Arles: A Roman Holiday in the South of France

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Roman Amphitheatre. Photo: A.Taylor

Open markets, quaint stone squares, and remnants of Ancient Rome make Arles an alluring destination in the South of France. Perfectly set like the backdrops of Van Gogh’s inspiring canvases, this small city evokes a true sense of history with every winding road and historic landmark.

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Arles city. Photo: A.Taylor

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Arles is a vibrant example of the adaptation of an ancient city to medieval European civilization. The stark Roman monuments, including the impressive arena, the Roman theatre and the cryptoporticus (subterranean galleries) date back to the 1st century B.C. During the 4th century, Arles experienced a second golden age with the development of the baths of Constantine. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Arles once again became one of the most attractive cities in the Mediterranean.

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Arles Arena

Still intact, the 12,000-seat theatre and 20,000-seat Amphitheatre today stage events including Arles’ famous férias (controversial lethal bullfights) and three-day street parties.

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The Cafe Terrace on the Place du Forum. Photo: A.Taylor

More than its historic structures, Arles is best known for once being the point of inspiration and home to Dutch artist, Vincent Van Gogh. Whether capturing starry nights over the Rhône or the infamous starlit yellow café, Van Gogh’s paintings evoke the true essence of Arles and surrounding Provence.

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Perfectly positioned just a few steps from the café that inspired Van Gogh’s Café Terrace at Night, Hotel Nord Pinus dates back to the 1920s. This unique hotel with overflowing character was the place to be seen in the 50s and 60s. Pablo Picasso once called this ornate establishment his home. Hemingway, Cocteau, Fritz Lang and John Houston were all regulars. The hotel also was a prime resting spot for the valiant bullfighters of the 19th and 20th century, who fought in the Amphitheatre and had their own magnificent room, which has been unchanged, left in all its glory.

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A 5-minute walk to museums, shopping and the Arles riverfront, Hotel Nord Pinus is well positioned yet quiet enough to enjoy a relaxing stay. The salon and bar will take you back to yesteryear at a time where you could easily find yourself sipping an espresso or brandy with the likes of Hemingway and Picasso.

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The memories of great artists, enthusiastic travelers, and profound writers echo through this endearing hotel.

 

Hotel Nord Pinus

http://www.nord-pinus.com

14 Place du Forum, 13200 Arles, France

Phone: +33 4 90 93 44 44

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