakfast part. Breakfasts in France are very low maintenance-- pastries, bread, jam, coffee or tea. It is located within the old walls of Arles, just minutes from the Roman arena, the Rhône river, and the train station. Vincent Van Gogh's little yellow house, if it were still standing, would be a stone's throw away. The exact spot where he painted Starry Night over the Rhône is just a few minutes' walk from the front door. Arles is amazing- a town of 50,000 full of Roman ruins and more still being found. It hosts a world class photography conference every summer. The Saturday market is worth a whole morning's visit. It is within close driving distance of Marseille, the coast, the Camargue, Mont St. Victoire where Cézanne painted, Aix-en-Provence, St. Rémy de Provence, olive oil presses, vineyards producing incredible wines, les Baux de Provence... I could go on and on.
In March, I will be in France with fourteen of my 8th graders. We will spend five days in Paris and then take the TGV down to Avignon and then head straight to Arles for five glorious days. I have sent emails warning my buddies in Arles that I will make my grand retour in March so they'd better be ready! We will cook with Chef Érick, visit the ruins and museums, stay at the Hôtel du Musée, eat wonderful Provençal food, visit the market and I can turn them lose a bit there, whereas I can't do that in Paris. We can visit all the Van Gogh sites, picnic in the park, visit Avignon, if we wish, by just hopping on the train. The 2,000 year old bust of Julius Caesar that was recently pulled out of the Rhône in Arles will be on exhibit in the Musée Départemental Arles Antique while we are there. So, even Caesar himself will be around for my return.
And by the way, I can clean toilets en français, should anyone out there have the resources to indeed go to the bank and transfer those funds to buy the B&B on rue Pierre Euzeby. Rick Steves and Lonely Planet love the rooms and have written about them. See for yourself. Just google it (for those of you who love google as much as I do) or buy a guidebook. I'll run it for you. Érick's photos of the rooms are found on Madeleine's website (scroll all the way to the bottom) at http://american-in-avignon.blogspot.com.
Bon appétit, Arles! Tu me manques terriblement...