Just 30 km from Nîmes, the town of Arles has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for two reasons: the cultural site "Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments" and the serial cultural site "The Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela in France". Also classified as a "town of art and history", Arles has more than one jewel in its bag. The Réattu and Ancient Arles museums and the Van Gogh Foundation will give you the keys to finding out more.
The city was once the metropolis of Roman Gaul, then the symbol of a radiant Christian past, as can still be seen in the arenas and the Alyscamps (necropolis), the ancient theatre and Constantine's baths. Today, Arles is the gateway to the Camargue, home of the gypsies and a meeting place for herdsmen with their férias and bullfights held in the same arenas (12,000 spectators) that were home to the Roman games in the 1st century. A town of festivities, history and culture, it has never ceased to attract artists. Van Gogh stayed here with his friend Gauguin and Picasso, a bullfighting enthusiast, devoted 2 paintings and 57 drawings to the city.
Arles is also a dynamic city, with the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie taking place every summer and the Luma foundation with its campus offering artists the chance to experiment with the creation and presentation of new works in close collaboration with other artists. The centrepiece of Luma is La Tour, designed by American-Canadian architect Frank Gehry.
Arles sits like an island in the midst of exceptional natural areas: the banks of the Rhône, the arid Crau plain, the wild Camargue and the Alpilles.