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Arles Travel Guide
Roman amphitheatre, Arles, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (© Claude Coquilleau - Fotolia.com)
Roman amphitheatre, Arles.

Introduction

Gateway to the Camargue, major city of the Roman Empire, and famous work place of Vincent van Gogh, Arles is a delightful Provençal town with a chic, laid-back atmosphere and something to offer to almost everyone.

The star attractions is the superbly preserved Roman amphitheatre (Les Arènes), a witness of the importance of the Roman Arelete, which was the capital of southern Gaul, then of the whole Western Roman Empire in the 5th century.

Throughout ancient and medieval Arles was the biggest port in southern France, until the silting of the Rhône displaced maritime trade to Toulon and Marseille.

For 440 years in the Middle Ages, Arles was the seat of a Frankish Kingdom that stretched all the way to Burgundy and Switzerland in its heyday. It then served as the capital of the Counts of Provence. Teeming with Roman and Romanesque architecture, Arles was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1981.

Arles is the hometown of the fashion designer Christian Lacroix.

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