Windows on Provence
Arles is a great place to visit if you're travelling around Provence. Rich in history, Arles is home to numerous ancient Roman monuments listed by UNESCO as world heritage sites. Its famous bullrings, known as Les Arènes, were built in the 1st century as the principal site of the Roman games, and are today home to La Féria, where thousands of devotees gather each year to watch the famous Corrida (bullfights). Also worth seeing in Arles are the ancient theatre, the thermal baths of Constantin, and the Alyscamps - the exceptional ancient Roman necropolis just outside the old town.
Arles is also famous for being the home of Vincent Van Gogh during part of his life. You can follow the footsteps of this renowned painter who settled in Arles in 1888 and where he painted over 200 canvasses, including the famous Sunflowers. Visit the Café Terrace on the Place du Forum where he painted one of his most well-known pieces, 'Cafe Terrace at Night'. A Van Gogh centre has been created in the garden of the former Hôtel de Dieu - this site was the hospital to which the tortured artist admitted himself after cutting off part of his earlobe.
With a range of excellent restaurants and bars and great shops, you should definitely consider including this city in any Provence itinerary. There's also a huge weekly outdoor market on Saturday morning, and on the first Wednesday of every month there's a “Foire à la brocante” (antique fair) on Bd. des Lices.