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Arles is the quintessential southern French city with its own special atmosphere which comes to head at the time of the Feria which many say is a relic of Roman times when Arles or Arelate was a favoured city of the Emperors.

A rival for Marseille

Its great rival in early Roman times was Marseille. However, the citizens of Arles had the good sense to back Julius Caesar in his fight with Pompey while the folks from Marseille backed the wrong side. Big mistake.

From this time Arles prospered and eventually became a major religious centre in the middle ages. At the head of the Camargue, Arles is today an important centre for rice and agricultural produce generally.

The Roman Amphitheatre dating from AD 90 had a capacity of 20,000 spectators in its heyday. Remarkably well preserved, it saw service as a stone quarry during the later Middle Ages after serving as a fortress. Later on it became a small fortified town with watchtowers, three of which remain, complete with houses and churches!

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Arles and L’Arlésienne

The beautiful 'Queens' of Arles

Arles: Amphitheatre

Les Arènes – gladiatorial heaven & hell

Arles: Le Café la Nuit

Le Café Terrace (b,l,d; €€)

Arles: St-Trophime

Church of the first bishop of Arles

Daudet’s Mill

Letters from my Windmill

La Camargue

The Camargue Regional Nature Park

Montmajeur Abbey

A fortified abbey with two chapels & a church


A shrine for travellers

Text © Paul Shawcross

Images by Photo by ho visto nina volare, Photo by Paul Shawcross