The following article is taken from http://www.heraultwhatson.info/days-out/ which is “The site for Anglophones who live, or would like to live, in the Herault region of France.”
So, WoW went for a delightful day in Arles. It is a joy to visit and the old town is both very old and compact, and the arena backs onto the theatre. Much mutilated over the years, neglected – converted into a fort -… it has been not so much restored and renovated in the manner of Carcassonne. means it can still be used for spectacles even if it is not completely authentic. It may not suit the purists but is spectacular and still used a great deal.
The theatre is “next door” and again much renovated – necessary as it has been used as a quarry, had monks and nuns build religious houses on it and finally a collection of houses were built over it. A great deal of work has made it both magical to visit and with modern stage equipment and lighting – it once again can function as a theatre. WoW learned on the visit that Roman theatres had front curtains but they were lowered to reveal rather than the other way around used now.
The Green Guide is not ecstatic about the town centre buildings but reserves the maximum stars to the Roman Cemetery. We agree – and so did Van Gogh who painted it and made a lyrical description in a letter to his brother The Roman tombs line the road which leads to a chapel on a route which led to the city.
A fine day out and we ate well at La Piazza des Thermes – fine food, good quality pichet wine and a rather good loo! – Find it at 6, rue du Sauvage The old town is also a joy to wander through and mostly car free – and no dog mess – which is as nice as it is rare.
We reckon you could spend a few days enjoying the town, the Rhone and the Van Gogh museum – though we gather there are none of his paintings. However the place which “kept him” in one of his painful periods is open but we did not find it.
WoW readers – see if you can do better.