Théâtre Antique


It's easy to admire the grace and engineering of this theatre – built at the behest of the unofficial first Roman Emperor, Augustus, in the 1st century BC, despite a semi-ruinous state brought on by centuries of pilfering. It still serves as one of Arles' premier venues, staging summertime concerts and plays where lighting, seating for 10,000 and the few remaining pillars create a magical atmosphere. The entrance and ticket office is on rue de la Calade.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Arles attractions

1. Église St-Trophime

0.07 MILES

Named for Arles' semi-mythical first archbishop, this Romanesque-style church, built over a 5th-century basilica, was a cathedral until the bishopric…

2. Hôtel de Ville

0.09 MILES

Completed in 1676, and still the seat of Arles' government, the handsome Town Hall is also the entrance to the subterranean Roman Cryptoportiques.

3. Cryptoportiques

0.09 MILES

The origins of these fascinating underground chambers, now sitting below the current city centre, go at least back to the first Roman colony in Arles in…

4. Les Arènes


In Roman Gaul, every important town had an amphitheatre, where gladiators and wild animals met their (usually grisly) ends. Few examples have survived,…

5. Place du Forum

0.13 MILES

Just as social, political and religious life revolved around the forum in Roman Arles, so the busy plane-tree-shaded place du Forum still buzzes with life…

6. Museon Arlaten

0.16 MILES

Arles' cultural museum, founded all the way back in 1889 with the intent of documenting regional culture, styles and creators, is closed for renovations…

7. Église Notre Dame de la Major

0.18 MILES

Complicated restoration projects mean this 12th-century church, dominating Arles from the highest point in the city, can only be admired from outside…

8. Espace Van Gogh

0.18 MILES

The 16th-century hospital where Van Gogh had his ear stitched on and was later locked up hosts the occasional exhibition (which attracts an entry fee). At…