A load of Bull
Arles has quite a Spanish influence, and bull fights are very popular with the locals. Held sporadically at the roman arena, and coming out of the adjacent Camargue, the bulls and the "fighters" are very much rooted in the culture. Although the sponsorship from McDonalds was a bit of an irony!
The main difference with the Camarguaise style bull fights is that more emphasis is given to "humane" fights where the bullfighters aim to pull ribbons from between the bull's horns rather than kill the bull. Although be warned, there are also the full monty shows where the bull does get killed (so check the programme). In the show we went to, all the bulls happilly trotted off at the end of fifteen minutes - whereas some of the fighters came away with bruises and scrapes.
I'm not keen on the idea of animal cruelty, but I try to keep an open mind when it comes to local culture, and I fully admit to loving the whole spectacle and atmosphere of this. The crowd are really into it, the fighters are really into it, and I even suspect that at some level the bulls are too! I was surprised at how the bulls limbered up, and used some pretty crafty strategies to corner the fighters.
All in all, don't go if it offends your moral stances, but otherwise - Go!
Rhone - Provencal language
The name of the great Provence poet Frederik Mistral also is connected with Arles and Rhone.
Till XV century Provence had the Provencal language, but as a result "a common-French alliance" it gave up the place to French. However since XIX century language revives - verses and songs on Provencal are well known. Alphons Dode introduced Provencal air and accent in the French prose.
Place de la République
Placed in the heart of the city, this square is dominated by the Roman obelisk found in 1675 and once part of the Roman Forum. Here you can find the elegant église St-Trophime, the Hotel de Ville and the Musèe Lapidaire d'Art Paien.
Arles in the Renaissance and the Classical Period
The tour leads you to the 'Hôtel de Ville, Place de la République, Eglise Sainte Anne, Archévêché, Chapelle de la Charité, Espace Van Gogh, Hôtel de la Lauzière, Chapelle des Trinitaires, Museon Arlaten, Hôtel Damian de Vinsargues, Hôtel de Divonne, Place Paul Doumer, Hôtel de l'oeuvre du Bouillon, Eglise Saint Martin du Méjan, Musée Réattu, Grande Boucherie, Hôtel de Grille, Eglise Saint Julien, Porte de la Cavalerie, Fontaine Amédée Pichot, Couvent des Ursulines, Hôtel Barrème de Manville, Hôtel de Luppé, Hôtel Courtois de Langlade, Hôtel de Donine, Hôtel Quiqueran de Beaujeu, Maison des Amazones, Hôtel de Castillon, Hôtel Doutreleau, Place du Forum, Hôtel Léautaud de Donine, Hôtel Perrin de Jonquières, Hôtel Icard Duquesne, Chapelle des Jésuites and Le plan de la cour,
The Cloister of St-Trophime
Open every day of the year
- from middle june to beginning of september: 9-18.30
- from april to middle june: 9-12/14-18.30
- from october to november: 10-12/14-17
- from december to january: 10-11.30/14-16
- on febraury: 10-11.30/14-16.30
Price is low.