The Camargue France
The Camargue France beckons us. Here you can enjoy nature. We go on one of the Camargue Tours to the Provence on our River cruise along the Rhone. It is the southernmost region on ours France Travel. It doesn't go any further. At Les Saintes Maries de la Mer we look out over sandy beaches and the vastness of the Mediterranean. In the Camargue, the Rhone flows into the sea in a huge delta. We leave our ship on the banks of the Rhone in Arles. From there we set off on a half-day jeep safari through the marshland in the mouth of the Rhone delta. A landscape full of ponds, canals and lagoons stretches between the Petit Rhone and the Grand Rhone. Holidays in the Camargue France shows the south of the country from an unusual perspective.
In between, we keep seeing thatched huts on the pastures. "These were the traditional huts of the bull keepers," explains our guide Michel in English. His French accent sweetened the explanations in English. He loves his home and shows us with enthusiasm. "The bull keepers were rough fellows," he laughs. “It was often very busy in these huts. The alcohol lifted the mood. As the hour increased, the evening could sometimes end in scuffles. ”Today, the huts are hardly used anymore.
Wildlife of the Camargue France
In between we discover rice fields, grape vines. As we get closer to the sea, bulls, white horses and flamingos are increasingly appearing. Since our tour mainly leads on side roads and gravel paths of the Camargue, the other species are more difficult to identify from the jeep. The rough roads with their potholes shake us through and prevent a clear view. Only when we stop, we recognize avocets and little egrets. In addition, there are a variety of songbirds, which feel comfortable in the bushes, which lines our way along barely traveled gravel roads.
Michel says that global warming is already noticeable in the region's bird life. “In the past, the storks moved from here to the south in winter. They spent the cold season in southern Africa. Today they stay here during the winter months, ”he explains, pointing to photos in his bird identification book. "Like many other migratory birds."
The pink flamingos gather in the Camargue to raise their young. However, we are still here too early in the year to see the offspring.
The white Camargue horses
White horses are probably one of the most striking animal species in the region. Although they are often called wild, they are not. The horses are used by the bull breeders of the region in dealing with the bulls. I am amazed how small this breed of horse is. When I asked whether the horses' use of the bulls was not dangerous for the animals, Michel explains: "They know how to approach the bulls and the bulls are used to them." Apparently it hardly happens that they are injured while working with the bulls. I particularly notice how gentle this horse breed is. As soon as we stop at a paddock, they come to us curiously and even eat fresh carrots from our hands.
The bulls of Camargue France
The bulls spend most of their lives on the pastures of the marshy plains in the Rhone Delta. They are bred for the Course Camarguaise, the local type of bullfighting. This is different from the Spanish bullfight, in which the bull is killed. In the arenas of Arles or Nimes, it is usually bloodless, at least as long as the Tourneur is adept enough. His job is to wrest the band a tape between the horns. The more skilful and faster he is, the more successful he is.
A Tournur can win high prize money per fight. A bull brings his breeder to the 10.000 Euro pro fight. Good bulls are sent to the arena up to eight times a year. They spend the rest of their lives in the pasture. Bulls can reach an age of more than 20 years. Usually they are not sent to fight after their fifteenth year. If a bull proves to be willing to fight, he gains a special reputation. Famous bulls are after their natural death even in magnificent tombs.
At the Camargue beach
Some of the most successful bulls have even had statues erected in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. We immediately notice these when entering the village. Before that, however, we pass the kilometers long Sandy beaches on the Mediterranean coast. Here you can walk for hours along the sea (den backpack don't forget) or cool off from the heat of the day in summer. However, we are still too early in the year for that. We enjoy the view of the vastness of the Mediterranean Sea and let the fresh breeze blow our noses. If you are planning a beach holiday in the Camargue yourself, you will find one here Checklist fürs Case Pack.
Les Saintes Maries de la Mer in the Camargue in France
We are off season in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. On the streets we see only a few other tourists who, like us, stroll past the cafes. One of the most striking buildings we see is the arena. In front are statues of two famous bulls. Garlan and Vovo, who could not be stopped by wooden walls and broke them again and again. Passing the roundabout, you come to the town hall and the Place des Gitans, the place of the Gypsies. However, we do not meet any during our stay. Instead, we observe a group of men spending their time playing boules.
Marian pilgrimage and pilgrimage of the gypsies
Les Saintes Maries de la Mer has more than 2500 inhabitants. In the summer, this number is swelling to more than 50000 people, as the place is a popular holiday destination. He is also famous for his Marian pilgrimage and especially for the pilgrimage of the Gitanes to the Black Sarah. This is the patron saint of gypsies. In May they celebrate this with one of the biggest ferias. On the 24. Every May a procession from the church to the sea takes place. The believers carry the statue of the Black Sarah. However, caution is advised among the visitors. Celebrations like this attract many pickpockets. We are also warned to take care of our bags.
Since we are in the preseason, the interest in our purses and bags but apparently not so big. And the place also gives the impression of a rather sleepy small town. I do not want to be here for holidays. Since I can well imagine that the numerous cafes and souvenir shops create hubbub in the city. I prefer the quiet salt marshes in the nearby national park. There we meet again the elegant flamingos.
Our conclusion: Holidays in the Camargue France are something special
We actually knew it beforehand. The Camargue is a special place. If not quite as original as we imagined it to be. There are already too many agricultural areas in the outskirts of the Camargue. Rice is grown there. Rows of grapevines stretch along the road that leads us here from Arles. We even see a nightclub on the roadside. However, it is now closed again. "Because the owner was shot by the mafia," Michel explains.
Nevertheless, holidays in the Camargue France are something special. However, the closer we get to the sea, the more the Camargue shows its original character. White horses appear along the road. Bulls chew the hay with relish in their pastures. Spoonbills, storks and herons turn their circles over our heads. And the sound of the sea lures us to the water. Finally, in the Camargue National Park, we also find flamingos that fish for their food from the water in the shallow pools. This is the Camargue we were looking for.
To experience them, you have to get away from the paved thoroughfares. We are glad that we cross it by jeep. In the air-conditioned bus, which is only on the tar roads, it is perhaps more comfortable to drive through the region. Whether you experience them as intense as we do on these Camargue Tours, I doubt it. Michel knows where the animals are. He shows us with enthusiasm and gives us his love for the nature of his homeland. So we experience the swamps in the Rhone Delta, as we had hoped for. Do you want to experience such a four-wheel drive in the Camarque, then you will find this here*.
Camargue impressions of travel bloggers
You can find more reports from travel bloggers here:
- Nicole von Freibeuter Reisen was in the rhone delta
- Gabi Reichert describes her visit to Ste. Marie de la Mer
- Or do you like reading crime novels? We have a collection with Provence crime novels compiled.
- Have you ever had that? Provence dishes tried?
You can fly to Nîmes-Arles-Camargue / Garons via Paris. From there you can continue by rental car or by bus via Arles. Arles can also be reached by train: Timetable and booking*. The Camargue itself cannot be reached by train. From Arles, the bus (line 20) continues to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer or line AGGLO10 to Salin-de-Giraud / Plage Piémenson. Or you do it like we do and book an excursion on one River cruise on the Rhone*.
Organized tours Camargue France
Alternatively, you can Book excursions to the Camargue here*
Accommodation in the Camargue France
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Text vacation in the Camarque France: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos vacation in the Camarque France: © Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video vacation in Camarque France: © Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline