Arles is a city on the Rhône River in the Provence region of southern France. It’s famed for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh, which influenced the contemporary art displayed at the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh. Once a provincial capital of ancient Rome, Arles is also known for many remains from that era, including Arles Amphitheatre (les Arènes d’Arles), now hosting plays, concerts and bullfights.
The Collateral is above all the life project of Anne-Laurence, advertiser, and Philippe Schiepan, designer and scenographer. We stay at the Collateral to expose ourselves to the local cultural life, of course, but also to enjoy a unique atmosphere. Housed in the former Sainte-Croix church, the hotel is laid out like an initiatory journey, from darkness to light. After a heavy door and an imposing iron staircase, you reach the large living room, where dinners, live concerts, conferences and workshops are organized. The mezzanine serves as a stage or projection room.
The higher you go, the more the light explodes, all the way to Roufetope, renowned for its view and cool luxury vibe. Rooms A, B and C evoke the Camargue, gray salt, sand, water… Room S offers a more urban and contrasting energy, “sol y sombra” style. On the ground floor, it is an extraordinary, luminous and aquatic dive that is in the swim spa or “Counter-Courant”. New for 2021: the opening, in the 11th century cellars, of a Fermentation Workshop, in collaboration with chef Lilly Gratzfeld. Nice taste surprises to discover on the spot, or to take away. For the most addicted, master classes are planned! Making the possible happen, a nice definition of hospitality as seen by the Collateral. And for those who couldn’t get a room, discovering Le Collateral remains possible: book the day before to come and have an ultra-fresh and organic breakfast on the Roufetope. With Sébastien, barista and juice master, at the helm, this is one of Arles’ well-kept secrets.
The former record store Vincent Raboisson and his friend Cédric Osarovski have taken over a high place of Arles ferias: the former bodega of Auguste Losada. Behind a storefront left in its own juice, a corridor leads to the back of the building: exposed stone walls, wide beams, long wooden bar, the place is discovered to the rhythm of the music. On the walls, original posters from the 1970s, reworked by the Atelier du Palais in pop colors, relay the lively energy of rock stars in concert. An integral part of the atmosphere, the musical program highlights rock, 1960s and 1970s funk and rhythm’n’blues. Service at the counter changes according to the discoveries of the duo: a menu of locally brewed beers, natural wines, cocktails revisited with local ingredients and snacks based on toast. As the evening progresses, we move from one room to another, until we discover a small inner courtyard. When we leave, the evening has passed.
After the success of Chai Les Porcelets, Charles Guillerme, the child of the country who officiated a few steps away, went from 13 m2 to 80 m2, plus terrace, for this good quality Modern Grocer. Between the shelves stocked with local and organic products, and the slate that evokes the return of the auction, we are both at a grocer’s and in a restaurant. Suggestions and menus change from one week to the next to favor homemade and seasonal recipes: lamb shank with mild spices, fish and shrimp pastilla, four proposals per week define an original cuisine – to be eaten on the spot or carry. But the dish that everyone orders tirelessly is pan-fried razor clams with parsley. On the shopping side, choose small French fishing sardines from Maison Ferrigno, PDO bull terrines or Provençal duck terrines, organic fruit juices from the Saint-Andiol press or bottled and bulk olive oil , from the valley of Les Baux-de-Provence. The same spirit applies to the wine list, which focuses on small estates from the Rhône Valley to Languedoc – ask for the Côtes-du-Rhône Fleur de Pampre from Adrien Fabre, his favorite winemaker. In the evening, a choice of shellfish and crustaceans, Camargue oysters, whelks and sea urchins delight the guests. No need to look for tellines, a local specialty on the verge of extinction: Charles Guillerme does not wish to endorse the end of the species.
We have been waiting for its reopening for eleven years! An island in the heart of the old town, the Museon Arlaten, “Arlesian museum”, has had a makeover under the direction of Michel Bertreux (Tetrarc agency, in Nantes). A vast project, the new Museon Arlaten has managed to preserve the spirit and ambitions of its founder, Frédéric Mistral, while modernizing this historic monument with thousand-year-old archaeological remains. Inaugurated in 1899, the museum is located in the former Jesuit college and the Laval hotel, leaning on the Roman forum, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its architecture bears witness to all eras, from Antiquity to the 21st century: from the inner courtyard, you can discover all the historical levels in the blink of an eye. Suspended above the Roman forum, the grand staircase is the centerpiece: Christian Lacroix has created two glass totems – collages of photographs from the museum’s collections – which surround it. Dedicated to the history of Rhone Provence, the ethnographic museum legitimizes popular and singular regional cultures. Complementary to the Felibrige, literary academy of langue d’oc created in 1854, it identifies the lifestyles of the Provençals through some forty thousand objects and documents, which Frédéric Mistral gives to the departmental council of Bouches-du-Rhône in 1899.
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