The Wild Camargue in Mediterranean France

Fishing Boats on the beach at Saintes-Maries

Fishing Boats on the beach at Saintes-Maries (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Van Gogh lived in nearby Arles

The Camargue is the ‘wild west’ of France, located on the vast Rhone River delta is in the south central part of France, nestled against the Mediterranean Sea, and is the home of the largest nature reserve in the country. The coastal marsh is home to herds of wild horses , long-horned bulls, and flocks of Great Flamingos (you can see a ‘flock’ of one in my picture), and it is the home of cowboys – gardians – ranchers, and fishermen. Summer is a time of bullfights (unlike Spanish bullfights, the animals are not harmed or killed) and parades of horses through the village streets. Here, you can see over 300 species of birds, making it a popular birdwatcher’s destination, as well.

A flock of one

Speaking of lunch: The village is bright and sunny. There was a large flea market the day of our visit, which we avoided. We ended up grabbing a light lunch at a counter location, sandwiches and beer, but noticed that there were plenty of restaurants, most featuring seafood. After my trip, I read some more on the little village of Les

Camargue wild horses. Credit: apetcher.wordpress.com

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, which I posted about here, and found that the town is mainly for tourists and the occasional Roma (Gypsy) religious procession and that, in fact, there has not been a birth in the town since 1985. It’s sort of a French Coney Island without the amusement parks.

This area is one of several in coastal France that produces the delicate fleur-de-sel salts, as well. I like to have a variety of salts, so it was fun to have salts from places I’ve visited. (Sort of like my Starbucks City Mug collection!)

When you travel, you will get more from your trip if you try to see unusual things, and while you may want to visit the Eiffel Tower or the London Bridge, you should try to make time for things that are different and less traveled.



Categories: Travel

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4 replies

  1. A wonderful post. All the years of my childhood, my parents had a print of that particular Van Gogh in their bedroom, and I had a visceral response to seeing again!

  2. We spent a week in Aigues Mortes about 5 years ago. Wonderful part of France – loved the wildlife – we got quite blasé about the flamingos towards the end!

  3. Now that’s a place I would love to see!

  4. When we were growing up my sister had an annual all about the Camargue Horses we used to daydream about going there and the horses coming over to us and letting us ride them 😀

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