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Giantfan13

Arles

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We are cruising on MSC Sinfonia in about 10 days. One of our ports is Marseille and we heard that it is best to try and get out of the city and see some of the other towns. MSC offers a tour to Arles. Is there anything to see or do there and would it make for an interesting day. I believe the tour is 6 or 7 hours?

 

Cheers

Len

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I guess it depends what you want from a tour.  Arles (and the nearby area) does have its share of Roman ruins including an Amphitheater.  Going to that city is certainly one option when in Marseille.  It would not be one of my top 3 choices, but we do not generally take tours so are not constrained by tour options/itineraries.   One reason the tours are so long is that need more then an hour (each way) just to get to Arles.   The closest major Provencial city to Marseille would be Aix en Provence which also has its charms.  

 

As to "an interesting day" it really depends on you and the skill of your tour guide:).  You will certainly see some ruins and perhaps your guide will take you to a market.   The last time we were in Arles we had driven to that city from our flat in St Remy.  Our intent was to visit their weekly market (markets are a fascinating snap shot of the local/regional culture).  At Arles we thought we had made a mistake and somehow driven to North Africa....as their market was dominated by North African Muslims selling lots of grains and other food products favored by their own culture.   There have been some fascinating cultural clashes between the Muslim immigrants and French community such as whether to remove pork products (a popular item in French cuisine) from public school menus.    French tour guides generally do a good job shielding their charges from these kind of issues and even keeping tour groups away from anything that is not seen as being "French."  While they are proud of the Roman history in their country, the current reality is something to be avoided when guiding tours.  If I were taking a tour group to Arles I would likely split our time between the city and the nearby Carmargue and possibly a short visit to Aigues-Mortes.  But I have no clue as to the exact itinerary of your particular tour.

 

Hank

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I loved staying in Marseille and had no problem with any tensions between different cultures.  We did get out of the city and go to Aix as well as Cassis, which I would recommend to see the calanques on a boat tour.  In Arles they have a small colosseum like in Rome and the day we were there, there was a bullfight.  Outside of Arles is Avignon where you can tour the asylum where VanGogh and see where he painted each.  Across the street were some Roman ruins as well.  If you look at my profile picture, it was taken in Arles.  I've attached two picture for you to see Arles

IMG_1451.jpg

P1060269.jpg

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A lot of my  favorite scenes were from Arles.  Here are another two pictures.  The second is the site of the Van Gogh painting.

 

 

IMG_9411.JPG

IMG_9465.JPG

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Hlitner,  did you rent a flat in St. Remy.  If so and it was a good choice I would love for you to share the information with me.  We are doing a River Cruise in the fall and it ends in Avignon...we are going to stay in the area for another 7-10 days and rent a car.  Trying to decide were to stay for great day trips.  Not really wanting to pack and unpack numerous times!

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13 hours ago, deec said:

Hlitner,  did you rent a flat in St. Remy.  If so and it was a good choice I would love for you to share the information with me.  We are doing a River Cruise in the fall and it ends in Avignon...we are going to stay in the area for another 7-10 days and rent a car.  Trying to decide were to stay for great day trips.  Not really wanting to pack and unpack numerous times!

We rented a furnished flat in an old villa (within walking distance from the center of town) that had been divided into 4 flats.  It is a few years ago, but I seem to recall that the other 3 flats were actually occupied by locals with ours being owned by a lady from Ireland who routinely rented out our flat.  St Remy had its pros and cons....the biggest con being that we were not overly impressed by the restaurants in town.  On other trips we have stayed in Avignon (including one time when we rented a beautiful flat for a week) which offered some nice advantages over St Remy...in terms of restaurants and night life.   While St Remy was certainly a "cute" town, Avignon has many more advantages.  If we again return to this area for a few days (or weeks) we will likely stay in Avignon.  Both Avignon and St Remy are good bases for day trips.

 

Hank

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thanks, hlitner.  We will eventually being flying home from Marseille but thought this would be a great opportunity to explore the area.

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