I elected to skip the farewell dinner tonight to catch up on a backlog of emails at the hotel. After a couple of hours on the laptop I decided I needed some fresh air to clear my mind, so went for a short walk along the stone ramparts between the old city and the Rhone river. It seemed to be a popular spot for the locals as well, as many were walking their dogs along the river in the cool evening air. But I wasn’t getting much fresh air. All along the ramparts there were dog faeces - syn: excrement, turd, shit, crap – call it what you like, it was everywhere. And it stunk. Combined with the smell of stale urine every time I passed a tree, I was holding my breath more than I was breathing. After a couple of hundred metres, I gave up and went back to the hotel.
I do not understand why Arlésiens allow their dogs to defaecate along what would otherwise be a lovely river walk, thus spoiling it not only for themselves but for visitors to the city.
In metropolitan cities of France, dog owners these days are required to scoop up their pets’ poop and place it in a plastic bag for disposal in special bins (for sure, visitors to France know that it wasn’t always like that) but it seems that provincial cities like Arles have yet to catch up with these modern practices. That’s a pity because it spoils the attraction of Arles as a tourist destination. Arles – an ancient Roman city with many well preserved monuments – is worth a visit, but when you have to sightsee by walking along the road casting your eye to the ground every five seconds to be sure that you don’t step on a dog turd, it detracts from the enjoyment of the visit.
The only place that I can recall going to which was worse was Naples.
I took a photograph along the river walk, but it’s a pretty disgusting sight, so I will post a few photographs of the old city instead. I don’t want Blogger listing me as an adults-only site for posting obscene content.
Arles is also famous as the city where Vincent van Gogh painted many of his best paintings (it’s also where he cut off his ear when suffering depression). It is also where Jeanne Calment, the person with the longest ever recorded lifespan (1875-1997) was born and lived all of her life, and the birthplace of Christian Lacroix, the fashion designer.
So it’s a place that deserves to be cleaned up. Mr Mayor, please note.