• Arles, France
    Roman Arena


Workaday Arles is a city in search of an economy, and compared to nearby Avignon, it feels unpolished and a touch gritty. That aspect remains part of its charm, but it's impressive to see how this city is transforming itself while still displaying a genuine joie de vivre. Though largely destroyed by WWII bombs, today Arles thrives again, with its evocative Roman ruins, an eclectic assortment of museums, made-for-ice-cream pedestrian zones, and squares that play hide-and-seek with visitors.

At a Glance

▲▲ Roman Arena This big amphitheater, once used by gladiators, today hosts summer "bullgames" and occasional bullfights.

▲▲ Ancient History Museum Filled with models and sculptures, this museum takes you back to Arles' Roman days.

▲▲ St. Trophime Church Church with exquisite Romanesque entrance.

▲ Forum Square Lively, café-crammed square that was once the Roman forum.

▲ Réattu Museum Decent, mostly modern art collection in a fine 15th-century mansion.

Arlaten Folk Museum Leading museum in Provence for traditional culture and folklore.

Fondation Van Gogh Small gallery with works by major contemporary artists paying homage to Van Gogh.

Frank Gehry Tower and LUMA Arles Climbable Gehry-designed tower overseeing LUMA Arles art exhibit space.