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A section of the South of France that is slightly less inundated by clamouring crowds, Arles is a picture of Roman architecture and blue- and green-shuttered charm. Visit for a low-key weekend of chèvre chaud salads and clinking glasses of rosé followed by meandering strolls.
Begin at the almost intact Les Arenes amphitheatre, then set out on a relaxed, self-guided architecture tour until aperitif hour. It’s easy to see where Van Gogh sought out ideas for his sunflower-hued artworks; the city is alive with colours and natural inspiration. Art history fanatics should make a stop at the Vincent Van Gogh Foundation – the sun-splashed courtyard and “Hot Sun, Late Sun – Untamed Modernism” show is chock-full of summer-y works by Van Gogh and Picasso pieces.
A day trip to the Camargue National Park is also a must – on the cusp of the Mediterranean sea, it’s a paradise for Instagram-friendly flamingos and a chilled-out day on the waterfront to contrast with warmer days in town. To cap off the Arles experience, carve out some time for the storied Saturday market where you can stock up on local rosemary and thyme.
Who to take with you
An impressionist art aficionado.
When to go
Most likely to bump into
Francophiles looking for an alternative to Aix.
Essentials to bring with you
A notepad for sketching your own version of “Café Terrace at Night”.
How to get there
Fly into Marseille airport and rent a car so you can explore the area.
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