Dive into Arles’ Roman culture (arles.fr). After seeing the monuments in the town centre, take some time to visit the superb Ancient Arles Museum (arles-antique.cg13.fr). A town also marked by painter Vincent van Gogh’s stay there, Arles is now turning towards the future thanks to the tenacity of Swiss patron Maja Hoffmann, who is leading a mammoth project: the construction of a tower dedicated to the contemporary art of American architect Frank Gehry. Every summer, the town also hosts the Rencontres de la Photographie (rencontres-arles.com).
Just before reaching the Camargue, its rice fields, flamingos, herds of cattle, gardians, bulls and white horses…, stop at Montmajour and its abbey (abbaye-montmajour.fr) built on a small mound formerly surrounded by marshland which the monks patiently drained for nearly 800 years!
To the south, a visit to Aigues Mortes, an entirely fortified town, or Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is a must, but if you prefer nature, take the Sambuc road on the other side of the estuary and stop at La Chassagnette (chassagnette.fr), a gourmet organic restaurant with a menu that favours kitchen garden produce), then go and explore the fauna and flora with a trip to the Marais du Vigueirat (marais-vigueirat.reserves-naturelles.org).
Beach-lovers will adore Pointe de l’Espiguette (but please note that part of the beach is open to nudists).