Arles

Arles is shaped by millennia of history, and its ancient Roman monuments and mediaeval treasures enjoy UNESCO World Heritage status.

Vincent van Gogh immortalised Arles too, in some of his most emotional work, while Pablo Picasso came here for the bullfights, the ferias, the Spanish-accented music and food - and the famously beautiful women.

Today, the Rencontres d'Arles, the city's major photography festival, plus the new Vincent van Gogh art foundation and huge LUMA cultural complex are sweeping Arles into the 21st century.

Our slide show gallery celebrates Arles' past, present - and future. Click on each image or scroll down the page to read more about each attraction. And click here to read our full guide to the Camargue.

booking.com logoClick here to book a hotel in Arles

 

Photo credits: images © SJ for Marvellous Provence except aerial view of the amphitheatre (Arles Tourist Office), LUMA Arles (LUMA Arles), Arles women in traditional dress (tradicioun.org) and mini Roman legionnaires (Romain Boutillier / Ville d'Arles).

 

Van Gogh Self PortraitVincent Van Gogh lived in Arles for just 15 months. But it was the most thrilling period of the painter's life, and a stroll round his haunts reveals the city through his eyes.

arena arles smallThe small town of Arles was once a mighty Roman metropolis. And many of its ancient monuments survive, dominating the city and earning its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

bust julius caesar arlesPacked with must-see treasures, the Musée Arles Antique whisks you back in time to the Romans and beyond to give you fasincating insights into life in ancient Arles.

entrance fondation van goghThe Fondation Vincent van Gogh is a new gallery in Arles dedicated to the artist who immortalised the city in some of his greatest work.

arelate childrenThe Arles region is full of things to do for families, from visiting a bull ranch and spotting flamingos to riding a white Camargue horse and chilling on a superb sandy beach.

picasso harlequin reattuArles' gallery of contemporary art, the Musée Réattu, is housed in the 15th century Grand Priory of the Order of Malta in a superb location on a bend in the Rhône river. Its collection, too, is impressive.

arles women in costume smallArlésiennes - the women of Arles - and their elegant traditional dress are famed for their beauty, celebrated in dramatic festivals and ceremonies in the city throughout the summer.

fondation van gogh urs fischer smallArles commands a small but varied array of museums, with collections ranging from fabulous ancient Roman treasures to cutting edge contemporary art - and the cult of the Camargue cowboy.

luma arles smallLUMA Arles is a wildly ambitious plan for a vast cultural campus and business hub on a site called the Parc des Ateliers just outside the city's historic centre.

saint trophime statuteArles' most beautiful church is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture whose magnificence reveals the wealth and power of the mediaeval city.

telephone bullArles' cultural scene has spawned a small but growing number of specialist cinemas, galleries and bookshops. Here's a list, plus the nearest embassies, consulates, doctors, lawyers and emergency phone numbers.

weather vane arles bullFor many visitors the best time to visit Arles is between June and September, when the big, bull-themed fiestas, folk costume celebrations, open-air music events and international photography festival all take place.

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