Arles from Romans to Van Gogh

If you like a bit of culture thrown into your holidays, you won’t go far wrong with trip to the City of Arles. This city first came to prominence during the Roman Empire as it was often used as a base for the many military campaigns that went on at that time. The influence of that civilisation is still very much in evidence.

Remains of the architecture from that time are all over the city. There are the remains of an amphitheatre that was once host to gladiator duels, cemeteries, a theatre and Roman baths. Make sure you take a trip to the Musee Departemental de l’Arles Antiques to give you a better insight into the colourful and interesting history of Arles.

This museum was built in 1995 to house the great array of Roman artefacts which have been discovered in the area by archaeologists. You can view items dating between 2500 BD and 600 AD, these include tools from the Copper Age, sculptures which depict the icons from Greek Mythology and a statue of the Emperor Augustus.

The Musee Reattu is situated on the bank of the Rhone, and is dedicated to more recent culture. There are several drawings and paintings by Picasso on display here and as the permanent exhibitions sit alongside every changing temporary ones there is always something new to discover.

Any art lover will already be aware of the association that Van Gogh had with Arles. The Dutch master arrives in Arles in the late 1880’s, and the time he spent here is generally considered one of his most productive. In only 18 months he completed 200 paintings. The infamous row between Van Gogh and Gaugin took place in Arles, which many believe led to him cutting his ear off.

It as also during his time in Arles that Van Gogh painted works including The Red Vineyard and the Night Café. He never sold any of his work during his lifetime, but these iconic works are now worth millions. There is so much to enjoy in Arles, and it is a rip to paradise for art connoisseurs.