A summer at La Provence Culture in Arles

Follow this up with an exceptional cultural break in Arles. After being closed to the public for 11 years the Museon Arlaten, presenting the true culture of Provence, is again open following superb and meticulous renovation work led by the Bouches-du-Rhône department. One of the first museums of ethnography in France, it traces time in Provence, brimming with souvenirs and Provencal culture: traditional customs, rites, traditions, song, sculptures and paintings.

The museum presents a unique combination of major architectural features going back 2,000 years, with the remains of a Roman forum in the inner courtyard of this mansion that dates back to the late Middle-Ages, a 17th century Jesuit College chapel and museo-graphical features from the 20th and 21st century. An immersive contemporary experience with multimedia equipment to enable visitors to put the objects on exhibition into their original context. Ideal for children.

Another place worth discovering is the Maison de la Harpiste at the Departmental Arles Antique Museum. The outstanding wall paintings and thousands of decorative fragments that were discovered during the archaeological digs were all part of a luxurious Roman villa and reflect the enormous wealth of its owner. Pompei in Provence!

The museum’s archaeologists are currently trying to piece together this spectacular 2,000-year old puzzle. Their objective is to reconstruct the decor composed by the paintings and that is the only one of its kind in France. This long-term undertaking began in April and will continue into 2023. Then, the restorers will begin reproducing two rooms in the Maison de la Harpiste to restore the wall paintings that date back to the 1st century B.C and are the most complete ever discovered in France.

The museum will begin working on the frescos this May and a programme of visits, conferences and workshop for all ages is being prepared for the fabulous adventure to continue.