Throughout history, this once sleepy city in France has been visited by many names that might sound familiar to you — Julius Caesar, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso. The beautiful town of Arles has so much to offer, and it’s hard not to fall in love with it. It’s got a rich history, art, culture, and exceptional food! While Arles isn’t the most famous city in Provence, it should get a lot more attention than it does. That’s why I’ve put together a few reasons why I love Arles, and hopefully, you will too.
During Roman times, Arles was once home to 30,000 people, and many Roman monuments are still standing (a lot more weathered) today. The most famous Roman wonder you can visit is the Amphitheatre; it was inspired by Rome’s Colosseum and was built in 90 AD.
You can also visit Arles’s theatre, where performances continue to occur nearly 2000 years after its inception.
Arles is also home to the Church of St. Trophime, which has some of the most celebrated sets of Romanesque sculptures and carvings.
The “Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antiques” is also worth visiting. Here you can find many artifacts, mosaics, statues, Christian sarcophagi, and decorative pieces from many of the Roman structures in Arles.
Arles and Artists
Quite a few artists made their way down to Arles, but the most notable of them was Vincent van Gogh. In the late 1880s, Vincent van Gogh stayed in Arles for a year and painted some of his most recognizable paintings.
During his time, his mental health deteriorated, and he famously mutilated his ear. Unfortunately, some of his sites have disappeared; however, many places are still present, such as the Bridge of Langlois.
If you are a fan of his work, make sure you visit the Foundation Van Gogh to learn more about his life and art style. You can also take a tour that will take you through the streets, showing where Vincent van Gogh stayed and the sites he painted.
Another artist whose work you can admire is Jacques Réattu, who was also born in the city. Musée Réattu, which was named after him, is the leading art museum in Arles. You can find over 800 pieces of his work in the museum. The museum is also home to 57 paintings by Pablo Picasso.
You’ll also be able to find sketches from French fashion designer Christian Lacroix.
Taste Provençal Food
The food in Provence is known for its freshness. If you ever visit Arles, make sure you try out the local dishes.
Being located right by the Mediterranean, the seafood in Arles is terrific!
Many restaurants will also serve their food with French cheese, and the local wine that will only cost you a few euros is the perfect pairing for all your meals.
Festivals and Events
Apart from all the art and history, festivals in the city are also spectacular.
While there are many events in Arles, if you ever get the chance to visit during Easter, you should. You’ll get to experience music and dancing on the streets as well as Encierro, where courageous locals spend the morning running around the city square with eight bulls. The Easter festival lasts for four days, and it’s important to keep in mind that they can get very crowded at times.
There are other festivals such as “Les Rencontres d’Arles,” which showcases amazing photos of photographers from all across the world.
If you’re someone who likes good food, history, and art and is thinking of visiting France, I’d recommend planning a trip to Arles. The city of Arles won’t disappoint! If you decide to visit Arles, you know who to contact — we’ll handle the rest.