2 OR 3 hours
Your hotel or cruise ship
English, French & Spanish
If you love Roman monuments, this tour is for you! You will be surprised to find so many historical buildings, just walking through the streets of Arles.
Arles was a major Roman center founded in 45 B.C. This is why important buildings like an amphitheatre, a Roman theatre and and even a Roman circus, were built there.
The Amphitheatre is the 20th largest Roman amphitheatre in the world. It is worth a visit inside since it is very well preserved. Converted into a fortress to resist the invaders during the early Middle Ages, soon a village was built inside until the authorities finally decided to destroy the houses and restore the building as it was during the Roman time as much as they could.
Instead of gladiator fights, we have now very popular bullfights and « courses camarguaises ». Up to 500,000 visitors come every year for the “Féria de Pâques” (Easter festival), a festival where watching a bullfight and enjoying the night is a must do.
Next to the amphitheatre, is the Roman theatre, not as well preserved since it was used as a stone quarry in the Middle Ages. From the time of Augustus, it was a very ornate building - unlike the amphitheatre - with sumptuous statuary.
In addition, you can see the remains of the Roman thermal baths and go to museum « Musée de l’Arles antique », where many treasures of that time period are on display.
Van Gogh is another reason to come to Arles. The painter spent a year and a half there and completed many works under the bright light of Provence fascinated by breathtaking sceneries. In Arles, where he rented the « Yellow House » to welcome his friend Paul Gauguin, he painted the series of « Sunflowers », and « Self-Portrait with Bandaged Hear » after he got in a violent fight with Gauguin and cut his ear off. All over the town, you will see reproductions of his paintings in front of the real sites, such as « The Courtyard of the Hospital » or the yellow café of « Café Terrace at Night », the River Rhône, etc.
The last but not least, the Romanesque Saint-Trophime Church is a gem with a remarkable facade from the 12th century, which is like an open Bible with very lively and amazing scenes.
Of course, from Arles, you can extend the trip with a driving tour to visit interesting sites, such as Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and les Baux-de-Provence.