Arles Travel Guide

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The Night cafe in Arles, painted by van Gogh

The Night cafe in Arles, painted by van Gogh

Located in the Provence, Arles is an important agricultural and industrial centre in France. It has a population of well over 56 000 that once included famous painters like Van Gogh and Gaugin. It came into prosperity during the Roman empire and has been an important town ever since.

Arles is still full of evidence of Roman times. Most famous is perhaps the old Arena, which is still in use, now for bull fights. You can see the tall blue obelisk in the Place de la République and remnants of an ancient temple at the corner of the Hôtel Pinus. A good place to check out the Roman heritage is the Musée de l'Arles Antique, where you will find an amazing collection of Roman Christian sarcophagi, especialy the César’s bust founding in the river of the Rhône, plus a rich ensemble of sculptures, mosaics, and inscriptions from the Augustinian period to the 6th century A.D. Arles also has a rich artistic history. Vincent van Gogh lived here for over a year and painted 200 of his paintings here. Some of the buildings and squares he painted can still be seen around town.

Every Sommer, from July to September, the city beseides the International Photographie Festival which is one of the major photo events in the world. Each year more then 70,000 visitors come from all around the world to Rencontres d’Arles to visit the 60 exhibitions presented throughout the city. It is as well a gathering place for many art and photographie professionnals who come during the Opening Fortnight in July every years.

For the not so culturally inclined Arles has a lot to offer as well. As Van Gogh already said, the nature around Arles is beautiful, and it’s a great area for hiking, cycling, horseback riding, rock climbing or cruising down the river Rhône. Just outside of Arles you will find the Camargue, a wide sandy plain where water and land constantly mix. The Camargue Regional National Park is a beautifull area full of flamingos, wild ducks and large herds of bulls and horses.

The rich history, the art, the many fine museums and the excellent restaurants, all make Arles well worth the visit.


June 29, 2007 change by lpx

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