Author of Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride Series

Goût de France – Roman Ruins of Arles



Rustic age-old town of Arles, France. A glimpse of the 2,000 year old Roman amphitheatre is spotted here in the background.

Traveling to Arles from Saint Remy

After a good workout and some breakfast we hopped into our rent-a-car and journeyed out to see first-century B.C. Roman ruins in the historical town of Arles, France—otherwise known as the place where Vincent Van Gogh sliced off his ear.

 Country back road Provence

The scenic drive on the way to Arles led us through winding country back roads overlooking rocky mountain landscapes.

 Les Baux

 The crown-shaped castle village of Les Baux was so striking; the four of us decided it was a must-see while staying in Saint Remy-de-Provence. So we planned to venture back on another day.

Les Baux

Deanna (left) Me (right) enjoying the view of Les Baux.


Arles Classical Theater

Our first stop in Arles was to the Classical Theater (Théâtre Antique) a restored Roman ruins theater still used today for concerts and special events.


It’s hard to believe that in the Middle Ages, 27 arches encased the theater.

Classic Theater Arles

One of the 27 arches still in tact

The original structure was 3-levels which required 33 rows of seats to accommodate the high demands for seating. What’s left of the Classic Theater now seats 3,000 people.

Classical Theater Arles

I believe this wall, or what’s left of a wall, once supported the highest seating level.

columns Arles

Only two Corinthian columns out of 100 remain from the 3-story stage wall.

Column Arles

Close-up of remaining columns

orchestra pit Arles

Orchestra Pit

ruined column Arles

Ruined Columns

Megan Joy Chapman - Arles

Pondering the 2,000 year old history of my theatrical roots.


Theater rubble

St. Trophime Church

Theater rubble from the Classic Theater was used to build St. Trophime Church, a Roman Catholic church that was built between the 12th and 15th century.

St. Trophime Church Arles

St. Trophime Church

St. Trophime Church Arles

Main entrance of St. Trophime Church

 According to travel guru, Rick Steeves, “this church sports the finest Romanesque main entrance I’ve seen anywhere.”

Arles Roman Arena

Our next stop just a stone toss away was the Roman Arena (Amphitheatre).

Roman Arena Arles

Construction outside the arena

Amphitheatre Arles

Inside the amphitheatre

Dating back to 90 A.D., Arles Roman Arena was a popular venue for 20,000 spectators who enjoyed watching chariot races as well as gladiators fight wild game. Bullfights, plays, and concerts still run today, entertaining residents and visitors of Arles.

Amphitheatre Arles

In the 5th century the amphitheatre’s arches were bricked up and it became its own town with 200 homes and 2 chapels.


Arena hallway Arles

Hallways surrounding the arena.


A plaque listing the principal amphitheaters of the Roman world.

shopping Arles

Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping. I bought myself some French wall hangings and postcards outside the arena.

The Cryptoporticos

city hall arles

City Hall of the entrance into the cryptoporticus.

Arles cryptoporticus dates back to the 1st century B.C. and was built as an underground support or foundation for the town forum. It now supports the Chapel of the Jesuit College and City Hall.

Cryptoporticus Arles

Inside the creepy crypt


The cryptoporticus was also believed to have been a storage space as well as a barracks for slaves. The underground tunnels were damp, cold, dark, and musty. The four of us were the only people down there…hmmm I wonder why?

Oddly enough the crypt used to be at street level over two thousand years ago! Since then Arles has buried about 20 feet of history with renovations.

The Rhone River

After a long leisurely 3-course lunch at La Chistera, we did some more walking and sightseeing and ended our time in Arles at the Rhone River. The Rhone runs from Switzerland to the South of France. It’s one of the major rivers of Europe.

Rhone River Arles

The Rhone River

Related Links (Coming Soon!)

La Chistera Restaurant Review

Spring Veal Stew

7-Minute Roasted Asparagus

Lavender Honey Butter

Read this story from the beginning

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

3 Responses to “ Goût de France – Roman Ruins of Arles ”

  1. www.meganjoychapman.com» Blog Archive Goût de France: La Chistera Restaurante Review - Arles - France » Says:

    […] The Roman Ruins of Arles, France […]

  2. www.meganjoychapman.com» Blog Archive Goût de France | Spring Veal Stew Says:

    […] best veal I’ve ever tasted was in France. While visiting Arles, I tried the veal stew at La Chistera and was surprised at the simplicity of the dish—no […]

  3. www.meganjoychapman.com» Blog Archive Goût de France: La Chistera Restaurante Review - Arles - France » Says:

    […] Thankfully we stumbled upon La Chistera Restaurante, a chef-owned café run by a lovely couple. I’m guessing they had Spanish roots since Chistera is Spanish for Red Hat. And our waitress—minus the red dress and castanets—could have passed for a beautiful Flamenco Dancer with her sleek long dark hair, brown eyes, and olive-colored skin. A Spanish influence in Arles isn’t surprising, considering the local bullgames and bullfights held at the Roman Arena. […]

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