Café Van Gogh: One of Van Gogh's Night Spots
Located at the Place du Forum in the center of Arles, the cheery yellow Café du Nuit is the subject of Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night–his painting of an outdoor cafe with bright yellow walls against a navy star-swirled sky. (Actually, the limestone walls were beige, just illuminated yellow from gas lights newly installed in Arles, September 1888). To appease fans disappointed to find beige walls in their search for the yellow café, the owner simply painted the exterior to match the painting.
A century later tourists still flock to sit where Van Gogh sat, drank and painted. And I was no different.
*An interesting side note:
Van Gogh had gas lights installed in the kitchen and studio of his Yellow House the same September–leaks which, according to medical speculation, contributed to his epileptic fits that began the following month.
Dress Code: Casual.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Arles Bar Tabac: The Sweet "Bar-Tabac" lady
If you walk "south/SE" on rue Porte de Laure from the Roman Arena past Hotel Calendal on your left, most nights the "Bar/Tabac" will be open and hosting locals who are having a working-class nightcap.
Almost no one in here speaks a word of english, but that is a non-issue. Everyone is friendly and helpful to anyone armed with minimal, polite French.
Wine and liquor are served, but "Bar Tabac" is for beers and cigars/cigarettes.
This kind woman owns & runs the bar-tabac, and will make your stop worthwhile.
The "regulars" of Bar Tabac roll on the floor laughing at my terrible french, then buy me a beer and tutor me with much good humor. The lady/proprietor in the photo @ left presides and keeps good order.
When I ask for cigars she does not like, she gives them to me, then forces better ones of her recommendation on me.
I tell her "Non, merci madame " yet she pushes them on me and rings them up anyway, and damned if she isn't right every time.
Arles is not a nightlife hotspot, but if you want to meet and feel the real Provence french, stop in here for a bierre.
Dress Code: This place is the Provence answer to "Archie Bunker's Place." Dress up at your peril.
If you come trootsying in sporting an elitist, "hey, look at my life" attitude, wearing your Paris fashion pumps and order your usual "plastic" mojito, it is possible you will be cheerfully beaten to a pulp (and I will help..)
Walking Arles Late at Night: Serious Moonlight
Arles is so beautiful to walk late at night when the sky is clear and the moon is up.
This is a shot from the bottom of the stairs in the Jardin D'Ete on Blvd Lices, which walk up to the street past all restaurants to my hotel and eventually the Roman arena.
Dress Code: Fangs are optional
Cafe Van Gogh..... in Place du Forum: Arles Forum - Historic and Romantic Cafes
This ancient and intimate town square (Place du Forum) was once the heart of the city in Roman times.
It also contains the site where Van Gogh sat and painted some of his best art.
You can relax with a pastis in the exact location Van Gogh sat, with a large reproduction his painting (e.g. Arles Forum "Cafe Terrace Evening") sitting right next to you -
sounds touristy, but if you are (like me) a huge Vince fan and "in the right mood" ( heh-heh ) - it will do the job on your head.
Photo at top-right is a "merge" of the painting and a quick snap I took with my cheap 2001 digital camera.
There are lots of little cafes with outdoor seating in the forum for coffee & people watching.
Combined with the great Provence weather (provided the Mistral is not blowing)
this is one of my favorite "hangout" spots in all of France.
I don't personally recommend you eat dinner on the forum, but the atmosphere for cafe or drinks is excellent, as is the living history.
Dress Code: This is a great place to chill out with a pastis, carafe of vin rouge or a cafe and just "hang."
- Wine Tasting
- Historical Travel
- Study Abroad
Facades After Dark: Take Pictures of Famous Buildings After Dark
A few of the famous old facades and important monuments have lights that make them attractive a after dark. It does not take much time before settling down for a drink or ice cream before an early retirement. After all, there is so much to see during the day.
Dress Code: Casual
- Family Travel
Hotel Calendal Garden after 10pm: The garden at night serves local specialties
Try a versinthe or your favorite nightime cocktail in the Hotel Calendal Garden between 9pm and midnight, then go for a promenade.