Arles Pictures Guide, France

Les Arenes, Roman Arena, Arles, Provence, France

Les Arenes, a monumental Roman arena

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.

Arles Tourism

Théatre Antique, Arles, Provence, 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!

Cathédral St Trophime

Catedral St Trophime, Place de la Republic, Arles, Provence, France

Cathédral St Trophime, Place de la Republic, Arles.

The 9th century Cathédral St Trophime in the centre of Arles is embellished with a simply gorgeous and intricately carved 12thC doorway, claimed to be the best example of medieval Provencal stonework in existence (see below).

Stone carving, Cathédral St Trophime, Arles, Provence, France

The doorway’s theme is the Last Judgement and accomplished with verve and some humour – probably unintentional. Inside the cathedral are more points of interest from the elaborate font to the magnificently ornate cloisters.

Musée Réattu

Musee Reattu, Rhine River, Provence, France

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.

Hotel Dieu

Hotel Dieu, Espace Van Gogh, Arles, Provence, France

The God Hotel in Arles

You may think that it’s odd that God needs a hotel but actually it’s a medieval term meaning the main hospital in any sizeable town.
Arles’ Hotel Dieu now contains not only a photo exhibition and a shop selling all sorts of Van Gogh memorabilia such as place mats, but is also recreated as one of Van G’s more famous works, The Hospital’s Garden (see below).

Van Gogh's Hospital's garden painting, Arles, Provence, France

The Hospital’s Garden place mat, Arles.

A re-creation of Van Gogh's Hospital's garden, Arles, France

Espace Van Gogh, a culture and study centre recreating the Hospital’s Garden.

Arles’ art and arty sights

Van Gogh art gallery, Arles, Provence, France

Another Van Gogh exhibition. Though sadly none of Arles’ galleries own any original Van Goghs, they do show many works inspired by the VG man, from Francis Bacon to David Hockney.

a luscious Cathedral Cloisters exhibition, Arles, Provence, France

One of many luscious little galleries in Arles, this one is situated in the cloisters of the Cathédral St Trophime.

cloisters of Cathédral St Trophime, in Arles, Provence, France

The pay-to-enter cloisters of Cathédral St Trophime, well worth a few euros, for both cloister views and art exhibitions.

A strange doorway in Arles, Provence, France

An extravagant doorway to a legal firm in Arles.

Les Alyscamps

Les Alyscamps sarcophogi, Arles, France

The entrance to Les Alyscamps, the atmospheric ancient Roman burial ground just outside Arles. Sarcophagi (stone coffins) and how they were pictured by Van Gogh.