Well Spoke'n

Exploring the World by Bike

Arles – Van Gogh’s Inspiration

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After our unexpected delay in Toulouse, we finally make our way to Arles.

Arles is located in south central France about 35 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea. An important port city since Roman times, Arles is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Dramatic remains of its Roman arena or amphitheatre and Roman theater are still used today. The amphitheatre hosts traditional bull fights where the bull is killed and a unique style of bull fights called courses camarguaises where the bull fighter attempts to retrieve a tassel from the bull’s horn without being injured. One can see where the bull fighting ring and bleachers have been added to the arena.  The amphitheatre was built in the first century A.D. and housed 20,000 people. It is remarkable to think it is still an active feature in the local community after two thousand years.


The theatre continues to house musical performances on its stage.

Vincent Van Gogh lived in Arles in 1888 and 1889, a time when he was most productive, producing 300 paintings and drawings. The city has a walking tour which features the sights of some of his famous paintings, including the setting for Café Terrace at Night. None of his paintings remain in here. The incident where he famously lopped-off his ear also happened in Arles.



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