As it happened our first full day staying in Arles was a Sunday and it was the weekend of the Rice Festival so the old town was quite lively. Our accommodation was outside the old town so our entry into the old town was through a pair of very old towers.
The cafes were doing a good trade and it was obvious which street led up to the Roman arena.
Needless to say we joined the crowd and walked up that way.
However unless we wanted to see a bullfight we wouldn’t be going in today. So we walked around the impressively preserved arena.
Sadly the nearby Roman amphitheatre didn’t seem to be in quite the same condition. We made our way to the main town square. Lots of marquees showcasing local produce dotted the perimeter.
In one of the galleries there was a free exhibition of works paying tribute to Van Gogh and his influence on the town and its artists.
From there we walked to the main street leading up to the arena. It had been fenced off. The reason became apparent pretty soon as we saw the local youths chasing the bulls along.
In the Forum Place the cafes and restaurants were busy. Our eye was drawn to a massive paella pan outside Le Cafe La Nuit. It was a reminder of just how close to Spain we were now. As we had already eaten lunch paella would have to be on the menu for us another time.
As we strolled around the influence of Van Gogh became more obvious. Quite a few locations were signposted with small copies of his paintings with brief historic details on them.
On our way back we came to the river. Arles is a stopping point for many of the river cruise companies and a number of boats were docked here to take in the obvious and lesser known charms the ancient city of Arles has to offer.