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"Arles & Provence: Van Gogh, Wine and Roman Ruins" Top 5 Page for this destination Arles by davequ

Arles Travel Guide: 321 reviews and 867 photos

I love it here

above: a snap with my back to the Arena facing into the heart of old Arles looking N/NW in the direction of the Rhone.

Every time I go to France, before I hit Paris, I make a 3-5 day side trip into the Provence, with Arles as a home base.


- The city of Arles & the surrounding towns in and around the Provence (Nimes, St. Remy/Glanum, Orange, Aix-en-Provence) have stunning ancient Roman architecture and ruins.

- Arles was the inspiration for many of Van Gogh's paintings, and he painted almost 200 Arles scenes.
Gauguin stayed and painted with Vincent at the "yellow house" in Arles which has been restored from bombing in WWII.

- And I love Provence food

But Arles is more than a boring history lesson / travelogue. To me, it is a great "mood"
best enjoyed by wandering the old city at all hours.

Other fun things to do in Arles/Provence:

I like to rent a car or motorcycle and drive an hour north on smaller sideroads to Chateauneuf du Pape, home of some of my favorite wine in all of France, along with many other Cotes du Rhones.

I try never to miss "Market Day" in Arles every Wednesday and Saturday. I have some Market Day fotos here:
Market Day

The ancient side streets and alleys of Arles

Day and late-night (recommended) walks through the old alleys of Arles are one of my favorite things to do.
I just wander, turn randomly down each narrowing passage, and try to get lost.

There is a surprise around every corner.

Antique Theater - Ruins from first century

One of my favorite places to sit quietly and enjoy is the Antique Theater,
just about 100 meters downhill west from the Roman Arena.

In the mid-afternoon around 14:30 it seems there is usually a lull in activity
and tourist traffic.

I like to take this time to sit near the ruins in the cool shade of the southwest corner of the theater behind the stage and let the history & surroundings sink in.
It is so peaceful.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Sunlight, Cotes du Rhones, Roman ruins, Provence cuisine, lazy countryside drives
  • Cons:a little touristy: sometimes during the day the Forum can resemble Place du Tertre
  • In a nutshell:Arles is great to walk both day & night - I'm getting the urge to go back
  • Last visit to Arles: Sep 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (57)

Comments (27)

  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2011 at 11:28 PM

    This page deserves accolades by the bucketful. I look forward to returning to Arles this year especially since thanks to you, I now realise just how much of it I haven't seen before. Thank you Dave.

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Jun 2, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    Great page Dave!

  • Oct 13, 2009 at 7:35 AM

    Great web page, photos and tips! Went to Arles and Avignon in 2005 but briefly and it's all a bit of a blur. Thanks...

  • vinc_bilb's Profile Photo
    Aug 7, 2009 at 7:23 AM

    Nice pages! You're right about Mistral: it can be irritating, making people (slightly?) crazy. But, at the same time, it's cleaning the sky, moving to the famous "deep blue" so beautiful and unique...

  • mariaschmidt's Profile Photo
    Jun 16, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    Beautiful photos and interesting tips - I am going there soon to follow your steps

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2008 at 11:19 AM

    Very useful tips for my upcoming trip in August 09. I was planning to ask someone upon my arrival if the mistral ever blows in August, but after reading your tips, I guess not. Excellent pages!

  • Elodie_Caroline's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2008 at 1:58 AM

    I love your Arles page, Dave. Embarrassingly, I first knew of Arles and the Roman ruins through 'Ronin'. I knew of Orange from Space night, a beautiful place. I hope you can still smoke in the forum for if I ever make it there!

  • Marisola's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2008 at 6:07 AM

    Great pages! Have you read "Lust for Life" about the life of Van Gogh? It's fascinating!

  • Nov 27, 2007 at 10:43 AM

    Great hotel!! Well appointed, quiet & a great breakfast!

  • Aafia's Profile Photo
    May 4, 2006 at 11:21 AM

    Merci pour toutes les bonnes suggestions. Je vais en France la semaine prochaine et j'ai hâte de visiter Arles. Je suis sûre que vos suggestions rendront ma visite plus agréable. Afai


“♫♫ ... "What this world needs is a good $2 room and a good $2 broom" ... ♫♫ © Don Van Vliet”

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