The District of la Roquette
Arles - Cultural place
This district dates back to the Middle Ages and was for a long time the favourite district of mariners; the La Roquette district remains one of the most attractive in town.
Its original urban herringbone layout features attractive narrow and sometimes raised houses between the Quai du Rhône and the Boulevard Clemenceau. The façades with their many architectural decorations and the niches which adorn the street corners, attract the eyes and encourage visitors to take their time.
The district was also brought to life by artisans and traders, and was the home of a number of large families who have left us their beautiful private mansions.
Following a decline caused by the disappearance of the shipping industry in the 19th century, the district has now been spectacularly redeveloped (La Roquette is in the protected area) and the installation of shops and businesses in the eastern part has given it a new lease of life.
Its 2006 population of 2,427 is a result of the district's distant and recent past and is particularly heterogeneous: social classes, generations and cultural origins come together to give a real village feel.
Remains of the 16th century rampart
After the troubled decline of the Early Middle Ages, Arles experienced a period of renaissance from the 10th century which gradually led it to spreading beyond its walls. In the first half of the 12th century a veritable district, the Vieux-Bourg, arose in the south-east of the town; it is now known as La Roquette.
Its seigniory belonged to the Porcelet family, whose fortress was on the current Place Antonelle.
With its ovens, its mills, its churches and a boat for crossing the river, it rapidly became a very distinct entity from the original districts of the Roman colony. The new district soon had its own ramparts. From 1250, La Roquette became part of a new enclosed area with the other districts of the town.
During the Revolution, latent antagonism gave way to intense confrontation between La Roquette, a district of Revolutionaries, and the other districts, particularly that of L'Hauture, which was populated by Royalists. The town's first Mayor, Pierre-Antoine Antonelle (1790), came from the La Roquette district. A certain degree of rivalry remained in the life of the commune until the First World War.
Until the middle of the 19th century and the arrival of the railway, river-based activities ensured the livelihood of the district, which also housed a number of artisans, traders and smallholders.
La Roquette lost its vitality in the 20th century and welcomed a number of new arrivals during different waves of immigration. Over the last few decades, the district has managed to retain its identity, whilst once again finding a place in the urban fabric of Arles.
Information provided by OT Arles
- 04 90 18 41 20
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