The place of inspiration for many of Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces, Arles is something of a secret in southern France and is mostly tucked away from the crowds that descend on the Provence region particularly during the summer months. Scenically located on the Rhône River, Arles was once a provincial capital of ancient Rome and still boasts many architectural remains, most notably the Arles Amphitheatre where live performances are staged to this day. From Roman ruins and fascinating art museums establishing the city as a hotspot for the international art community, to eclectic local markets and cultural festivals, a visit to Arles will leave you feeling artistically enriched. Our city guide to Arles leads you to the very best of the city, from luxury hotels to the top attractions. Our tip for your visit? Be sure to bring a sketch pad and pencil – you never know when inspiration will strike as you meander through these magical streets.
Everything about the Hotel Jules César in Arles oozes unapologetic style. Flamboyantly designed by renowned fashion designer and Arles native, Christian Lacroix, the luxury five-star hotel is housed in a transformed 17th-century Carmelite convent set back from the city’s main boulevard. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a grand entrance combining a faux Roman colonnade with striking motifs of raging bulls and brave matadors. The rooms are set across three floors, each with their own decor theme ranging from bright fuchsia and monochrome tones, to marble-clad floors and opulent antiques. It seems that there are no rules followed when it comes to the interior design of the hotel and the result is exhilarating. The team of staff here are warm and welcoming yet never dropping the utmost level of professionalism one would expect from a European five-star hotel. Our iMBARC bookings team would be delighted to book you an accommodation option perfectly suited to your needs. The hotel also boasts the fabulous Cinq Mondes Spa which is certainly worth a visit if you ask us.
Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus: An old-charm boutique hotel located in the historic centre of Arles.
L’ Arlatan: A lavish townhouse impeccably styled with mosaic-tiled floors and colourful mid-century pieces.
Le Cloître: A tucked-away homely and well-designed boutique hotel with welcoming communal spaces and cosy comfortable bedrooms.
Nestled within an idyllic organic farm located a few kilometres outside Arles city centre, La Chassagnette is a unique restaurant with a strong focus on provenance, specifically vegetables grown in the soil of the Rhône Delta. Led by renowned chef Armand Arnal, the Michelin-starred restaurant offers guests an exquisite gastronomical experience serving a menu of innovative interpretations on traditional southern French farmhouse cuisine. Served in the spacious and stylishly rustic restaurant (a breezy outdoor terrace is also available to dine on during the warmer months), we recommend opting for the eight course degustation menu which will showcase the best of the restaurant’s delicious dishes such as Mediterranean bluefin tuna and French beans cooked in Dashi tonnato sauce and eggplants glazed with fig leaves served with lamb from Saint Gilles.
La Galoubet: An industrial-chic eatery serving a reasonably priced menu of deliciously rich dishes.
Chardon: A hip bistro and wine bar offering creative small plates in a buzzing atmosphere.
Côté Mer: A popular casual restaurant specialising in fresh seafood. We recommend the fish soup!
To kick-start your visit to Arles, we recommend a trip to the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh to really appreciate the artistic charm of this special southern French city. Paying homage to the many masterpieces that Van Gogh painted during his time in Arles between 1888 and 1889, the foundation aims to draw a connection between Vincent van Gogh’s art created during the nineteenth century and contemporary artists of today. While the foundation only displays a handful of works by the master himself, it is the fascinating exhibitions by emerging young artists influenced by his work and the city that will really capture your imagination. Get in touch with our bookings team who will be able to inform you of any upcoming exhibitions and book tickets should you wish to attend.
LUMA, Arles: A foundation pioneering young and emerging artists housed in an architecturally impressive mirrored building.
Les Rencontres Photography Festival: An annual photography festival founded in 1970 championing both established and up-and-coming photographers.
Arenes D’Arles: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this two-tiered amphitheatre dates back to Roman times and today hosts a diverse programme of live performances and sporting events.
If you're looking for a complete itinerary taking you to France's romantic capital, our Paris Travel Guide offers a two night luxury trip taking you to fascinating galleries, boutique hotels, incredible restaurants and so much more.
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