A few days spent in Arles is well worth your time.
Nestling in the Bouche-de-Rhône ( the mouth of the Rhône river) on the edge of the Carmargue, it is of course, famous for being some of the painting inspiration for Vincent van Gogh. There is a route you can follow ‘in his footsteps and you will find numbered marker plaques explaining which painting was born out of the view. Sadly, there is little remaining except the famous bridge. The yellow house was destroyed during WW II, but the view for ‘Starry Night’ is not much different from when he painted it. He only spent a short while here, so all the work inspired by the location is elsewhere. The inspiration for The ‘Cafe Terrace by Night’ is still there, though it has changed a lot over the years and was not serving food on the night I was there, but a glass of champagne was ordered to toast him.
Coming bang up to date is the twisted tower created by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry which shimmers in the sun rising high beyond the ancient Roman arena in Arles. It’s an impressive building both inside and out. It has some curious touches that trick the eye and the mind. To add to that is a helter-skelter which will spin you down to the ground floor and some spectacular views.
There are plenty of reminders of the Roman path and there are of course, tempting shops and plenty of restaurants. It’s a compact town, easy to navigate and gives a springboard to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Aigues–Mortes