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  Villages /  Arles

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Arles

• Bouches-du-Rhône (13200)   • Population: 52,510  • Altitude: 10 m


Gallery of 12 photos for Arles

Arles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arles sits on a low hill where the Rhône river branches in two parts to the sea. The town dates back to the 7th century BC, and was a major Gallo-Roman city. The major Roman sites, such as the Arena and the Theater, are unique in that they are integrated into the houses and buildings of the town, rather than sitting apart as they do in places such as Orange. • Market day Sat, Wed.

The streets of this city are truly medieval in character: narrow and winding between ancient buildings. Automobile traffic is permitted on many of them, but walking is much easier than driving.

The Romanesque Cathédrale Saint-Trophime d'Arles is on the east side of the square, with its ornate entrance way with bas-relief columns, was built in the 12th century. The original belfry was replaced in the 13th century by the current square tower.

Adjacent to the Saint-Trophime Cathedral is the Saint-Trophime Cloistre, with its separate entrance onto the Place de la République. The Cloister was built in the second half of the 12th century, with a pair of galleries added in the 14th century. The central cloisters are being completely refurbished (2013), but the galleries are open for visits, housing art exhibits and (in the winter) the annual Salon des Santonniers.

Squares

The Place du Forum is our favorite square in Arles. In the center of the old town, up the Rue du Palais (northwest of Place de la République), Place du Forum is packed with terrace cafés, restaurants and of couple of excellent hotels. There are many small shops and boutiques on the narrow streets radiating from the square.

The Place de la République is the main square in the old town, north up Rue Jean Jaurès from the Bvd des Lices. In the center of the square is a 19th-century fountain topped with a Roman obelisk. The obelisk was erected in Arles' Roman circus by the Roman emperor Constaine II. After the circus was abandoned in the 6th century, the obelisk fell and was lost until the 14th century, then mounted on a new pedestal in its current location in the 17th century.

Top of the Arles town hall At the north end of the Place de la République is the Arles town hall (hôtel de ville), built in the middle of the 17th century and still in use as the town hall today.

The Sainte-Anne d'Arles Church, on the west side of the Place de la République, was the main parish church in the Middle Ages. It was rebuilt once in the 12th century, but fell into ruin. The current church was completely rebuilt in the early 17th century.

Arles' Cathedral Saint-Trophime, Place de The Romanesque Cathédrale Saint-Trophime d'Arles is on the east side of the square, with its ornate entrance way with bas-relief columns, was built in the 12th century. The original belfry was replaced in the 13th century by the current square tower.

Adjacent to the Saint-Trophime Cathedral is the Saint-Trophime Cloistre, with its separate entrance onto the Place de la République. The Cloister was built in the second half of the 12th century, with a pair of galleries added in the 14th century. The central cloisters are being completely refurbished (2013), but the galleries are open for visits, housing art exhibits and (in the winter) the annual Salon des Santonniers.

Santons in Arles

Santons of santon makers (<i>santonniers Every winter (mid Nov - mid Jan) Arles hosts the Salon des Santonniers. This annual Santons Fair is located in the Cloitre St-Trophime, on the Place de la République. The Cloitre is adjacent to the 17th-century Eglise Saint-Anne on the east side of the square. The santons are exhibited in the large, ancient rooms of the cloister.
• Santons Arles 2013 Photo Gallery.
• Santons Arles 2015 Photo Gallery.
The many santons on display include a huge Provencal scene with hundreds of amazing details and many other exhibits by some of the most famous santonniers of provence. We've been visiting the Arles Salon des Santonniers since the Millennium winter of 1999-2000.
• Entry: €4.50 (2015)

Arles Museums

Fabulous museums to visit in Arles include the Roman Arena, Roman Theatre, Roman Forum and Tunnels, the Arles Antiques Museum, and others. Arles Museums you to info-photo pages for these museums:

Photography

The International Photography Encounter is an annual summer event in Arles. You can get more information from the Office de Tourisme, or directly from the Event organizers (Tel: (33) 490 96 76 06).

Parks and Playgrounds

A lovely calm park, with benches and curved walkways is located along the Bvd. des Lices, by the end of the Roman "Theatre Antique" - very handy for resting your weary feet on a market day (Saturday and Wednesday). Large trees, including a truly gigantic cedar, provide a welcome shade on the hottest days.

A playground with lots of colorful rides is also beside the Bvd des Lices, just above the park.

Favorite Sons

Van Gogh came here from Paris on 20 Feb 1888. He stayed 14 months, until 8 May 1889, having one of his most prolific times, producing 200 paintings. From 23 Oct to 26 Dec he was with Paul Gaugin.

Visiting Nearby Arles

We've often been asked about visiting area villages while based in Arles, and the answer is: this is a good base to visit a lot of different places.

Southwest of Arles is Aigues-Mortes; a very historical, walled town, from where the Knights departed on their Crusades. Very crowded with tourists during the summer, but active and a lot of fun for all that.

Northeast of Arles is Les Baux-de-Provence. Touristy, but lovely and very interesting. It does require a lot of walking for a visit, and close parking is difficult during the season. The adjacent Les Baux Carrières de Lumières light show inside an ancient stone quarry is magnificent.
- St Remy-de-Provence is a good town to visit; many things of interest; plenty of terrace cafés for the less energetic to rest while others tour; a home of Van Gogh.

East and northeast of Arles is an area with lovely little villages fairly close together, including Fontvieille and Maussane-les-Alpilles. South of Fontvieille, only 11 km from Arles is the Roman archeological site Barbegal Mill, Aqueduct.

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