The extraordinary nature of the Camargue

The extraordinary nature of the Camargue

The extraordinary nature of the Camargue

The extraordinary nature of the Camargue

The French Camargue is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhône delta, south of Arles. The western arm is known as the Petit Rhône, while the eastern arm is known as the Grand Rhône. 

Administratively, it is part of the Bouches-du-Rhône department, which includes the communes of Arles, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône and Marseille. Just west of the Petit Rhône, in the Gard department, is another area of marshy plain known as the Petite Camargue. 

On 1 December 1986, the Camargue was designated a Ramsar site as a "Wetland of International Importance". France has many beautiful regions but the extraordinary nature of the Camargue is famous. 

BirdLife International has designated the Camargue as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because it is home to over 400 different bird species.

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The best attractions in the Camargue

The Camargue has many better attractions, but here are a few discussed below:

The Arenas

Every major city in Roman Gaul had an amphitheatre where gladiators and wild creatures met their (often terrible) ends. Few examples have survived, although Arles has kept its coliseum largely intact, as has adjacent Nîmes. Built in 90 AD, the oval-shaped amphitheatre was 136 metres long, 107 metres wide and 21 metres high. 

It could accommodate 21,000 enthusiastic spectators. Although the building has suffered over the years, it is nevertheless a reminder of the power and skill of Roman civilisation. The north side is where you enter. 

Terraces, galleries and even the ancient Roman drainage system are still present, as is much of the original construction of the building. Although on a much smaller scale, the Roman Colosseum was the inspiration for its design. It is considered to be an extraordinary nature of the Camargue.

Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau

The Camargue is home to many flamingos, but it is also one of the best places to see the many other migratory and seasonal species that inhabit these wetlands. Depending on the season, you may see herons, storks, egrets, teals, swans. 

The reserve includes a care centre for sick and injured birds, as well as 7 km of trails that offer you every opportunity to observe its feathered inhabitants. 4 km north of Les Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer, take the D570. The Parc Ornithologique du Pont de Gau is one of the most popular among the extraordinary nature of the Camargue.

Réattu Museum

Although this fantastic 150-year-old museum is housed in a beautifully restored 15th-century hospitable priory on the banks of the Rhone, one might assume that it is out of date despite its current first-class collection.

His collection includes pieces by 18th and 19th century Provençal artists, two paintings, 57 sketches, and of course, some pieces by his namesake, Jacques Réattu. In addition, it presents brilliantly selected cutting-edge exhibitions. The museum is set in the extraordinary nature of the Camargue.

Luma Foundation

This brand new state-of-the-art gallery and art centre, which will inevitably rise in a disused railway depot in the south-east of the city, will be eagerly awaited by Arles' growing cultural landscape.  

It will have a high-profile launch in 2019 and was created by Frank Gehry with funding from the Luma Foundation, a Swiss organisation. 

For more information, five guided tours of the site in French are offered each week, as well as a tour in English on Saturdays at 11.30am (adults/children 7€/free). It has the extraordinary nature of the Camargue.

Luma Foundation

Ancient Theatre

This theatre was built in the first century BC at the request of Augustus, the first unofficial Roman emperor. Although it is in a semi-ruined state following centuries of looting, it is easy to admire the charm and engineering of this structure. 

With its 10,000 seats, its lighting and the few remaining pillars, it continues to be one of the most prestigious venues in Arles for summer concerts and plays.  

Rue de la Calade is the location of the entrance and ticket office. The Théâtre Antique is also famous for the extraordinary nature of the Camargue.

Ancient Theatre

St-Trophime Church

This Romanesque church, built over a 5th century basilica, bears the name of the first semi-mythical archbishop of Arles. It served as a cathedral until the transfer of the bishopric to Aix in 1801. 

Il est considéré comme un chef-d’œuvre de l’art roman provençal et a été construit entre le XIIe et le XVe siècle. Cherchez l’entrée ouest savamment sculptée avec le tympan représentant l’Apocalypse perché au sommet (et St Trophime lui-même, brandissant sa crosse). Les ossements des évêques d’Arles se trouvent à l’intérieur du trésor. 

Sometimes, the cloister next to the Cloître St-Trophime hosts exhibitions. The Church of St Trophime is also famous for its extraordinary nature in the Camargue.

St-Trophime Church

Activities in the Camargue

There are many things to do in the Camargue, some of which are mentioned below.

Go up to Cheval Blanc in the Camargue Regional Nature Park

The charming white horses of the Camargue with their shiny tails are small and agile, resembling the horses depicted on the walls of the Lascaux caves some 15,000 years ago. They are considered to be one of the oldest breeds in the world. The annual Féria du Cheval, held in Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in July, pays tribute to these Horses of the Sea, which were originally used to plough the land and guard the black bulls. 

The celebration includes horse shows and roman music concerts. Explore the Camargue Regional Nature Park, an area of over 210,000 acres of salt marshes, lakes, rice fields and saltbush moors, by jumping on one of these majestic beasts yourself.

Riding is offered by many equestrian centres, including Les Arnelles and Le Palomino Le Boumian. From the extraordinary nature of the Camargue, riding a white horse in the Camargue Park is a sightseeing tour.

Be amazed by the pink flamingos

Don't be surprised if, while driving along the secluded roads of the Camargue or walking along its remote paths, you look up into the clear sky and see large pink birds flying above you with black stripes on their wings. 

The Camargue is the only place in Europe where regular flocks of pink flamingos and flamingos breed, producing an average of 10,000 pairs a year. Visit the Parc Ornithologique du Pont de Gau in the centre of the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue to see them up close and learn more about them. 

Walks and paths wind through the marshy, bird-filled area. The pink flamingos are magnificent among the extraordinary nature of the Camargue.

Be amazed by the pink flamingos

Stay in a working manade

Staying on a working ranch, where you can observe the lifestyle of the ranchers who have tended this rugged landscape for centuries, is the best way to get a feel for the area. 

Some offer local festivals, walks and opportunities to help the wardens. Most are located on large properties where horses and bulls graze. Staying in a working Manade is also an opportunity to experience the extraordinary nature of the Camargue.

Visit a salt mine

Farmers find the salinity of the Camargue difficult, but it also has advantages like the fleur de mer. It is the coarse, fragrant gourmet salt that chefs around the world covet, and is sold under the brand name Le Saunier de Camargue, among others. 

Salt was first gathered here by the Romans, and the paludiers, or saulniers, still do it today. Don't forget: it is harvested by hand, which explains its reasonable price. The D36 will take you to the commune of Salin de Giraud and the nearby salt works and salt mountains, which you can explore by car or on your own. The extraordinary nature of the Camargue visit to the salt works is famous.

Conclusion

There are many attractions in the Camargue that will make your trip memorable and unforgettable. Share your visit to the Camargue with friends and enjoy.

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