Remote, uneventful, but definitely no waste of time, Arles is absolutely steeped in Provençal culture. The museums are small, but have some interested artifacts. Unfortunately there are no Van Goghs to be found in the city, despite the fact that his residence in Arles was his most productive. Chico Bouchiki, co-founder of the Gypsy Kings, as well as the rest of the band, is from Arles. Take a lazy stroll along the Rhône, dip into a café and continue strolling. Arles is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List
- 1 Office de Tourisme d'Arles, Boulevard des Lices, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Apr-Sep: M-Sa 09:00-18:45; Oct: M-Sa 09:00-17:45, Su 10:00-13:00; Rest of the year: M-Sa 09:00-16:45, Su 10:00-13:00.
There are several bus lines from towns all over the Bouches-du-Rhône. You can always buy your passage from the conductor.
- 3 Gare Routière (bus station).
Take the Autoroute from Salon or yet another from Marseille, but give preference to the smaller routes and Alpilles towns like Fontvieille, Paradou, les baux, etc.
Arles is for the most part small enough to enjoy by foot, if you aren't lazy. Otherwise, rely on taxis and buses.
Rent bicycles or a motor wheel for day trips in the alpilles around Arles.
- 1 Taco & Co (right in front of the railway station). A few old bicycle, but cheap. The also have luggage storage (€5 / 24 hr). €10 full day, €7 half-day.
- 3 The H company, 1 Bis Rue Emile Fassin. Tu-Su, 10:00-12:30 14:00-19:00. Visit Arles on gyropodes. From €17.
- Arles Patrimoine, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Most of the important sites of Arles can be visited on a combined ticket, which includes the ampthitheatre, the antique theatre, the cryptoporticos, the cloister, and many more. €12 for 4 sites plus museums, €16 for all sites.
- 1 Arènes d'Arles (Roman ampthitheatre). was built in the first or second century B.C. houses Corridas at Easter and the Rice Festa in September. Throughout the summer there are various courses camarguaises (bloodless bullfighting). €9 (?).
- 2 Théatre Antique d'Arles (Classical theatre). W-M 10:00-18:00. It was built at the end of the 1st century BC. €9 (free every first Sunday of the month and for children up to 18).
- 3 Cryptoportiques (Cryptoporticos) (Place de la Republic and Place du Forum). Now completely underground, the cryptoporticos, a semi-subterranean gallery, was a sort of a base for the Roman Forum in Arles. It was built at the end of 1st century BC. The current structure has a horseshoe form. The entrance is located inside the Hôtel de Ville d'Arles (aka Mairie d'Arles).
- 4 Thermes de Constantin. The remains of the Roman baths
- 5 Cathédrale Saint-Trophime (Church of Saint Trophime). A church in Romanesque style built in XIIth century. Besides the church there is a quite remarkable cloister.
- 6 Cloister Saint-Trophime. A former monastery with a beautiful courtyard. €5.50.
- 7 Espace Van Gogh (Médiathèque & Bibliothèque Municipale), Place Docteur Félix Rey, ☏ . A former hospital with a courtyard where Van Gogh was kept under medical treatment. Free.
Out of historical centre
- 8 Alycamps. An ancient burial site and early Christian cemetery. Eglise Saint Honorat is at the SE end of the place.
- 9 Pont de Langlois (Pont Van Gogh) (quite a bit out of the city centre). It was the subject of several paintings by Vincent van Gogh.
- 10 Musée de l'Arles et de la Provence antiques (Musée de l'Arles antique), Presqu'île-du-cirque-romain BP 205, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. An archeological museum of Arles. At the NE side of the museum there are some very scarce remains of the Roman circus.
- 11 Musée Réattu (Fine Arts museum), 10, rue du Grand Prieuré, ☏ . Nov-Feb Tu-Su 10:00-17:00, Mar-Oct daily 10:00-18:00. €8.
- 12 Museon Arlaten, 29-31 rue de la République, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Closed for renovations until 2018.
Beyond the city
Each of the following or some combined can be visited on a day tour by bicycle from Arles.
- 13 Abbaye de Montmajour (a few km northeast of Arles). A national monument and former Benedictine monastry founded in 948. €6.
- 14 Les Moulins d'Alphonse Daudet, Fontvieille (10 km northeast of Arles). Four picturesque windmills of which two are excellently preserved. €2 to get inside the actual Moulin de Daudet.
- 15 Camargue (just 20-30 km south of Arles). One of Europe's largest river deltas and wetlands, a great place to spot flamingos and French cowboys.
- 16 Réserve Naturelle des Marais du Vigueirat (30 km southeast of Arles). A 1,200 ha nature reserve and one of the most popular sites inside the Camargue. With over 2,000 types of flora and fauna, including flamingos, herons, toros, horses, and much more.
The Market and definitely think about researching for expositions and other events of the sort.
- Markets and brocantes.
- Check out the Saturday market for sure.
Saucisson d'Arles (traditionally made with a bit of donkey meat), marinated olives from the market, Languedoc cheeses from the market, etc. Other dishes: Gardianne de Boeuf, Daubes, Fougasse d'Arles (with duck confit inside)
For restos, check out the menus on side street restaurants.
- 1 La Bohême, 6 Rue Balze, ☏ .
- 2 La Mule Blanche, 9 Rue du Président Wilson, ☏ .
- 3 Querida, 37 rue des Arenes, ☏ . lunch from noon; dinner from 19:00; closed Tu & W.
- Pastis, the local wines are good with food. Take advantage of the proximity of Nîmes for wines.
- There's the embarrassingly touristy Café Van Gogh, painted to look like his Night Café painting and lots of Japanese tourists who seem to be on the verge of a euphoric break-down when they see it.
- Check out some of the other cafés in place du Forum, Rue Wilson, etc...
If you plan on camping in this area, keep in mind that Arles is surrounded by rivers, streams, and marshes which all have mosquitoes. Another favored alternative is sleeping in the streets. Place de la Libération offers a hospitable sidewalk with a boulder, dedicated to two American WWII pilots shot down over Arles, under shelter of which you may sleep.
- Auberge de Jeunesse (Youth Hostel), 20, avenue Foch (walking distance of the train station).
- Résidence Club Le Domaine de l'Estajan, ☏ . The residence is made up of several small buildings, no higher than one floor, spread around the Maeva Camargue estate: Les Roselières, Les Oliviers, Les Amandiers, Les Piboules, etc. A large number of leisure activities (riding, tennis, golf, etc.) and relaxation facilities (balneotherapy centre) are available.
There are a few hotels apparently built within parts of former abbeys, such as Hôtel du Cloître by Saint Trophime. Also, there are tons of hôtels de tourisme.
Arles is centrally located. The town straddles Provence and the Languedoc. Profit from its positioning and enjoy the great nature that surrounds: the Camargue and beaches to the south, the Alpilles to the east, etc.
- Aix-en-Provence the city of Cézanne and the Montagne Sainte-Victoire.