Les Arenes, a monumental Roman arena and a prime sight in Arles.
Arles’ most famous sight is a massive Roman arena which holds bullfights, without the death part but with gladiatorial events that are more family fare than something an Afganisthan vet would enjoy.
The 900 year-old Arena, which housed over 200 residences and three churches in medieval days, is just one of the Arles’s medieval and Roman attractions, Provence, South of France.
One of the great A’s of Provence, Arles forms a close and convenient tourist triangle with Aix-en-Provence and Avignon.
We enjoyed all three cities enormously but found them to have quite distinct characters.
Aix seems the most traditionally French, a place to sit around enjoying the ambience, while Avignon offers monster historical sights and Arles seems to be the arty sibling, a town with some big sights to be sure, but also full of interesting art galleries, major photographic events and little artistic flourishes added by local people – a wacky altered lamppost, a mad shop front, a bizarre sculpture peeping out of someone’s window, a balcony overflowing with kaleidoscopic tat. . . the place is infested with enthusiasm for visual absurdities. It’s a hoot, mon!
The Musée Réattu, once a 15thC priory, on a bank of the Rhone River. The museum houses a lot of less-than-entertaining 18thC works but also a fine collection of modernists.
The entrance to Les Alyscamps, the atmospheric ancient Roman burial ground just outside the city. Sarcophagi (stone coffins) and how they were pictured by Van Gogh.