Roman Champs Elysee

The remains of a  Roman necropolis lie just outside the old town of Arles. Roman graves were positioned along the Aurelian Way to the east of the Roman city. What remains for viewing now is but a small version of the original.

Alyscamps,  Arles,  France,  August 2016

Known as Alyscamps, Provençal for Champs Elysées, it was Arles’ main burial ground for nearly 1,500 years.  The St. Honorat Priory was added to the site in the  eleventh century, making it a more prestigious place to be buried.  It became a top choice for burial across Europe, with filled coffins arriving along the Rhône.

The Alyscamps continued to be used well into medieval times, although the removal in 1152 of Saint Trophime’s relics to the new cathedral, named after him, reduced its prestige.  The necropolis suffered further over time, with looting and pillaging.  Burial stones were taken for building material and city councillors donated sarcophagi to distinguished visitors.  Further damage came in the form of a railway and a canal in the 19th century.


In late 1888 the site received some new and well-remembered attention.  Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin chose the Alyscamps as the first site for their painting side by side project.


Alyscamps has now been somewhat restored and is a good place for a quiet wander away from hordes of tourists.

Practical: a short walk from town; full price ticket €3.50, or buy a pass for 4 monuments and 1 museum for €11.00 (2016 prices)


aDSC_0636_ppCopyright Debbie Smyth, 2 November 2016



Part of Thursday Special


12 thoughts on “Roman Champs Elysee

  1. What would our civilisation look like if it weren’t for ancient Romans!
    I can’t believe that you produced this post in such a short time slot 😉 Amazing, Debbie. I had no idea of its existence which is hardly surprising, but am marveled at how well Alyscamp is preserved. You have shown me a real treasure that has moved Arles as a destination to visit close to the first place in my list. 🙂


    1. Ah, I had seen it was Traces of the Past coming up, so I’d already given it some thought!

      Yes, a great place to go – loads to see and do and Camargue nearby 🙂

      On Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 7:09 AM, Travel with Intent wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they have done a decent job at tidying, but it’s a shame it’s so hemmed in by modern life! I was trying to take a photo to mimic Van Gogh, but there are too many high walls around.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I had spent time in France – so many interesting places to visit. Oh, well, it is no hardship travelling vicariously with you Debbie 🙂


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