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Arles - an inspirational southern town

The town of Arles that is located in the south-western corner of the glorious Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur department, in the south of France, is a town that is not only beautiful today, but which has proved a rich source of inspiration in the past for no lesser persons than the great artists Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. Today, Arles is recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site. Its history dates to the 7th century BC, and later it was an important Gallo Roman city. It is easy to find buildings and streets that recall the past times of Arles, with charming narrow winding streets, an amphitheatre and typically mediaeval houses.

Inside Arles

Arles possesses not only a quaint charm that appeals to tourists, but also some genuinely magnificent historical monuments and relics. Central to the town is its bullfighting arena, where the bulls are brought, herded by the beautiful white horses of the Camargue marshes that border the city. Then there is the Roman theatre, the underground galleries and the ever present reminders of the artist Vincent Van Gogh, who stayed in Arles and painted some of his most memorable works during this sojourn.

Arles offers all amenities

These days, of course, there are also many tourist shops, and it must be admitted that Arles' pretty streets can be less appealing in August when they are thronged with tourists than at other, quieter times of the year. It does mean, though, that there are plenty of facilities in the town, and as well as shops and amenities such as banks, schools and health care, Arles boasts a great choice when it comes to restaurants, cafés and bars.

The delights of Arles

Arles doesn't only offer culture and man made pleasures. It also has some really beautiful green spaces where you can walk, relax, and refresh yourself, especially in the heat of summer. The Boulevard des Lices is the place to head for, where you will find such a park, shaded by enormous cedar trees and offering inviting benches and resting places. If you have children in tow you will also be delighted to find a great playground here too, just near the park.

Out and about

There are plenty of interesting places to visit in the region, and lots of sporting and leisure activities on offer. It's a wonderful area for walkers, and the unique marshy Camargue area is open to all to discover. Here you can see the famed white horses, who still roam apparently wild and free in many parts. They are used to round up the bulls in spectacular shows that are played out for the public, on many days in the summer season in the villages of the Camargue. You could also perhaps take a visit to Aigues Mortes, a lovely ancient walled town, but this is a very popular tourist destination in high season, so it may be better to visit at a quieter time of year. Don't miss the chance to go though, it's well worth it.

How to get there

Arles is easily accessed from the UK as it is close to Nîmes, Marseille and Montpellier, all of which offer direct flights to and from the UK. Nîmes is served by Ryanair; Montpellier by British Airways, GB Airways and Ryanair; and Marseille by British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Aer Lingus. The TGV is another good option, running to Nîmes from Paris, and there is a local train to Arles from Marseille as well.

Property prices and availability in and around Arles

Property throughout Provence tends to be expensive, as everybody wants to buy it! Arles is such a popular area, that if you do decide to purchase property here you should have no difficulty obtaining a decent rental income should you decide to let it out for parts of the year.

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Arles AT A GLANCE

WHERE IS Arles?

Arles is situated in the south of France. It lies in the west of the Bouches-du-Rhône department, very close to the border with the Gard department, in Languedoc-Roussillon.

Arles Property Map

IN THE REGION OF PROVENCE-ALPES-CÔTE D'AZUR

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Guide

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Property Map

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF BOUCHES-DU-RHÔNE

Bouches-du-Rhône Guide

  Bouches-du-Rhône Map


Population: 52,600


Access: By air: Fly to Nîmes, Montpellier or Marseille. By rail: The TGV will take you to Nîmes from Paris.


Economy: Arles is a large town with a thriving economy, and one of the major influences on this is tourism.


Interesting fact: Arles was the chosen home of Vincent Van Gogh for the most prolific period of his painting life. From 1888 to 1889 he produced more than 800 paintings, inspired by the light and character of this atmospheric town.

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