Arles Cruise Packages

Arles sits on a low hill where the Rhine River branches in two parts to the sea. The town dates back to the 7th century BC and is best known for its amazingly well-preserved Roman arena, Les Arenes, (which is still used and can seat 20,000) in the heart of the city, but there are also many other interesting Roman and medieval ruins.

The sites are unique in that they are integrated into the houses and buildings of the town, rather than sitting apart as they do in other towns. The palatial 17th-century Hotel de Ville, on Arles' central Place de la Republique, was inspired by Versailles. Its vast entrance hall is built on top of Cryptoporticus du Forum. This vast, dark, dank and wonderfully spooky underground gallery was built by the Romans, possibly as a barracks for public slaves.Across the Place de la Republique is the Cathedrale St-Trophime whose doorway is one of the most magnificent examples of 12th-century Provencal stone carving in existence.

The centre of Arles is truly medieval in character, with its narrow streets winding between the ancient buildings. Van Gogh spent a year in the city in 1888 and produced almost 200 paintings of the town and surrounding area during one of his most prolific periods. Arles is a rather sedate town with little to offer in the way of excitement. Its busiest time is during the Saturday market.

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