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Tarascon travel guide

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Visit Tarascon (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France)

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Tarascon is a pleasant Provencal town situated between Arles and Avignon. While Tarascon is not the most visited town in Provence, the combination of church, caste and historic town centre make it enjoyable to explore.

Explore Tarascon

When you arrive in Tarascon the first thing you see is the Chateau de Tarascon, a medieval chateau that dominates the town centre and has been built on the remains of a Roman castrum. The current chateau dates back to the 15th century. It is a very sturdy looking castle with crenelated walls and towers on the banks of the River Rhone.

Inside the castle you can see the Royal apartments, where the highlights are several tapestries and the graffiti carved into the walls when the castle was used as a prison (until 1826) - some of it is very detailed.

Tarascon castle

After admiring the castle you can enter the town itself and explore the narrow streets which open up onto sunny squares filled with flowers, large plane trees and quite a number of Chusan palms adding an exotic touch. The square outside the tourist office is a nice example.

The Collegiale Church of St Martha is a striking church on the edge of town, near the castle. It is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles. Wander round the back where there are some circular roofs next to a buttress and various decorated spires - this is my favourite view of the church. Inside you can see the tomb of the saint.

The Cloister of the Cordeliers is a lovely renaissance cloister built by a Franciscan Order of Monks, the order of the Cordeliers, so named for the three knots they tied in their ‘belt’. Before the French Revolution there were as many as fifteen religious communities in Tarascon and so there are quite a number of other religious buildings to visit here.

Some of the original ramparts still exist and also two of the three main gates. The Porte Condamine is particularly impressive and looks like a small castle. There were also originally four secondary gates and the Jarnegues gate still exists. Originally this was just a small gate through a tower but it was enlarged in 1646. You should also take a look at the 17th century Town Hall which has a balcony and a carved facade.

Tarascon like many Provencal towns has a large open square shaded by plane trees. Market day is Tuesday morning, with an organic market on Friday mornings.

There are also two museums in Tarascon although both are quite specialised: the Museum Souleiado is dedicated to the history of textiles in the town and the Museum de Tartarin is dedicated to the character Tartarin, from a popular character in Provencal literature.

Church of Saint-Martha in Tarascon

Attractions nearby

You are spoiled for choice in the region around Tarascon if you enjoy exploring traditional provencal towns with Nimes to the west, Avignon to the north-east and Arles to the south. Another highly recommended trip is to one of our favourite French villages to the west of Tarascon at Baux-de-Provence.

You can find more travel ideas in the Bouches-du-Rhone guide and the Provence guide.

See also: 

Photos of Tarascon

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Map of Tarascon and places nearby

Visit near Tarascon with France This Way reviews

Chateau de Tarascon

Chateau de Tarascon

The Chateau de Tarascon is an imposing 15th century castle on the banks of the Rhone

Chateau de Tarascon guide
Beaucaire

Beaucaire

Beaucaire is well situtaed for exploring the popular towns of Arles, Nimes and Avignon

Beaucaire guide
Fontvieille

Fontvieille

This town near Arles has a small historic centre to explore when you are passing

Fontvieille guide
Carrières de Lumières in Baux-de-Provence

Carrières de Lumières in Baux-de-Provence

The Carrieres de Lumieres is a sound and light spectacle based around famous artists works, in the village of Les Baux-de-Provence

Carrières de Lumières in Baux-de-Provence guide
Baux-de-Provence

Baux-de-Provence

The village of Baux-de-Provence is small but exceptionally picturesque, and has beautiful views across the Provencal countryside. Unmissable!

Baux-de-Provence guide
Château des Baux-de-Provence

Château des Baux-de-Provence

The Château des Baux-de-Provence is a remarkable ruined castle above the village of Les Baux-de-Provence, with amazing views across the Alpilles

Château des Baux-de-Provence guide

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Bouches-du-Rhone

Address: Tarascon, Arles, Provence, 13150, France || GPS coordinates: latitude 43.8058, longitude 4.66028

Plan your visit to Tarascon, Bouches-du-Rhone

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Beaucaire: recommended detour
  • Jardin aquatique « Aux fleurs de l'eau: remarkable garden (10 km)
  • Abbaye Notre Dame de Montmajour (Arles): religious monument (11 km)
  • Montmajour Abbey: national monument (11 km)
  • Baux-de-Provence: most beautiful village (13 km)
  • Glanum: national monument (14 km)
  • Arles: secteur sauvegarde (14 km)
  • Roman Arles: heritage site (14 km)
  • Eglise et cloitres de Saint Trophime, Eglise de Saint-Honorat des Alycamps (Arles): religious monument (15 km)
  • Alpilles: regional natural parc (15 km)
  • Arles église St Honorat (monuments on French pilgrim routes): heritage site (15 km)
  • Pont du Gard: grand site of france (19 km)

The French version of this page is at Tarascon (Francais)

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