L'Amphithéâtre Romain, Arles

Amphitheatre and Roman Site in Arles

Arles Amphitheatre
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Wolfgang Staudt

Roman Origins and Architectural Design

Constructed between 80-90 AD under Emperor Domitian’s reign, the Arles Arena is a remarkable example of Roman architectural ingenuity and a significant piece of the city’s Flavian-era expansions. This amphitheater, designed primarily for grand spectacles, has stood the test of time, showcasing its architectural brilliance to this day. Its layout, inspired by the Colosseum in Rome, features an elaborate evacuation system, a central elliptical stage, and tiered seating arranged in arcades over two levels, capable of hosting 25,000 spectators. Although it now lacks the crowning attic seen in its initial construction, its size surpasses that of the Nîmes Arena.

Historical Significance

The Arles Arena symbolized Romanization from the late 1st to the mid-3rd century, hosting gladiatorial contests until the decline of the Roman Empire. It saw various uses over the centuries, including military support roles and public entertainments celebrated by Emperors and Kings alike. By the 6th century, the arena transformed into a fortified bastide, reflecting the era’s shifting security needs, housing over 200 dwellings and two chapels within its structure.

Restoration and Recognition

Initiated in the late 18th century and completed in 1825, the arena’s expropriation led to its return as a cultural and entertainment venue by 1830. The modern restoration efforts were meticulously planned and executed under the supervision of Jean-Pierre Dufoix and Alain-Charles Perrot, focusing on structural consolidation and archaeological precision. These efforts culminated in 2013, with the arena being reintroduced to the public, now under the care of the Ancient Heritage Agency established in 2001. The UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1981 further underscores its historical and cultural value.

Present-day Vibrancy

Today, the Arles Arena stands as the city’s most visited monument, embodying the essence of Arles globally. It continues to serve as a vibrant venue for a myriad of events, including bullfights, traditional Camargue races, theatrical performances, and concerts, marrying ancient heritage with contemporary cultural life.

The L'Amphithéâtre Romain, Arles appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Arles!

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Visiting L'Amphithéâtre Romain, Arles


From 02-11 to 28-02 : 10am – 5pm // From 01-03 to 30-04 : 9am – 6pm.// from 02-05 to 30-09 : 9am – 7pm // From 01-10 to 31-10 : 9am – 6pm.


Adult: €9/€11

Address: Arles Amphitheatre 1 Rdpt des Arènes 13200 Arles France
Duration: 1 hours

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