Arles, the ancient Arelate of the Romans, was founded by them in the 1st century BC. Thanks to its position on important communication routes, the city developed to become, in the late empire, the capital of the prefecture of the Gaul praetorium. Arles was of some importance in the Middle Ages and then in the 16th century. Symbols of the city are the ancient Roman amphitheater (les Arenes) and the Romanesque church of Saint-Trophime. Since 1981, the Roman and Romanesque monuments of Arles have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
ARLES CHRISTMAS MARKET (Drôles de Noëls and International Santonniers Exhibition)
In Arles, a real Christmas market is not held for Christmas, but there are two interesting events linked to the Christmas holidays: the International Salon of santonniers (Salon international des santonniers) and the Drôles de Noëls.
1) International exhibition of santonniers (Salon international des santonniers). This event, dedicated to the artisans of the very colorful figurines of the Provençal nativity scene, the “santonniers”, takes place in the cloister of the Saint-Trophime church. It is the largest exhibition in all of Europe.
2) Drôles de Noëls. Shows dedicated to adults and children with circus, puppets, songs, magic, musical games, stories. Fifty free performances over the four days of the festival: circus shows, puppets, songs, magic, musical games and stories.