Roman Arles

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Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

August, 2017

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Travelled with

On your own

Reasons for trip

The Amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in Arles and one of the best preserved amphitheatres of the Roman World. It is on the tick list of every visitor to Arles, and justly so. Many may admire from the outside but it is definitely worth paying the small admission fee to go inside.

It is huge and still dominates Pond-Point des Arènes. It dates back to the 1st century BC and could hold 20,000 spectators. After the fall of Rome, the amphitheatre was used as a fortress and shelter for the population. It contained over 200 houses with a public square and churches. These were eventually removed in the early C19th when the amphitheatre was restored to hold events. It is still used for bullfighting today although, unlike Spain, the object is not to kill the bulls. It also hosts plays and concerts.

The outer walls standing two tiers tall are intact and have taller towers controlling entrance. A passage way with tunnels and stone steps gives access to the different parts of the amphitheatre.

Originally spectators sat on stone seats around the arena. These have now been replaced by a metal framework of seats.

It is worth climbing the tower for views across Arles.


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