Every year the quiet and modest city of Arles is invaded by Les Rencontres d'Arles, one of the most important photography festivals in Europe. During three months, the streets and buildings of the city become an outdoor museum, with entire facades and venues in the city covered by stunning and striking images, signed by leading contemporary photographers. Since its foundation as a moment of meeting for a small group of artists and friends until the big event which it has become today, Les Rencontres d'Arles has burst into the life of the city, influencing not only its economy through the tourism that it generates, but also part of daily life and its architecture. In 2010 the festival celebrated its first foreign edition, which took place in China through a partnership with the Beijing Coachangdi Festival. A few weeks before the opening of the festival, Francois Hebel, director of Les Rencontres, introduces this year's edition, its main exhibitions and activities, and explains the reasons why this festival is so important for a city such as Arles.

Interview with François Hebel