Arles is an ancient town in the Provence region of France. Here, Roman ruins are the city’s claim to fame, and the towering arena and theater sit amongst the sunbaked houses and shady squares that give the city a relaxed feel. Indeed, the small city was once painted hundreds of times by the late Vincent Van Gogh, and his impressionism takes in Arles’ tranquil feel. To spend a day here is to travel back in time to a period of antiquity, full of gladiator fights and incredible feats of artwork. This Arles itinerary is the perfect way to see all of this fantastic city in a day.
Morning: Take a tour of the Roman Ruins
It’s no surprise that most people visit the city of Arles purely for the Roman Ruins alone. Spending your morning taking in the beautiful Roman Theater and Arena is a perfect way to take in the oldest remains of Arles’ vast history. At the Arena, you’ll see where gladiators once said their final goodbyes before fighting to the death as onlookers gazed down from the circular stands. At the Theater, you’ll find one of the most in-tact Roman Theaters in all of France. These breathtaking monuments are sure to move you as you travel back in time to a period of war, gladiators, and theater.
Lunch: Visit Arles’ Main Street
This little shop one block away from Arles’ main street boasts the best of the sweet and savory. Here, you’ll find unique sandwich combinations from the region. A ham and jam sandwich may not sound appealing, but here in Arles, they really pull it off. In this café with 1950s vibes, you’ll be able to enjoy a light lunch here before heading on to see some of Arles’ greatest works of art in the afternoon of your Arles itinerary.
Afternoon: Foundation Van Gogh
The Foundation Van Gogh is a testament to the impressionist artists time in Provence, where he completed over 200 pieces of artwork in the span of just a few years. This captivating and wonderfully well-done museum exhibits a rotating selection of between five and ten of the artists’ works yearly, just the perfect amount to take in the artistry of Van Gogh. Here, they also display some of Van Gogh’s top contemporaries, focusing on naive and impressionistic artists that follow in Van Gogh’s stylistic footsteps, or who influenced the artist deeply.
Evening: L’Huile Fad’Oli
In the evening of your Arles itinerary, take in city’s lesser-known claim to fame: olive oil. The region boasts exceptional, award-winning olive oil (yes, there are competitions for these things). Here at L’Huile Fad’Oli, barrels of this prime green goodness line the walls and floor, and their menu features perfect pairings for the oil like salads and sandwiches. They also feature a sushi menu, but we don’t suggest trying to put olive oil on your sashimi on this Arles itinerary or really any Arles itinerary.