Heritage


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Arles – The twice millennial city

Inhabited by the Celts, colonised by the Greeks, Arles became Roman thanks to Cesar who settled his legion veterans there in 46B.C. He founded a colony under roman jurisdiction, Arelate, on the territory of this city which supported him during the siege of Marseilles.

It was the first golden age of the town. From this point onwards Arles was transformed and magnificent monuments were erected : the forum, temples, the theatre, an amphitheatre, the circus, the baths…Under the reign of Emperor Constantine, it’s prosperity gave it the title of "Little Rome of the Gaules". It became from this time a great religious centre for the beginnings of Christianity.

Arles remained until the 5th century one of the ultimate bastions of Romanism. Thanks to its dynamic economy coupled with the significant activity of its port, Arles was then recognized for its exceptional strategic situation, which made the Rhone delta an essential milestone in the communications of the Roman Empire in the West which was submerged by barbarians.

It’s exceptional heritage is not the only asset that the city offers to it’s many visitors.
It has a unique natural heritage since the Arles region consists of three different landscapes surrounding the city: the Alpilles massif which inspired Frederic Mistral, the arid Crau frequented by shepherds and the Camargue which is located between the two arms of the Rhone.
The city is also undisputedly associated with the painter Van Gogh who was attracted by the particular quality of light and painted here a significant share of his most known works.