I took the train from Arles to Orange to check out their famous Roman theatre.
The building is really impressive, and one of only three in the world with the original wall still standing (tickets 9.50€). There are also many really interesting explanations, including a short film and a multimedia section showing different performances through the ages. The theatre still hosts spectacles to this day, so that’s another thing to look out for.
Also in Orange there’s an Arc du Triomphe, which is another nice landmark to visit nearby. Otherwise the town centre is cute but nothing unmissable as compared to others in Provence.
By lunchtime I hopped on a train to Avignon, which is mostly famous by the period it hosted a papacy. You can visit the Papal Palace (tickets 11€), which is a huge and impressive building which has been restored more or less recently so it looks great.
Nearby you can go up Rocher des Doms, a little hill where you can get great views over the Palace, the Rhone, and the remains of Avignon bridge, another local highlight (you can visit it but it was too hot so I didn’t go).
Around the palace and nearby roads there are lots of little shops and cute cafes, so it’s a great place to spend some time wandering about.
Then it was time to catch the train back to Arles.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Go: Arles, Avignon and Orange are all about 30min from each other by train. Trains can be booked online here and are fairly cheap at around 8€ each. You can buy them on the day too, but I’m not sure if there’s a price difference. The train station is conveniently close to the centre in both towns.
- Weather: I visited in August, and by the time I reached Avignon it was a good 35 degrees, which was a bit tricky for exploring on foot, particularly on open sites (I chose to visit the Orange theatre early in the morning which was definitely the right thing to do).