Saint-Trophime Cloister

Cathedral in Arles

Cloister View, Saint-Trophime Cathedral,Arles
CC BY-SA 4.0 / John Samuel

The Saint-Trophime Cloister, adjacent to the former cathedral of Arles, represents a unique architectural marvel spanning from the 12th to the 14th centuries. Unlike typical cloisters, it does not adjoin the nave or the transept but connects to the choir via a staircase. This rectangular cloister measures 28 meters in length and 25 meters in width, a scale comparable only to those found in Provence’s Thoronet, Sénanque, or Montmajour.Construction and DesignThe cloister’s construction commenced around 1150, starting with the north gallery and closely followed by the east gallery. It wasn’t until the late 14th century that the west and south galleries were added, concluding with the south gallery under Bishop Jean de Rochechouart’s episcopate. This phased construction led to a blend of Romanesque styles in the north and east galleries and Gothic styles in the south and west galleries, embodying a pursuit of aesthetic perfection and sculptural quality. In 1846, it was designated a historic monument and has been part of Arles’ UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1981.The Romanesque GalleriesCharacterized by their three bays and distinct sculptures, the Romanesque galleries showcase themes of resurrection and sanctification, particularly focusing on the patron saints of Arles, Saint Trophimus and Saint Stephen. These galleries are notable for their intricate sculptures, including figures of Saint Trophimus, Saint Peter, and Saint John, which are celebrated for their exceptional Romanesque craftsmanship.The Gothic GalleriesThe Gothic additions feature rib-vaulted ceilings and open arcades, highlighting the veneration of Saint Trophimus. Scenes from the “novel of Saint Trophimus,” a poetic account from 1221-1226, adorn the south gallery, while the west gallery, dating back to the mid-15th century, displays a mix of biblical and legendary figures without a coherent theme.Sculptures and PillarsThe cloister is adorned with significant sculptures and motifs, including a crouching figure supporting a baptismal font and narrative reliefs depicting biblical stories and legends. These artistic elements contribute to the cloister’s rich iconographic program.TapestriesHoused within the Romanesque chapter house are six tapestries from the late 17th century, depicting scenes from “Jerusalem Delivered” alongside the narrative of Godfrey of Bouillon and the First Crusade. These works, bordered in the distinctive style of Felletin workshops, alongside one tapestry from Aubusson, add a textual dimension to the cloister’s historical narrative.The Saint-Trophime Cloister stands as a testament to the architectural and artistic endeavors of medieval Arles, capturing the religious, cultural, and historical essence of the region.

The Saint-Trophime Cloister appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting Arles!

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Visiting Saint-Trophime Cloister


From 01/03 to 30/04, daily between 9 am and 6 pm.

From 01/05 to 30/09, daily between 9 am and 7 pm.

From 01/10 to 31/10, daily between 9 am and 6 pm.

From 02/11 to 01/03, daily between 10.30 am and 4.30 pm.

Closed exceptionally on May 1st., January 1st and December 25th.

Last entry 16h.


Full price: 6 € Reduced price: 5 €.

Address: Cloître Saint-Trophime, Rue du Cloître, Arles, France
Duration: 40 minutes

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