Arles, France is a wonderful place to be on holiday. The town is of such historical importance, and filled with so many amazing attractions that the entire town has been declared a world Heritage Site by UNESCO. Dating back to the 7th century, Arles is situated on a branch of the River Rhone, around 35km from the Cote d’Azur and the stunning beaches which have made Provence a world famous holiday destination. Arles is actually the largest city in France, and there is so much to see and explore in the city that you would have to take a villa in Arles for a very long time to see everything.
The medieval feel in Arles in undeniable, although many of the most famous historical sites date back to the Roman Empire. The narrow, twisting streets of the centre of town are awash with delightful cafes and mouth watering smells emanating from Arles’ restaurants, but most impressively, many of the Roman monuments, like the coliseum and theatre are actually located inside the town, blending in perfectly with buildings built many centuries later. The Roman Arena is so well preserved that it is still the host to bull running and bull fighting festivals to this day! Arles was one of the Roman Empire’s richest cities in Gaul, and as a result, the Roman monuments here are lavish and elegant, having stood proudly for many years. The 4th century Roman baths of Constantin and the Alyscamps burial grounds are also well worth investigating from any self catering Arles villa, apartment or holiday home.
Outside of the main centre, Arles tourism is a relaxed and laid back affair, as the town is filled with tree lines avenues, large parks and plenty of benches from which to rest your feet and admire the view. Arles villas are a great base for walking holidays too. The river valley and the marshy delta known as the Camargue offer extensive walking, often leading up into the foothills of the Alpilles Mountains. There are also three excellent self guided tours around the town, navigated by using the coloured plaques which adorn the town. You can choose from the medieval tour, van Gogh tour or the Antique Arles tour. Arles also benefits from having 9 riding schools offering tours into the countryside and a range of mountain biking centres, information on which is readily available from the Arles tourism offices.
Art and culture have always been important to the inhabitants of Arles, with Van Gogh and Picasso being listed among the town’s most famous long term visitors. Each summer, photographers flock to self catering Arles villas, attracted by the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie.
Avignon is just 35km from the centre of Arles. The ancient town is most famous for its historical monuments, having also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Palais des Papes is the most famous monument within the town’s limits, but there are numerous treasures to discover. The Avignon Festival in the summer is a fantastic celebration of local culture, with music, dancing and food providing a huge amount of entertainment. If you can, the trip from an Arles villa to Avignon is certainly worth making.
Although temperatures in the summer months are very warm, the best times to visit a villa in Arles, France are in May and June, and again from September until October, as the sting has been taken out of the heat, and the tourist crowds have dispersed. Even during the winter months, conditions remain mild, and you would be unlucky to experience temperatures of under 10°C during your stay in accommodation in Arles.
Amazingly, the tiny Nimes-Arles-Camargue Airport (FNI) receives direct flights from the UK on a regular basis. RyanAir are the only airline operating regular flights from the airport, which is a real bonus for those travelling from the UK, as there are scheduled flights from the East Midlands (EMA), Liverpool (LPL) and Luton (LTN) airports. Alternatively, Marseille Airport (MRS), which receives frequent flights from across the UK, is only an hour by car from an Arles villa, France.