Monday, June 20, 2016


By the third excursion, we were becoming more familiar with Southern France and we continued to learn more by exploring the village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Here we went as a group and investigated the small villa which was teaming with gardens, townsfolk, and small boutique shops. We ascended and entered the  UNESCO recognized World heritage site, Abbaye de Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, also known as Abbaye de Gellone, which is a church dating back to 9th century. This church specifically was dedicated to the cousin of Charlemagne, who renounced his military career from the life of a monk and became a saint. It like other churches in Southern France has Roman-Gothic architecture and even has Roman ruins under its foundation. After visiting the site, the routine was switched as the group enjoyed swimming and canoeing down a local river, which was a very relaxing and quiet experience that allowed myself and my classmates to take in the beauty of the land.
The exterior of Abbaye de Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Homes in  Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert
The Citadel group with other ILP students at the river bank
Roman ruins underneath Abbaye de Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Dr. Strobbe and I canoeing down the river


For the second trip, the Citadel group headed to the ancient city of Arles, located in southern region of Provence. The first stop of our trip was the Roman amphitheatre where we ae  told that gladiator matches took place until the rise of Christianity and was still used to host concerts and bullfights. I personally was in awe of the sophistication of the design with just a mixture of brick, concrete and stone it is unbelievable that has lasted two thousand years. This feeling continued on the trip as the group saw Roman catacombs, a theatre and hybrid Roman-Gothic cathedral known as Cathédrale Saint-Trophime. The trip ended with a bus ride to a nearby fortification called Les Beaux-de-Provence which was built on top of and gave an excellent vantage point of the Provencial countryside.
Myself looking at the Arènes d'Arles.

Citadel cadets and Dr. Strobbe in front of Arènes d'Arles

Interior of the Arènes d'Arles

The entrance of Cathédrale Saint-Trophime

View of the countryside from Les Beaux en Provence
Under Arles in the catacombs
Cadet Matthew Lanetti in Cloître Cathédrale Saint-Trophime
Plaza of Cloître Cathédrale Saint-Trophime