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Re-counting World Heritage sites: #15 (Arles)

On any given trip, if your plan is to explore an area with multiple destinations over the course of a few days, you probably pick one of those destinations as your base. Then, it becomes a balancing act to get all of your planned sightseeing around the area while doing justice to the aforementioned base.

Arles suffered a bit in that balancing act during our first trip to France. Targeting a stop at Pont-du-Gard and a day in Avignon on one of the legs of that trip, we picked Arles to be our base both because of its Roman attractions and also because staying in Avignon would had been more expensive. As a result, we came to town in mid-afternoon, left ourselves just a few hours of the day of arrival for sightseeing, drove to Avignon early next morning, returned to the hotel late at night, and moved on to the next leg of the trip the following morning. In fact, the most vivid recollection of our time in Arles happens to be of the night ride through town upon returning from Avignon: In those pre-GPS days, using a vague sense of direction, I ended up driving on barely-lit streets through a maze of parked cars which our rental compact repeatedly barely cleared on both sides.

A half-afternoon is certainly not sufficient to properly explore all of Arles historic monuments recognized by UNESCO. I think we reasonably explored only the amphitheatre and the forum.

The photographic efforts were also lacking (I believe this has become a fairly common refrain for any post related to our early travels). There are a handful pretty atrocious point-and-shoot efforts in our pre-digital archives. The only passable picture contrasts your truly with a couple of surviving columns.

Roman ruins of Arles, France

Hopefully, we’ll be back some day.