Arles, Provence Hiking and Biking
In A City With A Touch of Ancient Rome in the South of France
Arles in Eastern Provence is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its well-preserved Roman ruins.
Arles was first inhabited in the 7 th century BC as a Phoenician trading center on the Rhone. Later a Greek influence is indicated by archaeological evidence and pottery of Greek design. Arles later became a Celtic-Ligurian town in the 3rd century BC and then in the first century BC, a Gallo-Roman city.
The Roman-era arena similar to Rome's Colosseum is so well preserved that it is still the major arena of the city and is used for bullfighting and other traditional festivals. The city center also has the remnants of a large Roman theatre and a Roman bathhouse.
Arles became a major Roman commercial outpost with the building of a canal in 102 BC that ran parallel to the Rhone and connected to the sea.
By the 4th century AD, Arles was such a prosperous Roman city that it was called a Second Rome.
When Rome's power waned, Arles's prosperity ended as waves of Goth invaders devastated the city. Arles then languished until the empire of Charlemagne settled the region and Arles returned to prosperity, becoming eventually the kingdom of Arles.
Arles, Provence hiking and biking in the South of France amidst Roman ruins
While hiking around the city all streets seem to converge on the ancient Colosseum in the heart of the old city
You can bike in the city of Arles and visit the many Ancient Roman Ruins. Arles is the gateway to the Camargue and can be a base for hiking and biking in the hills outside of Arles or in the flatlands of the Camargue.
While hiking and biking outside the city you will come upon remains of the Roman aqueducts and Roman tombs
Arles, Hiking, Biking in the South of France: Roman Arles
Arles, Renting a house or vacation rental apartment in Arles would be a good bet for travelers that will not have a rental car. Bus service based in Arles covers all of Provence and would put Aix, Marseilles, the Camargue, and Avignon within reach. The city itself is spectacular with major Roman Ruins everywhere.
Arles was once an important Roman City in Provence. The Roman-built Colosseum is still used for bull fighting
For day-hike, walking tours around the city of Arles follow the self guided walking tour provided by the tourist department. Tiles and easels mark the trail of Van Gogh, (Van Gogh created 200 paintings in Arles during a fourteen month stay in 1888-89)
There is a history trail of the Roman period and one of the Medieval times
Arles is located in a relatively flat land surrounded by the Rhone River which divides just north of Arles into the Rhone and Petit Rhone. The Grand Randonnee' trail GR 653 runs close to Arles at St Gilles, ten miles to the west, on the west side of the Petit Rhone.
In the Alpilles Mountains to the North and east towards Fontvieille and Les Baux, about 14 miles from Arles, you find hiking trails along a Roman aqueduct.
Hiking trails lead to the ruins of a Roman grain mill near Chateau de Barbegal in Fontvieille and to the Daudet stone windmill.
Arles offers extensive local and regional bus service that reaches Fontvieille, St Remy, and many other towns and cities.
In Arles, Provence, the south of France, you will see a city with a touch of ancient Rome. While in Arles, follow the hiking and biking trails marked on the
Arles sidewalks.All streets in Arles seem to converge on the ancient Colosseum in the heart of the old city
Speed limits will be clearly marked and the Rotary will be a welcome site with its directions to towns. Gassing up is similar to US with credit card and automatic shut-off at modern pumps. Car rental are available in all large cities and at many TGV Train Stations.
Information for those renting a vehicle in France
Hiking trails beside the ruins of a Roman aqueduct and grain mill near Chateau de Barbegal
Roman-built Colosseum is still used for bull fighting
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