The cathedral and cloister of the Église St. Trophime in Arles are truly a must for anyone who appreciates art history and sacred spaces. The buildings were classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, a project on the Worlds Monument Fund, and recognized as a famous, sacred religious destination.
The architecture is stunning and the cathedral and cloister are filled with rich history having been built on the site of an 8th-century church dedicated to Saint Stephen. It is amazing to see how this structure was the focal point of the second largest city in Provence at one time.
The Cathedral was built in the 11th and 12th centuries, while the cloister was constructed in the second half of the 12th century and the first half of the 13th century to be used by the priests (Canons) who attended to the bishop and managed the church property. These Canons were required to live like monks, with a common dormitory, refectory and cloister within the cathedral enclosure, separated by a wall from the city.
Arles is one of my favorite towns on the coast of southern France and the Cloister of Saint Trophime is a hidden gem. When you visit Arles, definitely recommend meandering in and out of all the little streets, you never know what you may come across.