Arles Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Arles

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    Musee de l'Arles Antique

    by Lady_Mystique Updated Nov 23, 2004

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    Roman statue

    ~ The Antique Arles Museum is home to one of the world's most famous collections of Roman Christian sarcophagi. There are over 10 detailed models depicting ancient monuments which are very convincing. The array of sculptures and pottery are so amazing and the inscriptions on many of the museum pieces date from the Augustinian period to the 6th century.

    ~What I particularly liked was the floor of ancient mosaics that one could see from a circular, encompassing walkway above the work. It was still being reassembled when I was there.

    ~The artifacts in the museum are truly amazing and very educational. It helps remind you that Arles existed long before Vincent Van Gogh came to live there. It shows a richness that was in its culture, and in the arts, before Van Gogh made this area famous.

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    Cathedral and Cloister of Saint-Trophime

    by Lady_Mystique Written Nov 23, 2004

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    Saint-Trophime

    ~ This wonderful cathedral and cloister in the centre of Arles is open to visitors who want to retrace the steps of the monks who passed from their dormitories to the Cathedral nearby.

    ~ This Romanesque cathedral, built in the III C. and rebuilt in the XII and XIV C. is famous for its sculptures and its imposing facade depicting the Last Judgement.

    ~ If you are so inclined, or lucky in your timing, you might be able to catch a mass in progress. I found the hymns being sung very beautiful!

    ~ The Cloister has carved vaults, pillars, Roman capitals of the XII C. and the tombstone of Geoffrey Ist. Personally, I found the tapestries illustrating the various episodes of the life of King Barberousse absolutely gorgeous!!

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    The Arles Roman Amphitheatre

    by Lady_Mystique Written Nov 23, 2004

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    Arles Amphitheatre & Admission Ticket

    ~ This two-tiered Roman Amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in Arles, which thrived in Roman times. It has 120 Romanesque arches that date back to the 1st Century B.C. The amphitheatre is capable of seating 20,00 spectators and was built to provide entertainment in the form of chariot races and bloody hand-to-hand battles.

    ~ Today the crowds come mainly for the bull-fighting. When not in use though, you can come and explore the labyrinth maze of corridors. As I walked through these dark coirridors I swear I felt and heard the people and animals that used to come through here. It's history felt so alive to me!

    ~ One of the most enjoyable aspects of this amphitheatre is that after you've climbed to the upper level you have a beautiful view of the surrounding landscape of Provence and the charming, terra-cotta-colored rooftops of Arles!

    Open Mar - Dec. Check times.

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    Van Gogh's View of the Arena

    by Lady_Mystique Updated Nov 23, 2004

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    The Arena by Van Gogh

    Lettre à Théo :
    " ... A propos, j'ai vu des combats de taureaux dans les arènes, ou plutôt des simulacres de combats, vu que les taureaux étaient nombreux, mais que personne ne les combattait. Seulement la foule était magnifique, les grandes foules bariolées, superposées à deux ou trois étages de gradins avec l'effet de soleil et d'ombre de l'immense cercle ..."

    It was not the fights at the arena that attracted van Gogh but it's magnificance; it's multi-layered effect of people; and, the effect of the sun on this immense circle.

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    Jardin d'Ete on Boulevard des Lices

    by davequ Updated Jan 5, 2007

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    Next to the Roman theater, there's a large public park, the Jardin d'Ete, with a playground where I like to sit and watch families play with their children.

    Jardin d'Ete on Boulevard des Lices was Van Gogh's inspiration for his painting "Entrance to the Public Garden in Arles " and is part of the Van Gogh walking tour you can get at the tourist information center on Blvd. des Lices.

    I took this picture in the late afternoon near the end of Sept. '03. I liked the shadows on this sculpture as it made her almost come alive.

    That is the south wall of the Antique Theater behind her.

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    Espace Van Gogh

    by Lady_Mystique Updated May 10, 2005

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    L'Espace Van Gogh

    Just north of the Boulevard, off Rue du President Wilson, the old Hotel Dieu has been converted into the Espace Van Gogh, which also contains the town's library.

    It's worth a look inside for the lovely, colourful courtyard, restored to look just as it did when Van Gogh painted it.

    This was the hospital in which the tortured artist recovered after cutting off his earlobe.

    Its cloistered grounds have become something of a shrine for visitors.

    Here, as elsewhere around Arles, the town has put up reproductions of his works all over the place.

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    check out the Rhone River

    by rwlittle Written May 9, 2004

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    Arles and the Rhone River

    "Starry Night Over the Rhone", the painting by Van Gogh, was painted here in Arles. You can see the Rhone from the top of the amphitheatre, or you can walk along it (though we did not do so at night, we were so tired for all the walking in the daytime).

    The photo shows a view of le Rhone & L’Eglise St. Julien on tower, as seen from the top of the amphitheater.

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    LES ARENES ( ROMAN ARENA)

    by LoriPori Written Dec 10, 2006

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    Les Arenes
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    The most impressive Roman monument in Arles, is the amphitheatre known as LES ARENES, dating from the end of the first century. It used to shelter over two hundred dwellings and three churches. This medieval quarter was cleared in 1830 and Les Arenes was once more used for entertainment, seating 20,000 spectators.

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    Roman amphitheatre

    by rwlittle Written May 9, 2004

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    night shot of L���Amphitheatre, Arles

    This Roman amphitheatre was built in 90 AD by the Roman Empire, and is still in use today, capable of sitting up to 20000 people at once. During the Middle Ages, the amphitheatre was used as a fortress, with many homes and two chapels housed inside. These days, cultural events and bullfights are held inside the amphitheatre.

    From the top of the amphitheatre, you can get a good view of the nearby city and the Rhone.

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    The Van Gogh Walking Tour

    by Lady_Mystique Updated Mar 31, 2005

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    Van Gogh recovered here after cutting his ear

    During his stay in Arles between February 1888 and May 1889,
    Vincent Van Gogh did about 300 drawings and paintings.

    In the city, the places where Van Gogh set up his easel
    are pointed out by panels representing his works :

    The Place du Forum for the "Evening Café",
    the Trinquetaille Bridge for the "Staircase of the Trinquetaille Bridge",
    the Rhone River Quay for the "Starry Night",
    the Place Lamartine for the "Yellow House",
    the Rue Mireille for the "Old Mill",
    the Summer Garden on the Boulevard des Lices for the "Public Garden",
    the Espace Van Gogh for the "Hospital Garden",
    the road along the Arles à Bouc Canal for the
    "Langlois Bridge with Washerwomen".

    The Arena and the Alyscamps were also depicted in several paintings.

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    The Rhone Valley and rooftops of Arles

    by davequ Updated Aug 23, 2004

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    View NW from top of Arena
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    I enjoyed and highly recommend the same thing everyone else does..... when you go to visit the Roman Arena, climb to the top and look off over the old city towards the Rhone river. This is what you will see.

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    Arles Foundation Van Gogh

    by davequ Updated Aug 30, 2004

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    A tribute site honoring Van Gogh and his style by many different authors and writers.

    A beautiful building and always worth a look inside.

    Check the website below for exhibitions and a sneak preview.

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    Ancient theatre

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 23, 2007

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    Arles - Ancient theatre

    One more monument of the most ancient times is the ancient theatre. It was constructed about 20 years before Christmas by a principle of the Greek temple. The theatre collected up to 12 thousand spectators. In the V-th century its stones were used for construction of churches.

    In the IX century it was surrounded by strengthenings, and then absolutely disappeared under houses and gardens. It was found in 1651 during works on clearing of a monument of the well-known sculpture of Arleas Venus. The sculpture is now in Louvre.

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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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    Roman obelisk

    by Kuznetsov_Sergey Updated Mar 23, 2007

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    Arles - Roman obelisk

    The square of Republic is the city centre. In the center of the square there is a Roman obelisk in height of 10 meters. It is turned from an integral granite stone and is the only in Europe all-in-stone obelisk created not in Ancient Egypt.

    It was found in 1389 in a garden nearby. In 1564 at Ekaterina Medici's presence it was completely dug out, and in 1675 it was solemnly established in the center of the square.

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