|Three towns have been identified as potential
sites for a TLN Study Center in France:
|Menton in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region (pop. 28,833)
|Copyright © 2012-2014
James Emil Flege
|Study in all four
Learning vacations for adults in France
|Narbonne in the Languedoc-Roussillon
region (pop. 52,252)
|Arles in Bouches-du-Rhône (formerly Provence (pop. 52,729)
|More than a tour - travel learning vacations in France
In the time of Julius Cesar, former Roman soldiers settled in the area, the town became a Roman
provincial capital, and important public buildings were constructed.
After the fall of Rome, the town because the capital of a Visigothic province, one of the few non-Frankish
enclaves in the region. In 719, the town was annexed to the Emirate of Cordoba, but was conquered by
Pepin the Short in 759 who invited Jews from Western Europe to settle there. By the 12th century,
Narbonne had become an important center of culture and learning, as well as center of Jewish learning
In the 14th century Narbonne began to decline for a number of reasons, one being the change in the
course of the Aude River. (Once cause for this was the destruction of a dam built by the Romans by a
flood in 1320. The imposing Cathedral of Narbonne, one of the tallest in France, was never finished
owing to financial difficulties and the bubonic plague. The Canal de la Robine was constructed in the
16th century to reestablish access to the sea. However, the importance of the canal system was
superseded by a rapidly developing rail network in the 19th century. Fortunately, by then the wine
industry had developed to compensate for losses in the commerce and transportation sectors.
Narbonne is a town in southern France,
located528 miles from Paris. It was an
important Roman port but is not located nearly
10 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It
is linked to the Canal du Midi and the Aude
River by a small canal, the Canal de la Robin,
which runs through the center of the town.
Greek traders originally founded the town in
the 5th century BC. The Romans built a city
they called Narbo Martius in 118 BC, along a
strategic Roman consular road, the Via
Domitia, that linked Rome to the important
Roman colonies in Spain.
Arles is a city of southern France located in Provence. The Camargue delta results from a forking of the
Rhone river just upstream of Arles The surface area of the city is the largest in France because a large
part of the Camargue is located within the city limits. The city has a long and rich history, especially
during the Roman era. It is due largely due to important Roman era monuments that Arles became a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. The Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh lived in Arles for nearly two
years (1888–1889), producing over 300 drawings and paintings. An important international photography
festival held yearly.
The first to settle the area around Arles were the Ligurians (800 BC), followed by the Phonicians. The
Romans captured the town in 123 BC, expanding it into an important port linked to the Mediterranean by
a canal constructed in 104 BC. The town sided with Julius Caesar in his struggle against Pompey, and
was awarded control of nearby Massalia (Marseilles) when Caesar prevailed, becoming the most
important town in the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis.
The Romans build an amphitheater, a triumphal arch, a circus, military fortifications, and a theatre and a
major bridge over the Rhone. The city reached a peak of influence during the 4th and 5th centuries,
when Roman Emperors frequently used it as their headquarters during military campaigns. In 395 it
became the seat of the Praetorian Prefecture, governing the western part of the Western Empire. Arles
was the favorite city of Emperor Constantine I, who built baths that remain to this day, and whose
son Constantine II was born in Arles.
Arles became an important cultural and religious center in the late Roman Empire, and the seat of an
important Roman Catholic bishopric. The Catholic bishops appointed by Rome came into conflict with
later Visigoth kings who were Arians. Priscillian became the first Christian ever executed for heresy
In 735, Charles Martel established power, and in 855 Arles became the capital of Frankish kingdom of
Arles, and over the next century, Arles was incorporated into the growing Kingdom of France. In the 12th
Century, Arles became a free city, and retained this status until the French Revolution (1789).