Accommodation in Provence’s UNESCO World Heritage Villages
Thanks to its magnificent history and having spearheaded several artistic and cultural movements, France has several World Heritage Sites.
In this article, we will tell you about the best hotels to stay in Provence’s UNESCO World Heritage villages and why you should do it.
Arles is located on the Rhone River in Provence, France. The beauty of this village inspired several works by Van Gogh, which can be seen at the Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most important recommended visits to do in Arles.
But Arles is not only beautiful, but it is also historic. In fact, it was the provincial capital of ancient Rome. So among the main attractions of Arles are the ruins of that time.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important ruins of Arles.
Amphitheater Arènes d’Arles
This monument is not only still standing, but it looks amazing. It can accommodate 20,000 spectators and is built with 120 arches distributed on two floors.
In ancient Rome, it was used for spectacles with races and gladiator fights. Nowadays, bullfights and recreations of the old Roman fights take place during the Arelate Festival.
You will be able to see something unusual in an amphitheater: defensive towers. During the Middle Ages, the building was used as a military fortress.
Théâtre Antique d’Arles
Unfortunately, it is not as well preserved as the amphitheater, but this ancient Roman theater inspires admiration.
Two Corinthian columns made of marble and a large part of the tribune, where up to 10,000 people used to enter, can still be seen.
During the Arelate Festival, sports and theatrical exhibitions are held.
The Cryptoportiques are the base, i.e., the invisible part of the Forum, which was the central public square of the ancient Roman city. Today the galleries pass under Place de la Republique.
They were one of the first constructions of the Roman colony, founded in 46 BC.
To visit the 350 meters of the vaulted subway galleries, you must enter through the Arles Town Hall.
Today you can see it in the place de la Republique, but it was originally located in an ancient Roman circus near the Musée départemental Arlés Antique.
It was built in the 4th century, but when the circus was abandoned, the obelisk fell and broke into two parts. So it was rebuilt in 1676. It is about 20 meters high and is made of red granite from Asia.
Thermes de Constantin
Their name is because they were made in the 4th century, during the rule of Emperor Constantine. The baths were located between the Rhone River and the city’s Forum.
The Baths of Constantine, like the rest of the ruins of Arles, are considered a World Heritage Site.
At present, several remains remain, such as the hot room and some walls of the temperate room. This allows us to admire the typical Roman architecture for this type of construction.
Where to Stay in Arles, Provence
Arles is a good idea if you are looking for accommodation in Provence to visit World Heritage Sites, so we recommend some hotels.
Brit Hotel Acacias
This 3-star hotel has an excellent location, just three blocks from Arles’s arena and close to the train station. It also has a terrace with a great view of the city.
It has all the amenities you would expect from a 3-star hotel, with comfortable and well-appointed rooms. Every day offers a buffet or vegetarian breakfast, and the hotel also has a bar for its guests. Brit Hotel also has a bar for its guests.
It has different room options, including a quadruple room for those traveling in Provence as a family.
Hotel Spa Le Calendal
If you are looking for something more sophisticated to stay in during your visit to Arles, we recommend the Le Calendal Spa.
The hotel is housed in a 17th-century building, and the rooms are decorated in the traditional Provençal style.
Hotel guests have free access to the spa, so you can relax at your leisure after visiting the Roman ruins.
In addition, the hotel has a restaurant that operates throughout the day, where you can order anything from light meals such as sandwiches to elaborate winter dishes.
And if you are looking for a good location, the Hotel Spa Le Calendal is just 200 meters from the amphitheater of Arles. So we can say it is accommodation close to a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Maybe if someone tells you about Avignon, you think of the Avignon Bridge and the catchy nursery rhyme.
And yes, there is indeed a bridge in this town, and it is one of the attractions you should know if you are looking for accommodation in one of the World Heritage towns in Provence.
However, Avignon is not famous for its bridge but for being the City of Popes. You will understand why.
The Papal Palace
The Palais des Papes is the symbol and main attraction of Avignon. During the 14th century, the popes did not reside in Rome but this village. Seven popes and two anti-popes lived here.
The Palace of the Popes is considered the largest Gothic building in the world. Its size and history make it worth several hours.
The cathedral of Notre-Dame des Doms
This huge church is next to the Palace of the Popes and is built in a Provençal Romanesque style, so you can admire and compare both styles.
The cathedral is crowned with a gilded lead statue of the Virgin, which you can see from many blocks away.
The Little Palace of Avignon
This building is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that you can visit in Avignon.
It was built in the early 14th century as a cardinal’s residence. Within its long history, it was bombed during the Western Schism and was left in ruins. It was later restored and enlarged several times.
Today it functions as a museum housing an impressive collection of art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, with some 400 paintings and more than 600 sculptures.
The Best Accommodations in Avignon
We recommend some hotels where you can stay near the World Heritage Sites in Avignon.
Le Magnan has an excellent price-quality ratio and a perfect location, as it is within the historic center of Avignon. In fact, it is a 10-minute walk from the Palace of the Popes. It is also close to other attractions and many restaurants.
The hotel has a beautiful courtyard, where you can have breakfast in the summer. Uh, the breakfast is tremendous. Also, the bakery products they offer are spectacular.
The rooms overlook the garden and are very comfortable.
Bastide de Bellegarde
If you are looking for a hotel in World Heritage villages in Provence and would like to live the experience of staying in a mansion, this is your best option.
The Bastide de Bellegarde is located on Barthelass, the largest European river island.
So it is far from the main attractions of Avignon, but at the same time, its location is one of the things most enjoyed by its guests because of the hotel’s environment.
The entrance is along a path lined with century-old plane trees, and the view of the mansion and its fountain and pool will take your breath away.
The decoration and architecture of the Bastide are a real luxury. The hotel has several suites, all decorated in olive color with pastel shades. Each of these suites is uniquely decorated, seeking to help guests relax.
Orange is another World Heritage village in Provence where you could look for accommodation. We will tell you what the main attractions that make Orange unique are.
Roman Theater of Orange
Built-in the 1st century BC, the theater of Orange is the best preserved Roman theater in the western Roman world.
Restoration work has been done, such as cementing the bleachers and roofing the stage area, but this was done to preserve the state of the theater, so you can see what the theater was like in ancient times.
The walls are almost intact, and you can even see the statue of an emperor.
Arc de Triomphe d’Orange
Although it is large, the most impressive thing about this arch is the level of detail used in the reliefs of its walls.
These reliefs show a scene with Gaulish captives acclaiming the power of Rome and are dedicated to the veterans of the Gallic Wars.
Although it is believed to have been built in the first century during the reign of Augustus, it was rebuilt by Emperor Tiberius, and an inscription dedicated to him can be read.
Where to stay in Orange
Orange is another World Heritage town that has good accommodation offers. These are our recommendations.
Grand Hotel d’Orange, BW Signature Collection
The Grand Hotel focuses on the details, and you will see that everything is very well designed and looks perfect. Even its restaurant’s dishes look like authentic gourmet dishes of Mediterranean cuisine.
You can enjoy a buffet breakfast in the dining room or hotel terrace.
The hotel is housed in an 18th-century building with an outdoor pool, a spa with hot tubs, a sauna, and a fitness center.
The location of the Grand Hotel is also excellent, as it is two blocks from the Roman Theater of Orange.
B&B Le Mas Julien heated swimming pool adult only
Although the rooms and the common areas of the B&B Le Mas Julien are beautiful, the exterior is what stands out the most. It is located in a rural setting, in the heart of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyard.
The building is a small 17th-century stone farmhouse.
It has a vast garden with a large swimming pool and solarium. You can sit and relax under the shade of its trees or take advantage of its solarium to get a tan. It also has another heated swimming pool that operates from March to November.
It has different types of accommodations. They can be double rooms or a cabin located in the country house.
An interesting thing about B&B Le Mas Julien is that it does not accept children under 16 years of age, which is why it is one of the favorite hotels for those traveling in Provence as a couple.
Marseille is on the list of World Heritage sites in Provence where you could stay. And it does so for a very different reason than the other towns. In Marseille, you can contemplate one of the works of the famous architect Le Corbusier.
Specifically, you will see the Cité Radieuse, also known as L’Unité d’Habitation de Marseille.
This building was constructed between 1947 and 1952. It is a huge collective housing block made of concrete.
Today it may seem like a typical building, but at the time, it was a break from the modern architecture that had been done up to that time.
The units sought to safeguard individual freedom (by having rooms) and the family nucleus (with common spaces for the whole family) and were based on the collective organization (that is why they were vertical communities).
In addition, if you tour Marseille, you can visit lavender fields, walk along the Old Bridge and stroll through La Vieille Charité.
Accommodation in Marseille
Here are some alternatives to staying in a UNESCO village in Provence.
AC Hotel by Marriott Marseille Prado Vélodrome
This hotel of the Marriott chain has all the amenities you could need for anyone visiting Marseille.
It has a restaurant and a bar offering excellent quality food. The rooms have a minibar and a coffee and tea set.
The hotel’s location is also excellent, as it is close to several attractions in Marseille.
Something else you will enjoy is its garden and swimming pool, ideal for those days when you prefer to spend a few hours at the hotel.
Maisons du Monde Hôtel & Suites – Marseille Vieux Port
If you are one of those who love details and enjoy good architecture and decoration, the Maisons du Monde hotel will blow your mind. The design of the hotel and each of the rooms are magnificent.
The rooms, besides being beautiful, are modern and comfortable. It is located in the center of Marseille and overlooks the Old Port.
The breakfast offered by the hotel is also of excellent quality.
Hôtel Maison Montgrand – Vieux Port
The hotel has different accommodations in 5 separate buildings, so it has rooms for all tastes.
It has 49 rooms and 13 apartments in the center of Marseille, 5 minutes from the Old Port. That location is excellent and is very close to most places you might be interested in visiting in Marseille.
The apartments have a kitchenette, a living room, and a small terrace. The hotel has a buffet breakfast daily, and the restaurant offers lunch from Monday to Saturday.
Plan Your Trip to Provence
- Spend a fairytale night in a Castle in Provence
- Romantic getaways in the South of France
- The most beautiful villages of Provence
- How to drive in the south of France
- 10-day itinerary in Provence
- What to do in October in the South of France