The fanciful town of Arles has inspired the expressive works of renowned artists Picasso and van Gogh. It is home to about 50,000 people, and although Arles is not heavily populated, it has the largest area of land in comparison to any other French town or city. The Rhône River splits just north of the town, from which two rivers flow towards the Mediterranean and form the border to an expansive terrain that is the delta of Camargue National Park.
It is said that it was the lighting from the Mediterranean sunshine of this quaint French town that inspired some of van Gogh's most vibrant and famous paintings. He created more than 300 works during his 15 months stay in Arles. Notable pieces such as The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles, at Night and Bedroom in Arles immerged from this period of his life. This is also the location where the emotionally struggling artist memorably cut off a piece of his own ear. Although none of van Gogh's paintings are exhibited here, you can stroll the charming narrow cobblestone streets and savour a cup of coffee at a sidewalk cafe to get a feel for how this lovely town influenced his great works of art.
Picasso was drawn to Arles because of van Gogh's affiliation with this enchanting town and the vivacious bullfights that were, and still are, held here. You can view a collection of 57 of his paintings at the Reattu Museum; these were donated to the town by Picasso 2 years before his death. Even if you do not desire to see a bullfight, a tour of the Les Arènes bullring is well worth your time. It was constructed in the 1st century AD, and its small tower offers amazing panoramas of the city.
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