Arles Things to Do

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    The coliseum in Arles
    by Herkbert

Most Recent Things to Do in Arles

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    Van Gogh's Inspiration

    by Herkbert Updated Nov 3, 2013

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    La Cafe de Nuit is a small non-descript cafe in a square filled with other cafes. The one distinguishing thing about it is the placard out front that shows that it was the inspiration for Van Gogh's Starry Night painting.

    It wasn't too crowded, but there were lots of people around taking pictures. We didn't get back there in the evening, so I can't tell you about the stars.

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    Visit the ancient Roman Coliseum

    by Beausoleil Updated May 1, 2013

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    Coliseum in Arles Old Town
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    The Roman Coliseum is in the center of Old Town in Arles. It is so large you can't possibly miss it. The little tourist train stops at the foot of the Coliseum. Tours are available and the coliseum is still used for events including bull fights. There is a Van Gogh Museum on one side of the coliseum and hotels, tea rooms, cafes and many souvenir shops. It is a very festive atmosphere, fun to just wander around.

    Here's a fun interactive map of Arles. Have fun. Interactive Map of Arles

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    Driving the Camargue

    by softseattraveler Written Jun 10, 2012

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    Camargue Horseman, Camargue Provence

    The Camargue is a nice area of Provence for a driving trip.
    You can make it a long loop trip from Arles, one that we took in a two day tour of the Camargue with a return to Arles each day.
    The loop described here totals about 180 miles round trip.
    Places of interest to us were Aigues Mortes, a huge walled town of the 12 century. At Aigues Mortes we saw the Camargue horses in large enclosures nearby, outside the walls on the southeast side of the town. From there we drove to Saints Maries de la Mer. We saw flamingoes in the shallow lakes and horses roaming in the grasslands. The horses that we saw were not wild but were in open range.
    From Saintes Maries we drove to Port St Louis du Rhone.
    If you have not seen wildlife by then you can book a tour out of Port Saint Louis. The Parc Naturel Regional de Camargue is between Saintes Maries and Port Saint Louis.
    From Port Saint Louis we returned to Arles on the D36. Within that loop we saw flamingos in the lakes and white horses in the grasslands.

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    Arena

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Feb 10, 2012

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    Arles - Arena

    The Golden Age of Arles has fallen at times of Roman emperors - Konstantin and Adrian. The Arena reminds those times. Arena of Arles is one of the most well kept Roman amphitheaters in Europe.

    You can watch my 3 min 16 sec Video Arles out of my Youtube channel.

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    Walk around.

    by Dizzyhead Written May 21, 2011

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    Arles is not so huge and I would say that the best way to get around this medieval town is to use your feet and walk. But bring with you a very good pair of shoes that you have used before. You will get more out of the city if you walk and it is wonderful. Just have your camera in your hand, if you find something interesting to take a picture of, maybe for showing us here on virtualtourist. There are so many pretty and beautiful buidlings that you have to take a picture of and share with all other members.

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    Rhone.

    by Dizzyhead Updated May 11, 2011

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    The river goes through the little beautiful town of Arles and on the both sides of the river you have possibilities to walk or run. Many of the local people walk their dogs here and and I have also seen many just bring their newspaper and something to drink, and then just sit down on any of the sides of Rhone. For relaxing. It is like a meeting point for many people. It is always nice to be close to the water. On the the river come many cargo ships and you can also see that on one of my movies from Arles. You can always say that the water, even if it is a river, it is the pumping heart of the river.

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    L'Amphithéâtre/Arènes d'Arles

    by Redang Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    L'Amphith����tre (Arles, France)
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    This Amphithéâtre (Amphitheater) eas built around 90 A.D. With a length of 136 m. and a width 107 m., it could hold up to 25.000 spectators. As you can see from the pics, it's mostly used as a bullring.

    UNESCO World Heritage since 1.981.

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    Just call me Elizabeth Hemingway

    by skywalkerbeth Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    take picture and run like hell

    Imagine watching a bullfight in a 2000+ year old Roman Arena. An Arena which seems to have barely fallen prey to the hands of time. The sun-warmed seats are carved into the stone, and apart from the loudspeakers blaring, you could almost feel like you stepped into a time portal.

    Usually in France they have the no-kill bullfights, the Course Camarguaise. A few times a year they have the Corrida. One in particular is the Feria du Riz, in September. As I had never seen a bullfight I decided to get a ticket to the event when I got to town. But not before "running with the bulls" . (see picture - these were actually small bulls, not the ones used for the actual fight)

    It may seem odd to watch a bullfight in France, but this part of France seems to occasionally embrace some Spanish traditions. (I also found out the Gipsy Kings are from Arles!).

    It starts out with a great deal of pageantry. Beautiful and talented horse and rider teams, doing their pirouettes for the crowd. I found out a good horse could run 100K dollars - this was 2001!

    Then, the bull, who by now is in a frenzy in his little cage, is released, and a horse and rider (picador) entice and enrage the bull into chasing them around the arena. I was amazed at how calm the horses remained - at some times the horse was barely inches ahead it seemed but very controlled and graceful.

    When he got close enough, the rider would take two long spears, festooned with ribbons, and plunge them into the bull's shoulders and side. This whole scenario is meant to tire him out.

    The horse and rider exits and the matador comes out. There is some footplay for the crowd for a while, and, the final coup de grace comes after the bull "gives up" - usually by falling to its knees. At that point it is over VERY fast. The matador spikes him right between the ears and the bull drops like a tree. Legs up - no joking.

    It's a sad denouement when the horse drawn winch comes into the arena to drag the bull away.

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    Les Arenes

    by agarcia Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Les Arenes

    Les Arenes (The Arena) is a good example of public buildings reutilization, and an indispensable visit. What was once the scene of brutal battles between gladiators now is the scene of not so brutal fights between bullfighters and bulls. Well, at least the French version of Bullfighting is not as dangerous for the bull's health as the Spanish one (which inevitably and sadly always ended with the dead of the animal)

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    Les Baux

    by davequ Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Dead City

    The old dead city above the new city.
    Windy, windy .. with excellent hiking through the ruins.....
    then dejeuner (some good restaurants & cafes with Provence cuisine)
    down in the new city... An afternoon well spent in Les Baux.

    Pinched this photo from http://www.lesbauxdeprovence.com/us/index.html (credit T.Fréchier)

    I took a vista shot climbing down to the new city, but forgot to take any of my own in the old city. Sorry 'bout that.

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    Arena

    by davequ Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    ghosts in the arena

    The Roman Arena in Arles most likely looks much like it did almost 2000 years ago.

    I could feel the history as I walked through the interior and all the passageways from the gladiators' dressing rooms, through stables where animals were kept, and out into the arena itself.
    Be sure to climb to the top. There are great views of the city of Arles and Provence from the top row of the arena.

    The arena is right next to hotel le Calendal. They still hold outdoor events and bullfights in the arena. I root for the bull.
    I took this one evening after midnight.

    The city of Nimes, just a few kilometers NW of Arles, also has an excellent Roman Arena.
    Southern France is filled with outstanding roman ruins.

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    Perhaps The Earliest Nativity Story in Stone

    by hquittner Written Feb 4, 2011
    Annunciation (rt) and Joseph's Dream (lt)
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    There are two friezes elaborating the facade of St. Trophime church. One should read what is probaby the first sculpture of a nativity story of Jesus which is given in the lower frieze below the tympanum on the facade. It starts at the edge of the north main door with the Annunciation and Joseph's dream and progresses to the south main door edge with the first bath and the Nativity. The following events include the stories of the Magi, the killing of the Innocents and the Flight Into Egypt.

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    The Major Saints On the Church Facade

    by hquittner Written Feb 4, 2011
    Five Northern  SaintsSt. Trophime
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    Lateral to each side of the main doors of the church stand five statues of important saints of the church. The lateral ones stand between Corinthian columns. The medial one on the north is St. Trophime dressed in high religious attire. On the south facade at the same point is a decapitation of St. Stephen showing his soul going to heaven. In this period there was no recognition of excessive expression and so sculpture was applied where ever there was free room. Immediately below Stephen sitting on the facade base is a forlorn Daniel with two crying lions.

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    In the NW Cloister Corner Stands St. Trophime

    by hquittner Updated Jan 26, 2011

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    St. Trophime & Maries Buying Oil for Jesus' Burial
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    St. Trophime stands on the outer corner of the northwest point of the cloister. He is one of the earliest examples of full height statues created by the Moissac and Toulouse masons on leaving for new sites. They came to Arles in 1160 after first doing some similar works 10 miles west in St. Gilles. These tall deeply carved works, almost free standing, were similarly being created at Chartres on its west facade. That Cathedral was shortly destroyed by fire. Luckily Chartres west facade was saved allowing its statues to become more famous. On the northeast corner is St. Stephen, but no statue is remains from the third corner. There are four sets of statues in between the ends, also on pilasters and most have survived. Few visitors stop to look at them; walking in the cloister in the shade for a few minutes is enjoyable enough.

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    The Last Judgement Display on St.Trophime

    by hquittner Written Jan 23, 2011

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    Adam and Eve Committing The Original Sin
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    The story of the Last Judgement occurs on the West facade of St. Trophime covering two friezes lateral to the tympanum, the upper one at the level of the lintel. The story has a prelude with the Original Sin starring Adam and Eve on the north lateral upper frieze. The saved souls start on the main west facade. On the right facade starts the walk of the damned and they continue around onto the lateral face. Large bas-relief sculptures complete the story with St. Michael weighing the souls on the north lateral face and the devil on the south lateral face.

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