This full day Marseille shore trip
visits the city of Arles which is known for its Roman ruins and sites portrayed in Van Gogh paintings. in the afternoon you visit the medeival hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence.
After meeting your driver guide in Marseille you depart for Arles. The earliest records of Arles history date back to the 6th century BC when it was a Greek trading post. In Roman times Arles was a stop on the Aurelian Way which lead from Rome to Spain. The Romans built a forum, baths, temples, theaters and what has become the most popular attraction today, the amphitheater.
This coliseum like arena dates to 80 AD and was once able to seat 20,000 people for gladiator style events. The arena was used in medieval times as a fortress to protect the town people from attacks. Today the arena is used for bullfights (corridas) in which the bull is not killed. The arena is impressive from the outside, but the interior has been compromised with bleacher style seats.
Another popular site is the Place du Forum which was once the center of the Roman city and today it is the heart of Arles. The square is lined with 17th and 18th century mansions which have now been converted to hotels. In the southeast corner is a famous cafe that was the subject of Van Gogh's "Caf̩ at Night". A perfect place to start or end your time in Arles.
Free time is provided for lunch (meal not included).
This afternoon you'll drive through the region until you reach the amazing medieval hilltop village of Les Baux de Provence. It is unique among the many cities in Provence because it is both an ancient ruin and at the same time a quaint village. It perches for nearly a mile along a narrow strip of land jutting up from the valley floor, and is surrounded on three sides by the sheer jagged cliffs of the Alpilles Mountain Range.
The barons who once ruled much of Southern France resided here in a castle on the top of the hill. King Louis XIII turned against them and had their castle destroyed in 1632. Afterward the city sat almost deserted for several hundred years. Today, Les Baux is made up of two parts referred to as the "Live City" and the "Dead City."
Vehicles are forbidden, so when you arrive at Les Baux you must park outside the "Live City" and walk the narrow and winding lanes which offer a nice choice of cafes, small museums and a bundle of boutiques and tourist shops selling typical gifts from Provence. Then you have a chance to visit the "Dead City," including the remains of the castle which once housed nearly 6,000 people.
At the end of your excursion, you return to Marseille.Mobility
: Folding wheelchair OK, some sites may be inaccessible (advance notice required)
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and Marseille Shore Excursions
can also be customized to fit your needs. If you have a larger group, we can offer you a private Marseille shore trip
using a mid-size bus or full size coach. Please contact us
with any questions or to receive a customized quote.