Disappointing Remains of a Once-grand Roman Theatre

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by Liam Hetherington on July 13, 2008

Just south of the Arena, through Place Henri Bornier, sits the earlier Roman theatre. This was once a massive edifice when first constructed in the 1st century BC. It was also lavishly decorated. The Venus of Arles that once graced it now resides in the Louvre, though a copy is in the Musée de l'Arles Antique, along with the theatre's statues of dancers and the Emperor Augustus. Once it would have rivalled the theatre upstream in Orange. Once it sat 10,000 people. Today however this theatre is but a shadow of its former self. Used for masonry by later generations of townsfolk, or just built over, its adornments spirited away to museums, all that remains now is a shallow saucer with only two tiers of seating. Only two columns remain in situ. It is still in use (a poster stated that Massive Attack would be playing there in a couple of weeks!). Rigging and a projector screen obscured the view of the stage when I visited. Workmen's dust filled the air in gritty clouds.

The theatre is open 9am to 6pm in summer. Entrance is €3.00, or covered by one of the two passes in town. The Pass Romain is €9.00 and gives access to Arena, Theatre, Thermes and Alyscamps. The Pass Monuments (€13.50, or €12.00 for concessions) covers the above, and also the Cloisters of St Trophime, and the Museés Réattu and Arlatan. However, you can see most of the theatre by peering through the railings outside. It is really not worth paying to enter in my opionion.
Arles Roman Theater
South East Corner Of Town
Arles, France


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