Arles Antiques Museum
The Arles Antiques Museum, called the Musée bleu, is a marvelous new museum located on the peninsula south of the center (a 10-minute walk) where the Roman Circus was once located. The museum was built in 1995 especially to display the archeological treasures discovered in and around the town.
The museum is built on a single level, with spacious rooms and good natural lighting. The only interior stairs are for a raised platform that allows a view down onto reassembled Roman mosaics, and that is also accessible by a long, gentle ramp.
Lightweight portable chairs are available for free. Grab one from a rack near the entrance and you can sit down to contemplate a display whenever you like.
Roman River Boat
The Arles Rhone 3 is a 2000-year-old Roman cargo boat discovered in the Rhone river in 2011, just beside the center of Arles, and put on display here in 2013. This ancient Roman trading vessel is 31 meters (102 feet) long and only 3 meters wide, and displayed without intervening glass so you inspect it as appeared to the Romans.
The Arles Rhone 3 boat was probably built in the 1st century, with oak planking, and had a 27-ton cargo of stones when it sank.
Many unbroken amphora were also discovered in the Rhone, and many are displayed in a row alongside the riverboat.
The Arles Antiques Museum has its own workshop for restoring ancient mosaics, and several excellent collections are displayed here. A special elevated viewing platform, accessible by ramp or stairs, gives you a good view down onto the reassemble mosaic floor sections.
The mosaics on display here were recovered from the Trinquetaille quarter of Arles on the right-bank of the Rhone (across the river from the town center). This was an upper-crust area of Roman Villas, usually with elaborate decoration.
The museum has displays of several excellent scale models, ranging from a model of Roman Arles, the Roman Circus, and many of the Roman buildings and sites, including the Arena and the Theatre. Our photo here is of the Constatine Baths and Basilique that were located in Arles in the 5th century.
Museum Outdoor Garden
A very nice garden area is located outside the museum, and open to all for free. The large, open area is pretty and relaxing. Along both sides are themed areas that could be of interest, and even educational, for the kiddies. At the end nearest the museum building is a maze. And there's an area of picnic tables for your dining pleasure.
Information about cost and opening hours is given on our Arles Museums, Sites page.