Arles is one of the oldest and historically most interesting cities in Provence. The old town is small and there is a high number of attractions for both the history and culture enthusiasts. The city lies along the Rhone, just outside the Camargue.
Amphitheater (Arenes Arles)
A well-preserved Roman amphiitheater, rightRi in the heart of the city, is by far the largest tourist attraction in Arles. It was built in the first century after Christ . It roomed up to 20,000 spectators . In the Middle Ages much of the city was build inside the amphitheater and it was used as a fortress . Today bullfights are held in the arena , but also other, less bloody events. This can be a great opportunity to visit the amphitheateret , but it is also open to guests when there are no events.
Visit www.ar-arles.com for more event information .
The Roman Theatre ( Theatre Antique )
The other major Roman sights of the city, the theater , is unfortunately not as well preserved , but definitely worth a visit. The theater is used for outdoor concerts throughout the summer , and if you are lucky you can see it in action.
Van Gogh in Arles
Although Vincent Van Gogh did not stay in town long , and in no way had a happy time here, Van Gogh is linked to Arles. He lived here from February 1888 until he moved to Saint – Remy in May 1889. He painted many of his most famous paintings in and around the city. None of his works are currently in Arles, but a few of the views he painted can be visited. For example Espace Van Gogh, which is the hospital where he stayed after cutting off his ear. Thiere you will find a quiet garden where you can enjoy a cup of coffee in peace and quiet. Cafe de Van Gogh, on the Place du Forum, is said to be motive to the Cafe de nuit.
The annual Rencontres d’ Arles photo festival is one of the most prestigious photography exhibitions in Europe. It lasts from the beginning of July to mid- September every year, but the mainprogram is in the opening week. It differs from other similar events because there is no focus on the sale of equipment.
Arles has a lot of restaurants – many on the Place du Forum and the surrounding area. With many tourists there are unfortunately some tourist traps around the city – especially those located close to the Amphitheater, might be smart to steer away.
We can recommend the Hotel de l’ Amphitheatre Theatre , located a stone’s throw from the Amphitheatre – this hotel has charming rooms very centrally located. www.hotelamphitheatre.net
Getting to Arles
Arles is easily accessible by train and bus from most other cities in the area. The train station is located just north of downtown. If you drive, you may want to park outside the town and go by foot as it is a bit limited parking possibilities in the old town. For example there is a parking lot at Av. Sixte Quentin, on the left as you drive into the town from the main road.