La Camargue, a coastal treasure full of beautiful wildlife.
Camargue is certainly a worthwhile region to explore! It is a one-of-a-kind place in France divided between the land and the sea. Covered in ponds and salt marshes, this region is home to wild fauna, including: pink flamingos, wild white horses, black bulls, and many more. Attracting cyclists, hikers, and horseback riding fans; there are numerous choices for you to discover this region that is full of life!
HOW TO GET THERE
Located on the Mediterranean coast, Camargue is vast. Paved with numerous country roads, lakes, and canals; we recommend driving there either by car or an RV. It is the most cost-effective and quickest solution if there are at least two travelers.
If you prefer the train, the fastest route would be Paris-Arles which is a four-hour train ride, however, from Arles to Camargue, you will need to rent a car.
The Camargue region will not disappoint you in landscapes, since every inch of it is guaranteed to amaze you. Nevertheless, here are the three things you must see.
Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue
Mas de la Capelière - c134, Route de Fielouse, 13200 Arles
Did you know the pink flamingo owes its color to a shrimp specie named “Artemia Salina” which they eat? Come and discover the numerous wildlife that inhabit this region, including: the 276 bird species. A true safe haven for the animals, this park covers more than 13,000 hectares and is one of the largest wetlands reserves in Europe. Created in 1927, this reserve has the power to make you feel as though you are alone in the world while being at the heart of nature. We suggest coming at the end of the summer as more than 34,000 pink flamingos reside there.
Plage de l’Espiguette
Route de l'Espiguette, 30240 Le Grau du Roi
Alert to wilderness lovers!!
Picture this: endless white sand in harmony with the crashing blue waves. A true postcard! The Espiguette Beach is located near the little town of Grau du Roi. It is the wildest beach in the Gard department and extends over 18 km. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in France. Devoid of tourists, it resembles a desert due to its white palette and tall dunes. Since the beach is a protected site, there are no buildings, roads or shops which enhances its allure. The wild setting is the perfect place to go kitesurfing, horseback riding or simply walking. We guarantee an escape and a change of scenery!
Manade Jullian, or a bull farm
Mas Saint Pierre, route d’Aigues-Mortes 30220 Aigues-Mortes
You cannot come to Camargue and not visit a bull farm. Built in 1978, the Jullian bull farm is another great way to discover the wildlife of this region. On the itinerary: a unique experience! The “cowboys” are deeply passionate and do not hesitate to answer your questions. They offer a range of activities to unveil the Camargue traditions. There are two options in order to visit the bulls: a simple carriage-drawn ride in the middle of the herd, or a carriage tour, as well as a herd gathering demonstration. After this experience, you can enjoy a meal in their restaurant overlooking the bulls.
Explore and learn about these magnificent Camargue creatures in complete safety.
In this region, the restaurants are charming and animated. The Camargue typical dishes are offered at accessible price points and are full of flavor. Here are our favorite restaurants you will need to discover.
Le Dit Vin
6 Rue du 4 Septembre 30220 Aigues-Mortes
This intimate little spot is the place to taste typical dishes and wines of the Camargue region. Located in the center of Aigues-Mortes, Le Dit Vin is run by a young staff who welcomes you pleasantly. Chef Johan Esteve’s dishes reflect upon his southern native roots. Imaginative, fresh, and light; the dishes are prepared with great precision while highlighting simplicity. To enhance the flavors, add some great bottles of wine from its old wine cellar and that’s it! Decoration side, le Dit vin is at the heart of an old building which gives it a charming ambiance. Come and enjoy a palatable meal on its interior patio.
16, rue Amiral Courbet, 30220 Aigues-Mortes
Chef Philippe Alarcon welcomes you in his little bistro with a high-quality cuisine, paired with reasonable prices. Two words best describe this little paradise: typical and local. With its unique bull-oriented decoration, Le Duende is a place full of surprises! It is a classic Camargue restaurant set in a Zen and friendly atmosphere. If you want to discover the real Camargue, we strongly advise you to go, and eat there.
Homemade and using only local products, the dishes effortlessly embody this beautiful region. It is the ideal place to taste the Camargue specialty: La gardiane de taureaux, a mix of marinated bull meat and red wine.
10 Boulevard Georges Clemenceau, 13200 Arles
This is the golden address! Situated in the middle of old Arles, La Comedie harmoniously mixes both food and wine! A young couple runs this small restaurant: a chef, and a wine specialist (the perfect combo!) They offer a homemade, local, and inventive cuisine. The menu may be short, but we promise that you will have a hard time choosing between all the savory dishes. This bistro is worthy of a gourmet restaurant, however, the simplicity of this place is comforting. While eating dishes, such as: gardiane de taureaux, homemade pasta, razor clams, and many more; you can either enjoy the terrace on a sunny day or stay in. Aside from the great cuisine, La Comedie is known for its impressive wine collection. Every dish is accompanied by a thoroughly chosen wine. To prolong the pleasure, you have the possibility to buy the wine bottles and take them home.
There are numerous hotels and bed and breakfasts. To visit everything there is to see in Camargue, we suggest staying in Arles since it’s the closest town to the National Reserve Park. If you prefer to be by the sea, then Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is a great option! Here is our selection of the best lodgings in the Camargue.
Les Petits Cherri
45 rue du 19 Mars 1962, 30220 ST LAURENT D'AIGOUZE
This beautiful bed and breakfast is set in a little town near Aigues-Mortes. Former carpentry, les Petits Cherri is a must. Composed of many little houses, you can choose which house or room you desire, depending on how many people you’re traveling with. The rooms are luminous, fully equipped, and impeccable. Patrick – the inn keeper – transmits his passion for his territory through food and conversations. You will definitely learn a lot while there! Able to house up to 70 people, this b&b is perfect for family or group vacations. There is the possibility for everyone to stay independently while getting together for excursions or dinners. Camargue is a very magical place, and this cottage certainly underlines it.
5 Rue Porte de Laure, 13200 Arles
Between the historic theatre and amphitheater in Arles, lies the Calendal Hotel. Set in a 17th century edifice, it is the ideal place to stay at if you wish to visit Arles by foot. The hotel offers 38 contemporary and spacious rooms. One of the key attractions is its spa, inspired by the Roman baths. Come and relax in this antique-vaulted room, overlooking the amphitheater. The hotel has another asset: its magnificent garden. It is immensely popular due to its relaxing atmosphere and vegetation. The perfect spot to decompress after having visited the town! With its restaurant and luxurious spa, this is our recommendation for a high-end stay in Camargue!
Mas de la Fouque
D38 Route du Petit, 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
This four-star hotel is located between the Camargue Regional Park and the white-sand beaches. Le Mas de la Fouque Hotel is set in a peaceful atmosphere where nature rules, in total tranquility. You can admire the wild fauna from the windows, as swans, wild ducks, and horses also contribute to this setting. Each room is uniquely decorated with its own terrace overlooking the pool or the ponds. Either way, a great view!! Apart from its ideal location, the hotel has many advantages, including: a jacuzzi, a gym, a sauna, a pool (interior and exterior,) a spa…and more. For the adventures, Le Mas de la Fouque hotel offers a list of activities, such as: a horse ride throughout the region, a safari, a visit to a bull farm, and many more. If you are lucky, you will even see a stand of flamingos flying over your head during the evening.
If you are thinking of exploring this region, you’re making the right choice! Here are a few tips you might find useful!
- The southeast of France is exposed to the Mistral Wind. Therefore, we suggest you bring a windbreaker as well as warm clothes for the evenings. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!
- In the Camargue, there are many mosquitoes during the day. You might want to bring a mosquito spray (just in case!) Moreover, the sun is quite strong during the day so do not forget your sunscreen or your hat! It would be a shame to get a sunburn!
Eve stayed two months in the Camargue region.