12 Best Things to Do in Arles, France: Top Attractions to Visit

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Are you looking to visit Arles, France soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Arles. These captivating sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a memorable vacation experience.

Nestled in the heart of Provence, Arles is a tapestry of ancient ruins, vibrant colors, and artistic legacy. With its cobblestone streets and its air infused with the brush strokes of Vincent van Gogh, Arles is a living, breathing masterpiece—a UNESCO World Heritage Site where every corner holds a secret. When exploring the many things to do in Arles, you’ll find a wealth of cultural and historical treasures to explore.

Imagine wandering, or as the locals say, “flâner,” through the labyrinthine streets, where the golden hues of the sun paint the town in the magical Mediterranean light that once inspired Van Gogh’s masterpieces.

But Arles is not just a relic of the past. It’s a vibrant cultural hub, where the rhythm of traditional festivals and the flavors of Provençal cuisine create a symphony of experiences. Whether it’s the thrill of a bullfighting performance or the serene beauty of the Camargue Countryside, Arles invites you to lose yourself in its rich tapestry and find pieces of your soul you never knew existed.

Join me as we step into the timeless charm of Arles, exploring its hidden gems, savoring its culinary delights, and soaking in its historical richness. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Arles, France.

This article on the Best Things To Do in Arles, France contains affiliate links where I may earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Best Places to Visit in Arles

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Arles? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this timeless vacation spot in France. So keep reading to discover all these unique Arles places to visit.

Are you looking to explore ancient Roman ruins and visit art galleries that celebrate rich cultural heritage? Or would you prefer to savor Provencal cuisine in quaint cafes and immerse yourself in the local way of life by strolling through bustling markets? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Arles can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Arles that you should know about.

1. Roman Amphitheatre

Embarking on a journey through the Roman Amphitheatre is like traversing through time to an era of gladiatorial valor and roaring crowds. This monumental relic of Roman ingenuity is one of the world’s most well-preserved amphitheatres. It whispers tales of ancient spectacles and valorous combats.

Once the heartbeat of ancient Arles, this amphitheatre could host 20,000 spectators and remains a living entity, hosting vibrant events and performances. This allows a taste of the exhilaration felt by our ancestors. As you ascend its ancient steps, a breathtaking panorama of Arles unfolds. It reveals its timeless allure and the shimmering Rhône River.

It’s a must-see in Arles, a convergence of past and present, revealing the city’s vibrant essence. Whether a history enthusiast or a wanderer at heart, exploring the Roman Amphitheatre is undoubtedly one of the coolest things to do in Arles. Every stone narrates a timeless tale.

Exploring the Roman Amphitheatre is a journey through time to an era of gladiatorial valor and roaring crowds.

2. Cloisters of Saint-Trophime

Located near the bustling Place de la République, the Cloisters of Saint-Trophime are a serene architectural masterpiece in the heart of Arles. This hidden gem in France, with its detailed columns and calming courtyards, is a peaceful retreat amidst the city’s vibrancy.

The cloisters showcase a blend of Romanesque and Gothic styles, where each detail whispers tales of artistic brilliance and devotion. It’s one of the Arles places to visit where time stands still. This allows visitors to absorb the spiritual ambiance and admire ancient craftsmanship.

Visiting this architectural jewel offers a glimpse into Arles’s rich spiritual and artistic heritage.The tranquil atmosphere and stunning details make it a must-visit for those seeking reflection. It’s also a place to find a touch of the sublime in Arles, France. Whether you’re a lover of history, architecture, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, the Cloisters of Saint-Trophime promise a unique and enriching experience.

The Cloisters of Saint-Trophime offers a peaceful retreat amidst the city’s vibrancy.

3. Van Gogh Heritage

Arles is synonymous with the artistic genius of Vincent van Gogh, and delving into his heritage is a journey through his passionate and tumultuous life. The city, bathed in the radiant Provencal light, was Van Gogh’s muse, inspiring over 300 artworks.

In Van Gogh Heritage, the vibrant landscapes and the enchanting night skies that captivated Van Gogh’s imagination come to life. This allows you to see the world through his eyes. The Fondation Van Gogh pays homage to his legacy. It showcases his masterpieces alongside contemporary works, creating a dialogue between past and present artistic expressions. This makes it one of the best things to do in Arles, France.

Wandering through the places Van Gogh immortalized in his paintings is an inspiring thing to do in Arles. This offers a deeper understanding of his artistic vision and his profound connection to this enchanting city. It’s a captivating experience, where every brush stroke tells a story of passion, struggle, and transcendence.

Arles, synonymous with Vincent van Gogh’s genius, inspired over 300 of his artworks.

4. Camargue Nature Park

Just a short drive from the historic center of Arles, the Camargue Nature Park offers a refreshing escape into the wild beauty of nature. It’s where the Rhône meets the Mediterranean, creating a vibrant ecosystem teeming with life.

In this expansive sanctuary, you can witness the graceful dance of pink flamingos, observe the iconic white horses of Camargue, and feel the salt-laden breeze on your face. It’s a place to rejuvenate the soul amidst the untamed elegance of the wilderness, near landmarks like the Phare de la Gacholle lighthouse. This makes it a fantastic choice for where to go in Arles.

Exploring this natural haven is a distinct way to experience the essence of the region around Arles. The harmonious biodiversity and the raw, untouched landscapes make the Camargue a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. It’s also an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility away from the urban hustle. Whether you choose to explore by foot, bike, or horseback, the Camargue offers a myriad of ways to connect with the wild beauty of the land.

Camargue Nature Park offers a wild escape where the Rhône meets the Mediterranean, teeming with vibrant life.

5. Arles Market near the Arènes d’Arles and the Place de la République

The Arles Market, located near the iconic Arènes d’Arles and the Place de la République, is a vibrant showcase of Provençal culture and one of Arles attractions where the lively spirit of the region is vividly displayed. It’s more than a market; it’s a lively celebration of the local culture and a hub where the essence of the community is distinctly felt.

The market is a symphony of scents with the air filled with the fragrance of fresh herbs and fruits. The diverse selection of local produce, artisan cheeses, and crafts near the Roman Theatre is a reflection of the region’s rich culinary and artisanal heritage. Each item, each flavor, narrates the tale of the land and its inhabitants.

Exploring the Arles Market is among the unique things to do in Arles for those wishing to delve into the local lifestyle and experience the true flavors of Provence. It’s an expedition of exploration, where every vendor provides a one-of-a-kind adventure and a fresh perspective on the Provençal lifestyle.

The Arles Market is a vibrant showcase of Provençal culture, a lively celebration of the local spirit.

6. Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antiques

The Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antiques is a treasure trove where the ancient tales of Arles are cradled. It’s not merely a museum; it’s a gateway to the city’s illustrious past, where every artifact is a whisper from the bygone eras.

In this sanctuary of history, the relics of Roman grandeur and the remnants of ancient civilizations intertwine. They narrate the story of Arles and its surrounding region. The intricate mosaics, the timeless sculptures, and the invaluable artifacts are the echoes of the city’s golden age.

Exploring this museum is a journey through time, offering insights into the rich tapestry of Arles’s history and culture. It’s one of the best places in Arles where the past is revered, and the legacy of ancient civilizations is preserved for future generations.

The Musée de l’Arles et de la Provence Antiques is a treasure trove cradling the ancient tales of Arles, France.

7. Les Rencontres d’Arles

Every year, the historic town of Arles becomes the epicenter of photographic art, hosting the renowned Les Rencontres d’Arles. This festival is a vibrant celebration of photography. It transforms iconic landmarks like the Ancient Theatre of Arles and the Church of Saint-Trophime into dynamic exhibition spaces. This festival is among the coolest things to do in Arles, France.

This event offers a convergence of artistic visions. This features the works of both acclaimed and budding photographers. It presents a diverse array of perspectives and styles, inviting you on a captivating journey through the multifaceted world of photography. Each image serves as a window to new realms and ideas. This makes it an excellent choice for those wondering where to visit in Arles.

Visiting Les Rencontres d’Arles is a way to experience the artistic pulse of the city. This allows attendees to explore the intersections of visual and conceptual art. It’s more than a festival; it’s a space for dialogue and reflection on the transformative power of photography. This makes it a must-visit for art enthusiasts exploring Arles.

8. Rhône River

The Rhône River, with its serene and gentle flow, is a tranquil presence in Arles, meandering past historical landmarks like the Arles Amphitheatre and the Van Gogh Bridge. It’s a picturesque and calming locale. This offers a refreshing contrast to the bustling city life, and is considered one of the unique places in Arles.

The riverbanks, with their charming walkways and panoramic views, are an invitation to leisurely strolls and moments of reflection amidst the city’s rich tapestry of history and nature. It’s a space where the vibrancy of urban life harmoniously melds with the soothing whispers of the flowing waters.

Exploring the banks of the Rhône provides a perspective of Arles. This allows you to experience the city’s enduring charm and the tranquil rhythms of its landscapes. It’s more than just one of the cool destinations in Arkes; it’s a journey into the heart of Arles, where the whispers of the river and the city intertwine. This offers a harmonious and reflective escape in the midst of Arles.

The Rhône River, with its serene flow past historic landmarks, offers a unique and calming escape in Arles.

9. Le Gibolin

Le Gibolin, nestled in the heart of Arles, is a culinary gem where the essence of Provence is captured in every dish, making it a unique spot in Arles. It’s not just a restaurant; it’s a culinary journey through the rich tapestry of local flavors and innovative gastronomy.

Chef Sarah Lauferon crafts a menu that is a poetic expression of the region’s culinary heritage. It blends traditional Provençal flavors with a modern twist. Each dish is a canvas painted with vibrant local produce, aromatic herbs, and exquisite seasonings. It offers a taste of Arles’gastronomic soul.

Dining at Le Gibolin is more than a meal; it’s an experience where the ambiance is as enchanting as the cuisine. It’s among the Arles things to do where the culinary traditions of Arles come to life. This invites you to savor the passion and creativity infused in every bite.

Le Gibolin offers a unique culinary journey through local flavors and innovative gastronomy.

10. Cryptoporticus

Delving into the underground world of Cryptoporticus is like traveling back in time. It makes it one of the coolest activities in Arles for history enthusiasts. This ancient Roman structure, hidden beneath the city, whispers secrets of Arles’s illustrious past and its Roman heritage.

The Cryptoporticus, with its labyrinthine corridors and dimly lit passageways, offers a glimpse into the architectural marvels of ancient Rome. It’s a place where the stones breathe history, and the shadows dance with the echoes of bygone eras.

Exploring this subterranean wonder, you can almost hear the footsteps of Roman citizens. You can also feel the pulse of a civilization that shaped the destiny of Arles. It’s a journey through the veins of history, where every corner holds a story. Every echo sings a song of a world long lost yet alive in the silent whispers of the Cryptoporticus. Is visiting this structure among the top things to do in Arles, France? You bet!

Exploring Cryptoporticus is a must for history enthusiasts in Arles, revealing the city’s Roman heritage.

11. Jardin d’Été

Nestled in the heart of Arles, near the iconic Arles Amphitheatre, Jardin d’Été is a tranquil sanctuary of natural beauty and calm. It’s a lush, green haven, making a visit to this sanctuary among the best things to do in Arles for those seeking a serene escape amidst vibrant flora.

The garden is a symphony of blooming flowers and rustling leaves, each telling a silent story of nature’s splendor. It’s more than just a garden; it’s a living masterpiece where every bloom and every leaf is a delicate brush stroke on nature’s canvas.

For those seeking a peaceful retreat or a quiet moment with nature, Jardin d’Été is a welcoming embrace of tranquility and beauty. This place is where the hustle of the city fades away. It leaves only the soothing whispers of the breeze and the subtle fragrances of blooming flowers. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply wondering what to do in Arles while longing for a serene spot to relax, Jardin d’Été offers a timeless and refreshing experience in the midst of Arles’ historical charm.

Jardin d’Été is a serene natural sanctuary for a peaceful escape amid lush flora.

12. Alyscamps

In Arles, the ancient whispers of Alyscamps beckon the curious, inviting them to step back in time and uncover the secrets of the past. This Roman necropolis is one of the best places to go in Arles. It’s a silent guardian of history, where stone and memory intertwine.

Alyscamps is more than just a collection of ancient tombs; it’s a journey through time, where every step reveals a new layer of the past. The air here is thick with the echoes of bygone eras, and the stones tell tales of lives lived and lost.

Walking through this historic site, you can almost hear the whispers of the ancients, feel the weight of their stories. It’s a place where the past is alive, where history breathes, and where every visitor becomes a part of the ongoing story of Alyscamps.

Alyscamps in Arles invites you to step back in time, it’s where history and stone intertwine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Arles

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Arles? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Arles:

Is Arles worth visiting?

Certainly, Arles is definitely worth a visit. This charming city in the south of France boasts a rich history, with well-preserved Roman ruins like the Arles Amphitheatre and a vibrant cultural scene. This includes the famous Rencontres d’Arles photography festival. The picturesque surroundings make it a versatile and captivating destination for travelers. This includes the Camargue natural park and the Rhône River.

What is the best time to visit Arles?

The best time to visit Arles is during the late spring (May and June) or early fall (September and October). During these months, the weather is pleasantly mild, and the city’s attractions are less crowded. This allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience. Additionally, this time frame is ideal for exploring the outdoor beauty of the Camargue region. It’s also a great time for enjoying cultural events without the intensity of summer heat.

How many days should I spend in Arles?

Spending 2 to 3 days in Arles is usually sufficient to explore its major attractions and immerse yourself in its rich history and culture. This timeframe allows you to visit iconic sites like the Arles Amphitheatre. It also provides the opportunity to enjoy leisurely strolls through charming streets and savor the city’s culinary delights. It strikes a balance between experiencing Arles’ highlights and appreciating its relaxed pace.

Scenic courtyard with quaint architecture and vibrant potted plants, Arles, France

What is Arles famous for?

Arles is famous for its rich history and Roman heritage, evident in well-preserved landmarks like the Arles Amphitheatre and the Alyscamps necropolis. It’s renowned as the place where Vincent van Gogh created some of his most iconic works. Arles is also celebrated for hosting the Rencontres d’Arles photography festival, a prestigious event in the art world. The city’s picturesque surroundings, including the Camargue region, add to its fame for natural beauty.

How do you spend a day in Arles?

A perfect day in Arles could start with exploring the Roman Amphitheatre, followed by a visit to the Van Gogh Foundation to see his artistic legacy. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the historic center, savoring local cuisine at a quaint café. In the afternoon, head to the Camargue region for its unique landscapes. Wrap up your day with a sunset walk along the Rhône River.

Is one day enough for Arles?

While one day in Arles allows you to experience some of its highlights, a longer stay is recommended to truly appreciate its rich history and culture. With just one day, you can visit key attractions like the Arles Amphitheatre and the Van Gogh Foundation. However, to explore more extensively, immerse yourself in the city’s charm, and venture into the picturesque Camargue region, a longer visit is advisable.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Arles

Arles, a city where the past and present dance in a timeless embrace, invites travelers to lose themselves in its rich tapestry of history, art, and culture. Every cobblestone, every brush stroke tells a story of civilizations past, of artists who found their muse in the golden Provençal light.

From the whispers of ancient ruins to the vibrant strokes of Van Gogh, Arles is a living, breathing masterpiece, a canvas painted with the colors of history and life. It’s a place where every moment is a brush stroke on the canvas of your memories. Here, every experience is a thread in the rich tapestry of your journey.

So, after you fly to France, come and wander through the timeless streets of Arles. Let the golden sunsets paint your days. The whispers of the ancient stones tell you tales of a city where every corner is a gateway to another world, another time. Discover the unique charm of Arles. Let its magic enchant you; let its stories become a part of your own.

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