Located on the Rhône River, Arles is a coastal city in the south of France. It encompasses the majority of the Camargue wetlands, making it the largest French metropolis, covering an area of over 750 square kilometres.
The UNESCO-listed city centre of Arles is home to several impressive monuments that offer a glimpse into the city’s status during the Roman rule. The most prominent of these is the two-tiered amphitheatre, constructed around 90 CE. The magnificent arena is now used for bullfights and concerts. Right next to it is the Théâtre Antique, built more than a century before the amphitheatre. A short walk away, you’ll find the church of St Trophime – a former cathedral with an adjacent cloister, both of which feature Romanesque architecture and sculpture.
Put on the map by Dutch artist Van Gogh, Arles boasts several sights and structures immortalised by him in some of his masterpieces. He lived, worked and infamously cut off his ear here, and you can walk in his footsteps to see the spots where he painted ‘Starry Night Over the Rhone’, ‘Café Terrace at Night’ and ‘The Yellow House’. You can learn more about the post-Impressionist painter and his influence on modern art at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles – a stylish museum that hosts exhibitions showcasing his art alongside pieces by contemporary artists. Another art space worth your time is LUMA Arles, a striking steel-and-glass tower designed by Frank Gehry, home to immersive installations and a landscaped park.