Arles

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Arles is a city and commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhône
Bouches-du-Rhône
Bouches-du-Rhône is a department in the south of France named after the mouth of the Rhône River. It is the most populous department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. Its INSEE and postal code is 13.-History of the department:...

 department, of which it is a subprefecture, in the former province
Provinces of France
The Kingdom of France was organised into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the establishment of the département system superseded provinces. The provinces of France were roughly equivalent to the historic counties of England...

 of Provence
Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...

.

A large part of the Camargue
Camargue
The Camargue is the region located south of Arles, France, between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhône River delta. The eastern arm is called the Grand Rhône; the western one is the Petit Rhône....

 is located on the territory of the commune, making it the largest commune in Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

 in terms of territory (though Maripasoula
Maripasoula
Maripasoula is a commune of French Guiana, an overseas region and department of France located in South America. With a land area of , Maripasoula is the largest commune of France, and is recognized as the fourteenth largest city in the world by surface area....

, French Guiana
French Guiana
French Guiana is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. It has borders with two nations, Brazil to the east and south, and Suriname to the west...

 is much larger). The city has a long history, and was of considerable importance in the Roman province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 of Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. It was also known as Gallia Transalpina , which was originally a designation for that part of Gaul lying across the Alps from Italia and it contained a western region known as Septimania...

. The Roman and Romanesque Monuments of Arles
Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments
Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments is an area containing a collection of monuments in the city centre of Arles, France, that has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981....

 were listed as UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

s in 1981. The Dutch post-Impressionist
Post-Impressionism
Post-Impressionism is the term coined by the British artist and art critic Roger Fry in 1910 to describe the development of French art since Manet. Fry used the term when he organized the 1910 exhibition Manet and Post-Impressionism...

 painter Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh , and used Brabant dialect in his writing; it is therefore likely that he himself pronounced his name with a Brabant accent: , with a voiced V and palatalized G and gh. In France, where much of his work was produced, it is...

 lived in Arles in 1888-1889 and produced over 300 paintings and drawings during his time there. An international photography festival has been held in the city since 1970.

Geography


The Rhône
Rhône
Rhone can refer to:* Rhone, one of the major rivers of Europe, running through Switzerland and France* Rhône Glacier, the source of the Rhone River and one of the primary contributors to Lake Geneva in the far eastern end of the canton of Valais in Switzerland...

 river forks into two branches just upstream of Arles, forming the Camargue
Camargue
The Camargue is the region located south of Arles, France, between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhône River delta. The eastern arm is called the Grand Rhône; the western one is the Petit Rhône....

 delta. Because the Camargue is for a large part administratively part of Arles, the commune as a whole is the largest commune
Communes of France
The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

 in Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France
Metropolitan France is the part of France located in Europe. It can also be described as mainland France or as the French mainland and the island of Corsica...

 in terms of territory, although its population is only slightly more than 50,000. Its area is 758.93 km² (293 sq mi), which is more than seven times the area of Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

.

Ancient era


The Ligurians
Ligures
The Ligures were an ancient people who gave their name to Liguria, a region of north-western Italy.-Classical sources:...

 were in this area from about 800 BC. Later Celtic influences have been discovered. The city became an important Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n trading port, before being taken by the Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

.

The Romans took the town in 123 BC and expanded it into an important city, with a canal link to the Mediterranean Sea being constructed in 104 BC. However, it struggled to escape the shadow of Massalia (Marseilles) further along the coast.

Its chance came when it sided with Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 against Pompey
Pompey
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey or Pompey the Great , was a military and political leader of the late Roman Republic...

, providing military support. Massalia backed Pompey; when Caesar emerged victorious, Massalia was stripped of its possessions, which were transferred to Arelate as a reward. The town was formally established as a colony for veterans of the Roman legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

 Legio VI Ferrata
Legio VI Ferrata
Legio sexta Ferrata , was a Roman Legion formed in 65 BC, and in existence up to at least 3rd century. A Legio VI fought in the Roman Republican civil wars of the 40s and 30s BC...

, which had its base there. Its full title as a colony was Colonia Iulia Paterna Arelatensium Sextanorum, "the ancestral Julian colony of Arles of the soldiers of the Sixth."

Arelate was a city of considerable importance in the province of Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis
Gallia Narbonensis was a Roman province located in what is now Languedoc and Provence, in southern France. It was also known as Gallia Transalpina , which was originally a designation for that part of Gaul lying across the Alps from Italia and it contained a western region known as Septimania...

. It covered an area of some 99 acres (400,000 m²) and possessed a number of monuments, including an amphitheatre
Arles Amphitheatre
The Arles Amphitheatre is a Roman amphitheatre in the southern French town of Arles. This two-tiered Roman Amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times....

, triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

, Roman circus, theatre
Roman theatre (structure)
The characteristics of Roman to those of the earlier Greek theatres due in large part to its influence on the Roman triumvir Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Much of the architectural influence on the Romans came from the Greeks, and theatre structural design was no different from other buildings...

, and a full circuit of walls. Ancient Arles was closer to the sea than it is now and served as a major port. It also had (and still has) the southernmost bridge on the Rhone. Very unusually, the Roman bridge was not fixed but consisted of a pontoon-style bridge of boats
Bridge of boats
A "bridge of boats" istype of bridge which floats on water instead of having permanent pillars. It is built by linking boats and the first and last being anchored to the shores. It was used as a military technique since ancient times, being the fastest method for an army to construct a water crossing...

, with towers and drawbridges at each end. The boats were secured in place by anchors and were tethered to twin towers built just upstream of the bridge. This unusual design was a way of coping with the river's frequent violent floods, which would have made short work of a conventional bridge. Nothing now remains of the Roman bridge, which has been replaced by a more modern bridge near the same spot.

The city reached a peak of influence during the 4th and 5th centuries, when Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

s frequently used it as their headquarters during military campaigns. In 395 it became the seat of the Praetor
Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

ian Prefecture of the Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

s, governing the western part of the Western Empire: Gaul proper plus Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

 (Spain) and Armorica
Armorica
Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany peninsula and the territory between the Seine and Loire rivers, extending inland to an indeterminate point and down the Atlantic coast...

 (Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

).

It became a favorite city of Emperor Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

, who built baths
Thermae
In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

 there, substantial remains of which are still standing. His son, Constantine II, was born in Arles. Usurper
Roman usurper
Usurpers are individuals or groups of individuals who obtain and maintain the power or rights of another by force and without legal authority. Usurpation was endemic during roman imperial era, especially from the crisis of the third century onwards, when political instability became the rule.The...

 Constantine III
Constantine III (usurper)
Flavius Claudius Constantinus, known in English as Constantine III was a Roman general who declared himself Western Roman Emperor in Britannia in 407 and established himself in Gaul. Recognised by the Emperor Honorius in 409, collapsing support and military setbacks saw him abdicate in 411...

 declared himself emperor in the West (407–411) and made Arles his capital in 408.

Arles became renowned as a cultural and religious centre during the late Roman Empire. It was the birthplace of the sceptical philosopher Favorinus
Favorinus
Favorinus of Arelata was a Roman sophist and philosopher who flourished during the reign of Hadrian.He was of Gaulish ancestry, born in Arelate . He is described as a hermaphrodite by birth...

. It was also a key location for Roman Christianity and an important base for the Christianization
Christianization
The historical phenomenon of Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once...

 of Gaul. The city's bishopric was held by a series of outstanding clerics, beginning with Saint Trophimus around 225 and continuing with Saint Honoré, then Saint Hilary
Hilary of Arles
Saint Hilary of Arles was a bishop of Arles. He is recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, with his feast day celebrated on 5 May.- Life :...

 in the first half of the 5th century. The political tension between the Catholic bishops of Arles and the Visigothic kings is epitomized in the career of the Frankish St Caesarius, bishop of Arles 503–542, who was suspected by the Arian
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

 Visigoth Alaric II
Alaric II
Alaric II, also known as Alarik, Alarich, and Alarico in Spanish and Portuguese or Alaricus in Latin succeeded his father Euric on December 28, 484, in Toulouse. He established his capital at Aire-sur-l'Adour in Aquitaine...

 of conspiring with the Burgundians
Burgundians
The Burgundians were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr , and from there to mainland Europe...

 to turn over the Arelate to Burgundy, and was exiled for a year to Bordeaux in Aquitaine, and again in 512 when Arles held out against Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great
Theodoric the Great was king of the Ostrogoths , ruler of Italy , regent of the Visigoths , and a viceroy of the Eastern Roman Empire...

, Caesarius was imprisoned and sent to Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

 to explain his actions before the Ostrogothic king.

The friction between the Arian Christianity of the Visigoths and the Catholicism of the bishops sent out from Rome established deep roots for religious heterodoxy
Heterodoxy
Heterodoxy is generally defined as "any opinions or doctrines at variance with an official or orthodox position". As an adjective, heterodox is commonly used to describe a subject as "characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards"...

, even heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

, in Occitan culture. At Treves
Trèves
-France:Trèves is the name or part of the name of several communes in France:* Trèves, in the Rhône department* Trèves, in the Gard department* Trèves, former commune of the Maine-et-Loire department, now part of Chênehutte-Trèves-Cunault...

 in 385, Priscillian
Priscillian
Priscillian was bishop of Ávila and a theologian from Roman Gallaecia , the first person in the history of Christianity to be executed for heresy . He founded an ascetic group that, in spite of persecution, continued to subsist in Hispania and Gaul until the later 6th century...

 achieved the distinction of becoming the first Christian burned alive for heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 (Manichaean in his case, see also Cathar
Cathar
Catharism was a name given to a Christian religious sect with dualistic and gnostic elements that appeared in the Languedoc region of France and other parts of Europe in the 11th century and flourished in the 12th and 13th centuries...

s, Camisards). Despite this tension and the city's decline in the face of barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

 invasions, Arles remained a great religious centre and host of church councils (see Council of Arles), the rival of Vienne
Vienne, Isère
Vienne is a commune in south-eastern France, located south of Lyon, on the Rhône River. It is the second largest city after Grenoble in the Isère department, of which it is a subprefecture. The city's population was of 29,400 as of the 2001 census....

, for hundreds of years.

Roman aqueduct and mill


The Barbegal aqueduct and mill
Barbegal aqueduct and mill
The Barbegal aqueduct and mill is a Roman watermill complex located on the territory of the commune of Fontvieille, near the town of Arles, in southern France. The complex has been referred to as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world"...

 is a Roman watermill complex located on the territory of the commune of Fontvieille
Fontvieille, Bouches-du-Rhône
Fontvieille is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France.-Population:-Sights:* Alphonse Daudet's windmill* Barbegal aqueduct and mill, a Roman watermill complex located on the territory of the commune-External links:* *...

, a few kilometres from Arles. The complex has been referred to as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world". The remains of the mill streams and buildings which housed the overshot water wheel
Water wheel
A water wheel is a machine for converting the energy of free-flowing or falling water into useful forms of power. A water wheel consists of a large wooden or metal wheel, with a number of blades or buckets arranged on the outside rim forming the driving surface...

s are still visible at the site, and it is by far the best preserved of ancient mills. There are two aqueducts which join just north of the mill complex, and a sluice which enabled the operators to control the water supply to the complex. The mill consisted of 16 waterwheels in two separate rows built into a steep hillside. There are substantial masonry remains of the water channels and foundations of the individual mills, together with a staircase rising up the hill upon which the mills are built. The mills apparently operated from the end of the 1st century until about the end of the 3rd century. The capacity of the mills has been estimated at 4.5 tons of flour
Flour
Flour is a powder which is made by grinding cereal grains, other seeds or roots . It is the main ingredient of bread, which is a staple food for many cultures, making the availability of adequate supplies of flour a major economic and political issue at various times throughout history...

 per day, sufficient to supply enough bread for the 6,000 of 30-40,000 inhabitants of Arelate at that time. Another similar mill complex existed also on the Janiculum
Janiculum
The Janiculum is a hill in western Rome, Italy. Although the second-tallest hill in the contemporary city of Rome, the Janiculum does not figure among the proverbial Seven Hills of Rome, being west of the Tiber and outside the boundaries of the ancient city.-Sights:The Janiculum is one of the...

 in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. Examination of the mill leat still just visible on one side of the hill shows a substantial accretion of lime in the channel, tending to confirm its long working life.

It is thought that the wheels were overshot water wheels with the outflow from the top driving the next one down and so on, to the base of the hill. Vertical water mills were well known to the Romans, being described by Vitruvius
Vitruvius
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was a Roman writer, architect and engineer, active in the 1st century BC. He is best known as the author of the multi-volume work De Architectura ....

 in his De Architectura
De architectura
' is a treatise on architecture written by the Roman architect Vitruvius and dedicated to his patron, the emperor Caesar Augustus, as a guide for building projects...

 of 25 BC, and mentioned by Pliny the Elder
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 in his Naturalis Historia
Naturalis Historia
The Natural History is an encyclopedia published circa AD 77–79 by Pliny the Elder. It is one of the largest single works to have survived from the Roman Empire to the modern day and purports to cover the entire field of ancient knowledge, based on the best authorities available to Pliny...

 of 77 AD. There are also later references to floating water mills from Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

 and to sawmill
Sawmill
A sawmill is a facility where logs are cut into boards.-Sawmill process:A sawmill's basic operation is much like those of hundreds of years ago; a log enters on one end and dimensional lumber exits on the other end....

s on the river Moselle
Moselle
Moselle is a department in the east of France named after the river Moselle.- History :Moselle is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 by the poet Ausonius
Ausonius
Decimius Magnus Ausonius was a Latin poet and rhetorician, born at Burdigala .-Biography:Decimius Magnus Ausonius was born in Bordeaux in ca. 310. His father was a noted physician of Greek ancestry and his mother was descended on both sides from long-established aristocratic Gallo-Roman families...

. The use of multiple stacked sequences of reverse overshot water-wheel
Reverse overshot water-wheel
Frequently used in mines and probably elsewhere , the reverse overshot water wheel was a Roman innovation to help remove water from the lowest levels of underground workings. It is described by Vitruvius in his work De Architectura published circa 25 BC...

s was widespread in Roman mines.

Middle Ages




Arles was badly affected by the invasion of Provence by the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s and the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

, who took control of the region in the 8th century. In 855 it was made the capital of a Frankish Kingdom of Arles
Kingdom of Arles
The Kingdom of Arles or Second Kingdom of Burgundy of the High Middle Ages was a Frankish dominion established in 933 from lands of the early medieval Kingdom of Burgundy at Arles...

, which included Burgundy and part of Provence, but was frequently terrorised by Saracen and Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 raiders. In 888, Rudolph, Count of Auxerre
Auxerre
Auxerre is a commune in the Bourgogne region in north-central France, between Paris and Dijon. It is the capital of the Yonne department.Auxerre's population today is about 45,000...

 (now in north-western Burgundy), founded the kingdom of Transjuran Burgundy (literally, beyond the Jura mountains), which included western Switzerland as far as the river Reuss, Valais
Valais
The Valais is one of the 26 cantons of Switzerland in the southwestern part of the country, around the valley of the Rhône from its headwaters to Lake Geneva, separating the Pennine Alps from the Bernese Alps. The canton is one of the drier parts of Switzerland in its central Rhône valley...

, Geneva
Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Chablais
Chablais
Chablais was a province of the Duchy of Savoy. Its capital was Thonon-les-Bains.This region is currently divided into three territories, the Chablais savoyard, the Chablais valaisan, and the Chablais vaudois, and is now split across two countries: France and Switzerland...

 and Bugey
Bugey
The Bugey is a historical region in the département of Ain , France. It is located in a loop of the Rhône River in the southeast of the département...

.

In 933, Hugh of Arles ("Hugues de Provence") gave his kingdom up to Rudolph II, who merged the two kingdoms into a new Kingdom of Arles. In 1032, King Rudolph III died, and the Kingdom was inherited by Emperor Conrad II
Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor
Conrad II was Holy Roman Emperor from 1027 until his death.The son of a mid-level nobleman in Franconia, Count Henry of Speyer and Adelaide of Alsace, he inherited the titles of count of Speyer and of Worms as an infant when Henry died at age twenty...

 the Salic. Though his successors counted themselves kings of Arles, few went to be crowned in the cathedral. Most of the territory of the Kingdom was progressively incorporated into France. During these troubled times, the amphitheatre
Arles Amphitheatre
The Arles Amphitheatre is a Roman amphitheatre in the southern French town of Arles. This two-tiered Roman Amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times....

 was converted into a fortress, with watchtowers built at each of the four quadrants and a minuscule walled town being constructed within. The population was by now only a fraction of what it had been in Roman times, with much of old Arles lying in ruins.

The town regained political and economic prominence in the 12th century, with the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa traveling there in 1178 for his coronation. In the 12th century, it became a free city governed by an elected podestat (chief magistrate; literally "power"), who appointed the consuls and other magistrates. It retained this status until the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 of 1789.

Arles joined the countship of Provence in 1239 but suffered its prominence being eclipsed once more by Marseilles. In 1378, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles IV , born Wenceslaus , was the second king of Bohemia from the House of Luxembourg, and the first king of Bohemia to also become Holy Roman Emperor....

 ceded the remnants of the Kingdom of Arles to the Dauphin of France (later King Charles VI of France
Charles VI of France
Charles VI , called the Beloved and the Mad , was the King of France from 1380 to 1422, as a member of the House of Valois. His bouts with madness, which seem to have begun in 1392, led to quarrels among the French royal family, which were exploited by the neighbouring powers of England and Burgundy...

) and the Kingdom ceased to exist even on paper.

Modern era


Arles remained economically important for many years as a major port on the Rhône. The arrival of the railway in the 19th century eventually killed off much of the river trade, leading to the town becoming something of a backwater.

This made it an attractive destination for the painter Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh , and used Brabant dialect in his writing; it is therefore likely that he himself pronounced his name with a Brabant accent: , with a voiced V and palatalized G and gh. In France, where much of his work was produced, it is...

, who arrived there on 21 February 1888. He was fascinated by the Provençal landscapes, producing over 300 paintings and drawings during his time in Arles. Many of his most famous paintings were completed there, including The Night Cafe
The Night Café
The Night Café is an oil painting created in Arles in September 1888, by Vincent van Gogh...

, the Yellow Room
Bedroom in Arles
Bedroom in Arles is the title given to each of three similar paintings by 19th-century Dutch Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.Van Gogh's own title for this composition was simply The Bedroom...

, Starry Night Over the Rhone
Starry Night Over the Rhone
Starry Night Over the Rhone is one of Vincent van Gogh's paintings of Arles at night; it was painted at a spot on the banks of river which was only a minute or two's walk from the Yellow House on the Place Lamartine which Van Gogh was renting at the time...

, and L'Arlésienne
L'Arlésienne (painting)
L'Arlésienne, L'Arlésienne , or Portrait of Madame Ginoux is the title given to a group of six similar paintings by Vincent van Gogh, painted in Arles, November 1888 , and in Auvers, February 1890...

. Paul Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist. He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer...

 visited van Gogh in Arles. However, van Gogh's mental health deteriorated and he became alarmingly eccentric, culminating in the infamous ear-severing incident in December 1888 which resulted in two stays in the Old Hospital of Arles
Hospital in Arles (Van Gogh series)
Hospital at Arles is the subject of two paintings that Vincent van Gogh made of the hospital in which he stayed in December 1888 and again in January 1889. The hospital is located in Arles in southern France...

. The concerned Arlesians circulated a petition the following February demanding that van Gogh be confined. In May 1889 he took the hint and left Arles for the Saint-Paul
Saint-Paul Asylum, Saint-Rémy (Van Gogh series)
Saint-Paul Asylum, Saint-Rémy is a collection of paintings that Vincent van Gogh did when he was a self-admitted patient at the Saint-Paul asylum in Saint-Rémy from May 1889 until May 1890...

 asylum at nearby Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France.-Geography:...

.

Population


Main sights


Arles has important remains of Roman times, which have been listed as World Heritage Sites since 1981. They include:
  • The Roman theatre
    Roman theatre (structure)
    The characteristics of Roman to those of the earlier Greek theatres due in large part to its influence on the Roman triumvir Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus. Much of the architectural influence on the Romans came from the Greeks, and theatre structural design was no different from other buildings...

  • The arena or amphitheatre
    Arles Amphitheatre
    The Arles Amphitheatre is a Roman amphitheatre in the southern French town of Arles. This two-tiered Roman Amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times....

  • The Alyscamps
    Alyscamps
    The Alyscamps is a large Roman necropolis, which is a short distance outside the walls of the old town of Arles, France. It was one of the most famous necropolises of the ancient world. The name is a corruption of the Latin Elisii Campi...

     (Roman necropolis
    Necropolis
    A necropolis is a large cemetery or burial ground, usually including structural tombs. The word comes from the Greek νεκρόπολις - nekropolis, literally meaning "city of the dead"...

    )
  • The Thermes
    Thermae
    In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

     of Constantine
  • The cryptoporticus
    Cryptoporticus
    In Ancient Roman architecture a cryptoporticus is a covered corridor or passageway. The usual English is "cryptoportico". The cryptoportico is a semi-subterranean gallery whose vaulting supports portico structures aboveground and which is lit from openings at the tops of its arches...

  • Arles Obelisk
    Obélisque d'Arles
    The Obélisque d'Arles is a 4th century Roman obelisk, erected in the center of the Place de la République, in front of the town hall of Arles, France.-Description:...

  • Barbegal aqueduct and mill
    Barbegal aqueduct and mill
    The Barbegal aqueduct and mill is a Roman watermill complex located on the territory of the commune of Fontvieille, near the town of Arles, in southern France. The complex has been referred to as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world"...


The Church of St. Trophime
Church of St. Trophime
The Church of St. Trophime is a Roman Catholic church and former cathedral built between the 12th century and the 15th century in the city of Arles, in the Bouches-du-Rhône Department of southern France...

 (Saint Trophimus), formerly a cathedral, is a major work of Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

, and the representation of the Last Judgment
Last Judgment
The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, or The Day of the Lord in Christian theology, is the final and eternal judgment by God of every nation. The concept is found in all the Canonical gospels, particularly the Gospel of Matthew. It will purportedly take place after the...

 on its portal is considered one of the finest examples of Romanesque sculpture, as are the columns in the adjacent cloister
Cloister
A cloister is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks or open galleries, with open arcades on the inner side, running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth...

.

The town also has an outstanding museum of ancient history, the Musée de l'Arles et de la Provence antiques
Musée de l'Arles et de la Provence antiques
The Musée de l'Arles antique or Musée départemental Arles antique or Musée de l'Arles et de la Provence antiques is an archeological museum housed in a modern building designed and built in 1995 by the architect Henri Ciriani, at Arles in the Bouches-du-Rhône département of France.-Exhibits:The...

, with one of the best collections of Roman sarcophagi to be found anywhere outside Rome itself. Another museum is the Museon Arlaten.

The courtyard of the Old Arles hospital, now named "Espace Van Gogh," is a center for Vincent van Gogh's works, several of which are masterpieces. The garden, framed on all four sides by buildings of the complex, is approached through arcades on the first floor. A circulation gallery is located on the first and second floors.

Archaeology



In September–October 2007 divers led by Luc Long from the French Department of Subaquatic Archaeological Research, headed by Michel L'Hour, discovered a life-sized marble bust of an apparently important Roman person in the Rhone River
Rhône River
The Rhone is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising in Switzerland and running from there through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhone and the Little Rhone...

 near Arles, together with smaller statues of Marsyas
Marsyas
In Greek mythology, the satyr Marsyas is a central figure in two stories involving music: in one, he picked up the double flute that had been abandoned by Athena and played it; in the other, he challenged Apollo to a contest of music and lost his hide and life...

 in Hellenistic style and of the god Neptune
Neptune (mythology)
Neptune was the god of water and the sea in Roman mythology and religion. He is analogous with, but not identical to, the Greek god Poseidon. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Neptune was the brother of Jupiter and Pluto, each of them presiding over one of the three realms of the universe,...

 from the third century AD. The larger bust was tentatively dated to 46 BC. Since the bust displayed several characteristics of an ageing person with wrinkles, deep naso-labial creases and hollows in his face, and since the archaeologists believed that Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 had founded the colony Colonia Iulia Paterna Arelate Sextanorum in 46 BC, the scientists came to the preliminary conclusion that the bust depicted a life-portrait of the Roman dictator: France's Minister of Culture Christine Albanel
Christine Albanel
Christine Albanel is a French civil servant. From May 2007 to June 2009 she was France's Minister for Culture and Communication in François Fillon's government.Albanel is agrégé in classical Letters...

 reported on May 13, 2008, that the bust would be the oldest representation of Caesar known today. The story was picked up by all larger media outlets. The realism of the portrait was said to place it in the tradition of late Republican portrait and genre sculptures. The archaeologists further claimed that a bust of Julius Caesar might have been thrown away or discreetly disposed of, because Caesar's portraits could have been viewed as politically dangerous possessions after the dictator's assassination.

Historians and archaeologists not affiliated with the French administration, among them the renowned archaeologist and expert on Caesar and Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 Paul Zanker, were quick to question whether the bust is a portrait of Caesar. Many noted the lack of resemblances to Caesar's likenesses issued on coins during the last years of the dictator's life, and to the Tusculum
Tusculum
Tusculum is a ruined Roman city in the Alban Hills, in the Latium region of Italy.-Location:Tusculum is one of the largest Roman cities in Alban Hills. The ruins of Tusculum are located on Tuscolo hill—more specifically on the northern edge of the outer crater ring of the Alban volcano...

 bust of Caesar, which depicts Julius Caesar in his lifetime, either as a so-called zeitgesicht or as a direct portrait. After a further stylistic assessment Zanker dated the Arles-bust to the Augustan period. Elkins argued for the third century AD as the terminus post quem for the deposition of the statues, refuting the claim that the bust was thrown away due to feared repercussions from Caesar's assassination in 44 BC. The main argument by the French archaeologists that Caesar had founded the colony in 46 BC proved to be incorrect, as the colony was founded by Caesar's former quaestor
Quaestor
A Quaestor was a type of public official in the "Cursus honorum" system who supervised financial affairs. In the Roman Republic a quaestor was an elected official whereas, with the autocratic government of the Roman Empire, quaestors were simply appointed....

 Tiberius Claudius Nero
Tiberius Nero
Not to be confused with his son Tiberius or his grandson Germanicus, who both had the name 'Tiberius Claudius Nero' at one time or another. Tiberius Claudius Nero was a member of the Claudian Family of ancient Rome. He was a descendant of the original Tiberius Claudius Nero a consul, son of...

 on the dictator's orders in his absence. Mary Beard has accused the persons involved in the find to have willfully invented their claims for publicity reasons. The French ministry of culture has not yet responded to the criticism and negative reviews.

Sport


AC Arles-Avignon is a professional French football team. They compete in Ligue 1
Ligue 1
Ligue 1 , is the French professional league for association football clubs. It is the country's primary football competition and serves as the top division of the French football league system. Ligue 1 is one of two divisions making up the Ligue de Football Professionnel, the other being Ligue 2....

, having gained promotion from Ligue 2
Ligue 2
Ligue 2 , formerly known as Division 2, is a French professional football league. The league serves as the second division of French football and is one of two divisions making up the Ligue de Football Professionnel , the other being Ligue 1, the country's top football division...

 in the 2009-2010 season. They play at the Parc des Sports
Parc des Sports
Parc des Sports is a multi-use stadium in Annecy, France. It is used by Annecy F.C. for their home matches. The capacity of the stadium is 15,660 spectators. It also hosted the 1998 World Junior Championships in Athletics....

, which has a capacity of just over 17,000.

Culture


A well known photography festival, Rencontres d'Arles
Rencontres d'Arles
The Rencontres d'Arles is a summer festival of photography, founded in 1970 by the photographer Lucien Clergue, the writer Michel Tournier and the historian Jean-Maurice Rouquette. It takes place between July and September in Arles, a town in Provence, southern France.The festival shows mostly new...

, takes place in Arles every year, and the French national school of photography is located there.

The major French publishing house Actes Sud is also situated in Arles.

Bull fights are conducted in the amphitheatre
Arles Amphitheatre
The Arles Amphitheatre is a Roman amphitheatre in the southern French town of Arles. This two-tiered Roman Amphitheatre is probably the most prominent tourist attraction in the city of Arles, which thrived in Roman times....

, including Provençal-style bullfights (courses camarguaises) in which the bull is not killed but rather a team of athletic men attempt to remove a tassle from the bull's horn without getting injured. Every Easter and on the first weekend of September, Arles also holds Spanish-style corridas
Bullfighting
Bullfighting is a traditional spectacle of Spain, Portugal, southern France and some Latin American countries , in which one or more bulls are baited in a bullring for sport and entertainment...

(in which the bulls are killed) with an encierro
Encierro
The Running of the Bulls is a practice that involves running in front of a small group of bulls that have been let loose, on a course of a sectioned-off subset of a town's streets...

(bull-running in the streets) preceding each fight.

The film Ronin was partially filmed in Arles.

Economy


Arles's open-air street market is a major market in the region. It occurs on Saturday and Wednesday mornings.

Transport


The Gare d'Arles
Gare d'Arles
Gare d'Arles is a railway station serving the town Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône department, southeastern France. It is situated on the Paris–Marseille railway.-Train services:As of August 2011 the following services call at Arles:...

 railway station offers connections to Avignon, Nîmes, Marseilles, Paris, Bordeaux and several regional destinations.

Notable people

  • The Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral
    Frédéric Mistral
    Frédéric Mistral was a French writer and lexicographer of the Occitan language. Mistral won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1904 and was a founding member of Félibrige and a member of l'Académie de Marseille...

     (1830–1914) was born near Arles.
  • Jeanne Calment
    Jeanne Calment
    Jeanne Louise Calment was a French supercentenarian who had the longest confirmed human life span in history, living to the age of . She lived in Arles, France, for her entire life, and outlived both her daughter and grandson. She became especially well known from the age of 113, when the...

     (1875–1997), the oldest human being
    Oldest people
    This is a list of tables of the verified oldest people in the world in ordinal rank, such as oldest person or oldest man. In these tables, a supercentenarian is considered 'verified' if his or her claim has been validated by an international body that specifically deals in longevity research, such...

     whose age is documented, was born, lived and died, at the age of 122 years and 164 days, in Arles
  • Anne-Marie David
    Anne-Marie David
    Anne-Marie David is a French singer. She represented two different countries at the Eurovision Song Contest.-Career:...

    , singer (Eurovision winner in 1973
    Eurovision Song Contest 1973
    The Eurovision Song Contest 1973 was the eighteenth Eurovision Song Contest and was held in Luxembourg. The language rule forcing countries to enter songs sung in any of their national languages was dropped, so performers from some countries sang in English....

    )
  • Christian Lacroix
    Christian Lacroix
    Christian Marie Marc Lacroix is a French fashion designer. The name may also refer to the company he founded.-Early life:Lacroix was born in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône in southern France. At a young age he began sketching historical costumes and fashions. Lacroix graduated from high school in 1969...

    , fashion designer, was born in Arles. He is well known in the gay community.
  • Lucien Clergue
    Lucien Clergue
    -Biography:Lucien Clergue was born in Arles. From the age of 7, he learned to play the violin. Several years later, his teacher revealed to him that he had nothing more to teach him. From a family of shopkeepers, he could not pursue further studies in a conservatory. In 1949, he learned the...

    , photographer
  • Djibril Cissé
    Djibril Cissé
    Djibril Aruun Cissé is a French international footballer who currently plays for Serie A club Lazio as a striker. He is noted particularly for his speed and acceleration. Since 2005, he has held the title of Lord of the Manor of Frodsham....

    , footballer for Panathinaikos F.C. and France
    France national football team
    The France national football team represents the nation of France in international football. It is fielded by the French Football Federation , the governing body of football in France, and competes as a member of UEFA, which encompasses the countries of Europe...

  • Genesius of Arles
    Genesius of Arles
    Saint Genesius of Arles was a notary martyred under Maximianus in 303 or 308. His Feast day is celebrated on August 25. He is honoured as the patron saint of notaries and secretaries, and invoked against chilblains and scurf...

    , a notary
    Civil law notary
    Civil-law notaries, or Latin notaries, are lawyers of noncontentious private civil law who draft, take, and record legal instruments for private parties, provide legal advice and give attendance in person, and are vested as public officers with the authentication power of the State...

     martyred under Maximian
    Maximian
    Maximian was Roman Emperor from 286 to 305. He was Caesar from 285 to 286, then Augustus from 286 to 305. He shared the latter title with his co-emperor and superior, Diocletian, whose political brain complemented Maximian's military brawn. Maximian established his residence at Trier but spent...

    us in 303 or 308.
  • Blessed
    Beatification
    Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name . Beatification is the third of the four steps in the canonization process...

     Jean Marie du Lau
    Jean Marie du Lau
    Jean Marie du Lau was Archbishop of Arles, and was one of the Catholic Martyrs of September 1792 killed during the French Revolution...

    , last Archbishop of Arles, killed by the revolutionary mob in Paris on September, 2 1792
  • Juan Bautista, matador
    Matador
    A torero or toureiro is a bullfighter and the main performer in bullfighting, practised in Spain, Colombia, Portugal, Mexico, France and various other countries influenced by Spanish culture. In Spanish, the word torero describes any of the performers who actively participate in the bullfight...

  • Mehdi Savalli, matador
  • The medieval writer Antoine de la Sale
    Antoine de la Sale
    Antoine de la Sale or la Salle was a French writer.-Family and Early Years:He was born in Provence, probably at Arles, the illegitimate son of Bernardon de la Salle, a celebrated Gascon mercenary, mentioned in Froissart's Chronicles. His mother was a peasant, Perrinette Damendel.-At the Court of...

     was probably born in Arles around 1386
  • Home of the Gipsy Kings
    Gipsy Kings
    The Gipsy Kings are a group of musicians from Arles and Montpellier, who perform in Spanish with an Andalucían accent. Although group members were born in France, their parents were mostly gitanos, Spanish Romani people who fled Catalonia during the 1930s Spanish Civil War. Chico Bouchikhi is of...

    , a music group from Arles
  • Gael Givet
    Gaël Givet
    Gaël Givet-Viaros is a French footballer who plays for Blackburn Rovers. Givet is a left-footed centre back who can also play left-back.-Monaco:...

     footballer for Blackburn Rovers
  • Vincent van Gogh
    Vincent van Gogh
    Vincent Willem van Gogh , and used Brabant dialect in his writing; it is therefore likely that he himself pronounced his name with a Brabant accent: , with a voiced V and palatalized G and gh. In France, where much of his work was produced, it is...

    , lived there for quite some time in the early years of his life time, he later would go on to cut off his ear in a brothel.
  • Fanny Valette
    Fanny Valette
    Fanny Valette is a French actress, born July 4, 1986 in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France.- Biography :Valette started her career in an episode of L'instit...

    , actress.

Twin towns — sister cities



Arles is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Pskov
Pskov
Pskov is an ancient city and the administrative center of Pskov Oblast, Russia, located in the northwest of Russia about east from the Estonian border, on the Velikaya River. Population: -Early history:...

, Russia Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez de la Frontera
Jerez de la Frontera is a municipality in the province of Cádiz in the autonomous community of Andalusia, in southwestern Spain, situated midway between the sea and the mountains. , the city, the largest in the province, had 208,896 inhabitants; it is the fifth largest in Andalusia...

, Spain Fulda
Fulda
Fulda is a city in Hesse, Germany; it is located on the river Fulda and is the administrative seat of the Fulda district .- Early Middle Ages :...

, Germany York, Pennsylvania
York, Pennsylvania
York, known as the White Rose City , is a city located in York County, Pennsylvania, United States which is in the South Central region of the state. The population within the city limits was 43,718 at the 2010 census, which was a 7.0% increase from the 2000 count of 40,862...

, United States Cubelles
Cubelles
Cubelles is a town in Catalonia, in the province of Barcelona, Spain. It is situated in the comarca of Garraf.-Historia:Breu història CUBELLESEl 1274, Jaume el Conqueridor va atorgar grans privilegis a la zona de la vila, propera al castell...

, Spain Vercelli
Vercelli
Vercelli is a city and comune of about 47,000 inhabitants in the Province of Vercelli, Piedmont, northern Italy. One of the oldest urban sites in northern Italy, it was founded, according to most historians, around the year 600 BC.The city is situated on the river Sesia in the plain of the river...

, Italy Sagné
Sagne
Sagne may refer to:*La Sagne - Switzerland*Sagne, Mauritania...

, Mauritania Kalymnos
Kalymnos
Kalymnos, is a Greek island and municipality in the southeastern Aegean Sea. It belongs to the Dodecanese and is located to the west of the peninsula of Bodrum , between the islands of Kos and Leros : the latter is linked to it through a series of islets...

, Greece Wisbech
Wisbech
Wisbech is a market town, inland port and civil parish with a population of 20,200 in the Fens of Cambridgeshire. The tidal River Nene runs through the centre of the town and is spanned by two bridges...

, United Kingdom Zhouzhuang, Kunshan, Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

, People's Republic of China Verviers
Verviers
Verviers is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Liège. The Verviers municipality includes the old communes of Ensival, Lambermont, Petit-Rechain, Stembert, and Heusy...

, Belgium

See also

  • Archbishopric of Arles
    Archbishopric of Arles
    The former French Catholic Archbishopric of Arles had its episcopal see in the city of Arles, in southern France.The Archbishopric of Arles was suppressed, and incorporated into the Archdiocese of Aix in 1822...

  • Montmajour Abbey
    Montmajour Abbey
    Montmajour Abbey is a fortified Benedictine monastery built between the 10th and 13th century on what was then an island five kilometers north of Arles, in the Bouches-du-Rhône département, Provence, in the south of France.The Abbey is noted for its 11th-14th century graves, carved in the rock,...

  • Trinquetaille
    Trinquetaille
    Trinquetaille is an area in the town of Arles, in southern France. It is located in the canton of Arles-Ouest.-Geography:Trinquetaille is located on the right bank of the "Grand Rhône". This position at the top of the Rhône delta makes it part of the Camargue....

  • Langlois Bridge
    Langlois Bridge
    Langlois Bridge was a drawbridge in Arles, France, which has been the subject of several paintings by Vincent van Gogh in 1888...

  • Saint-Martin-de-Crau
    Saint-Martin-de-Crau
    Saint-Martin-de-Crau is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in southern France. Inhabitants are called Saint-Martinois.-Population:...

  • Communes of the Bouches-du-Rhône department

External links