Top 10 Things to do in Arles, the Best Small Town in France
Arles is one of the most visited and beautiful towns in all of France. Arles was founded by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago and there are many things to do here which make it a great place to visit.
The old Roman bridge that crosses over the Rhone River into Arles is also very interesting because it is the only Roman bridge that still exists in its original form.
The famous artist Vincent van Gogh lived here and it's still a popular destination for art lovers. From the Arles museum to the market, Arles has plenty to offer visitors. Here are my top 10 things to do in this small town that you've got to check out.
Any art lover should visit the museum. There are many exhibits to explore, including original pieces by Van Gogh and Monet. The building is stunning and the museum is located in a beautiful courtyard garden. With so much going on, it's easy to get overwhelmed but you can start with the main collection and work your way through.
The Square of Les Arnes
The square of Les Arenes is the most famous part of Arles. It's where Vincent van Gogh lived and it's also where he painted his famous "Sunflowers." This square is one of the most beautiful in France and is a popular spot for tourists to visit. The main feature of this square is the fountain that has three golden dolphins spouting water from their mouths.
The market of Arles is a great place to buy some souvenirs, like hand-made lace. Not only is the market of Arles a great place to shop, but it's also a good place to eat. The food stalls are delicious and they're just a 10-minute walk from the train station.
At the market in Arles, you'll be able to come across fresh fruit and vegetables, typical French fare like baguettes and pastries, and local specialties like jam. But don't worry about not being able to speak French - there are plenty of signs that will point you in the right direction! There's also an ATM at the entrance of the market if you need money while you're there.
Take a walk through the countryside
Arles is a small town and most of the things to do are within walking distance. The best way to see Arles is to walk around the city and take in all the sights. If you're into art, I recommend visiting the famous Van Gogh museum. The market is also just down the street from where you can grab some fresh produce. You'll probably want to leave your car behind because there's not much parking in Arles.
Arles offers plenty of outdoor activities, but if you're looking for more excitement, head south to visit old Roman ruins or north for a day trip to St-Remy de Provence from Arles.
Visit the Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum is well worth the visit. Van Gogh lived in Arles and died here, so you can't miss the museum when in town. The museum has a permanent collection of 200 pieces from van Gogh's life and work. Some of his famous paintings are on display here, including "The Starry Night" and "The Red Vineyard." If you're planning a trip to Arles, I recommend spending time at the Van Gogh Museum.
Eat some tapas or a plat du jour at an outdoor cafe
This is a must-do for visitors to Arles. You can find tapas and plats du jour at some of the outdoor cafes around the city. The good news is that you'll be able to watch the locals go about their daily lives, too.
Watch a movie at the cinema called La Tete d'Or
The cinema in Arles is called La Tete d'Or. It was built in 1902 and has been a key place for the local community through the decades. The cinema shows classic movies, foreign movies, and documentaries. One of my favorites to watch at La Tete d'Or is called La Tete d’Or (1935).
This movie tells the story of an artist that comes to Arles with his pregnant wife. They live on a small farm where they work hard and make ends meet. Things change when their son grows up and becomes fascinated by his painting of a knight in shining armor. His paintings become more popular than their own and the family struggle to keep up with him. The story is set during World War II which makes it very interesting.
A great way to spend an afternoon in Arles is watching this classic film at the local cinema!
Visit the Rothko Chapel
It's not a secret that Vincent van Gogh loved art. When he lived in Arles, he was friends with Paul Gauguin and some of the other famous painters in town. One of the places they would meet together is the Rothko Chapel. It's a large chapel in which the artwork is painted on glass. Inside, you can see paintings by Van Gogh and many other artists who were friends with him at one point or another.
Have a drink with friends in one of Arles's unique cafés
Cafés are a huge part of the Arles lifestyle. Whether you're looking for a place to sit and have a quiet drink or want to meet new people, there's no shortage of cafés in this town. One of my favorite places is the Café de la Mairie, which is right next door to the Arles museum. It has been open since 1706 and serves amazing coffee and croissants.
Go shopping at one of Arles's many boutiques
There are so many great shops in Arles. You can find all sorts of souvenirs, gifts, and clothing. One of my favorites is the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, which is full of little boutiques and cute shops. You'll find antiques, fashion, gifts, and much more. Head to the Boulevard du Midi to see the best of Arles' shopping scene.
In conclusion, Arles is a great city in France. It's beautiful, unique, and full of history. I hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Arles! Feel free to leave a comment or question below. Happy travels!