Once the home of master artist, Vincent van Gogh, Arles is a Provencal city of remote tranquility and arresting beauty. Located on the Rhone River in the Bouches-du-Rhone department of South France, Arles formerly belonged to the prominent Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis.
One of the city’s biggest attractions is the surviving remnants of Roman architecture, which include the Roman Amphitheater. Seating 25,000 people, this large arena serves today as a venue for bullfights, festivals and other special events. A few other significant Gallo-Roman structures are the Classical Theatre, the Cryptoporticus, the Obelisk and the Church of Saint Trophime.
Arles offers several fantastic museums where tourists can experience the city’s Provencal culture and history through artifacts and art works. A few couple notable museums include the Museon Arlaten and Musee de l’Arles et de la Provence antique.
After Vincent van Gogh illustrated many beautiful scenes of the city’s surroundings in some of his famous paintings, Arles attracted more artists, henceforth linking the city to Impressionism. Also hosting the annual Gourmet Festival, Arles features its own distinctive foods derived from the nearby Camargue region. An excellent example of this is Saucisson d’Arles, a traditional dish consisting of donkey meat. The city’s open-air market is a good place to buy fresh vegetables, cheeses and home-cooked dishes.
Arles is small enough to get around easily by walking.