Arles, Roman and Norman architecture near the Camargue
When we talk about Roman Antiquity, we obviously think of Italy. But, after Rome, the biggest Roman heritage of the world, dating from the golden 4th and 5th centuries, can be found in Arles, near the Camargue. The city’s monuments are therefore listed as World Heritage.
During your strolls at the heart of Arles, you cannot miss these splendid buildings, that survived violent times and wars. The amphitheatre and the arenas are the most famous buildings from Antiquity. The arenas in particular are part of the best preserved Roman constructions. In their era, they welcomed more than 20.000 spectators! During the Middle Ages, the arenas were transformed into a fort, with a tower. From the tower, you have an extraordinary view on the city.
At the beginning of the Middle Ages, the Alycamps outside the city were one of the most prestigious necropolises of the West. These "Champs Elysées" offer the visitor a lovely hike outside the historical centre.
Arles is partly known for its old heritage, but it is also a Norman town with beautiful religious buildings with the Saint-Trophisme church and its monastery in particular, offering fine sculptures and the abbey of Saint-Pierre de Montmajour that can be found outside the city.
Besides the heritage, you’ll also find art in Arles. Picasso and Van Gogh fell for the incidence of light at the banks of the Rhône. During the Van Gogh route, that runs along terraces where you can enjoy a coffee in the shade of plane trees, a few spots may be recognised that have inspired the Dutch painter during his stay in the Provence. Arles has managed to keep the tradition of the image as it organises a yearly photographic event: the "rencontres photographiques", with wonderful exhibitions.