Staying in the famous natural park, how about passing through a village in the Camargue? Follow the guide, for a total immersion in the heart of Camargue traditions!
- 1. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
- 2. Le Grau-du-Roi
- 3. Aigues Mortes
- 4. Saint-Laurent d’Aigouze
- 5. The Sambuc
- 6. Gallician
- 7. Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhone
- 8. Le Cailar
- 9. Salin de Giraud
The Camargue, a protected natural park with exceptional fauna and flora, is also a land of traditions, festive and gourmet… And above all, it is incredibly beautiful! Come and discover without further delay this place where rice and salt are grown, and where horses and bulls are raised in semi-freedom in herds, held by herdsmen. These animals are the object of a real cult and are at the center of all the popular festivals, called votive festivals in the region. Another spectacle of the Camargue: the pink flamingos which bring a colorful touch to the ponds and salt marshes… Something to thrill your lens! As you will have understood, the Camargue is a magical place in France. Discover it through one of its symbols: the village of Camargue. So head for these enchanting places…
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is not just a village in the Camargue… It is THE capital of the Camargue! This small fishing town with white houses is also known to be the “welcoming land of gypsies”. It is here that the pilgrimage in honor of Saint Sara takes place every year . For several days, the place then lives to the rhythm of flamenco and guitars.
But Saintes-Marie-de-la Mer also has pretty cobbled streets, the Port Gardian, and fine sandy beaches. On the Etang des Launes, bulls, horses and pink flamingos mingle, with the Mediterranean as a backdrop. And if you like sliding, head for the speed canal near the port, specially designed for windsurfing fans.
2. Le Grau-du-Roi
Le Grau-du-Roi is actually part of what is called the little Camargue. Located in the Gard, this very touristy seaside resort also perfectly reflects the art of living and the traditions of the Camargue. During the votive festival which lasts 8 days, the city lives to the rhythm of bullfighting activities, in the streets and in its arenas, against a lively musical background. Don’t miss the jousting battles on the channel either. This other emblematic tradition of the village is a real sport in its own right in this village of Camargue.
Le Grau du Roi is also the village of Camargue which holds the 1st trawl fishing port in the Mediterranean. Every evening, the return to port and the unloading are a real spectacle to see (and feel). Then there is its marina, with a very evocative name: Port Camargue. It is none other than the 1st Marina in Europe, and the 2nd Marina in the world… Something to dream about in front of its thousands of boats, each one more beautiful than the other.
For moments of relaxation, go to the legendary Espiguette beach, which stretches over 10 km. To get away from it all and get some fresh air, there’s nothing like a bike ride on the Espiguette greenway, a walk in the Boucanet pine forest or even a boat trip to the salt marshes!
3. Aigues Mortes
Aigues-Mortes is another must-see village in the Petite Camargue, with a marked history. The medieval era has left many testimonies there, with the most striking, which has become its emblem: its ramparts. Inside, discover and enjoy the old town. Admire the Tour de Constance and the Church of Notre-Dame-des-Sablons, and take a break in Place Saint-Louis. The opportunity here to discover the culinary specialties of the city, such as the unmissable fougasse d’Aigues-Mortes, a delicious brioche flavored with orange blossom. Or let yourself be tempted by a glass of gris de gris wine, IGP Sable-de-Camargue. Know that here too, bullfighting culture takes an important place, and the Saint-Louis festival which takes place in August is the ideal time to immerse yourself in it!
Passed the great door of the ramparts, the spectacle becomes more natural, and simply striking. Discover the famous Salins du Midi, the salt production area, the main economic resource of Aigues-Mortes. Open to the public, you can come and watch the salt workers harvest the white gold, as well as thousands of birds, including the unmissable pink flamingos.
4. Saint-Laurent d’Aigouze
Almost at the doorstep of Aigues-Mortes, discover Saint-Laurent d’Aigouze. It is the ideal place if you want to enjoy the calm, and avoid the tourist mass that rushes to the surrounding villages. Place de la République, where the Saint-Laurent church sits proudly, represents the heart of the village.
This high place of the Camarguaise race, is surrounded by a territory of more than 8000 hectares, where the cultivation of rice predominates. The surrounding rice fields are dominated by the Tour Carbonnière, a former guard tower now accessible to the public. The opportunity to benefit from a breathtaking panorama.
5. The Sambuc
Le Sambuc is a village of 600 inhabitants belonging to the commune of Arles . It is considered by some, due to its location, as “the capital of the Camargue”… Les Saintes Maries de la Mer just have to watch out!
Here the specialty is the breeding of bulls and the cultivation of rice. This Camargue village has the reputation of having the most beautiful farmhouses in the region, such as the Mas de Peint or the Mas de la Tour du Cazeau. Go and see for yourself by booking a dinner at the restaurant or even a night in one of these exceptional manades.
Event not to be missed in Sambuc is the Rice Fair in September. The opportunity to attend a beautiful equestrian show, and to taste the delicacies of the region, to the sound of the bandas.
Gallician is a small village of less than 1000 inhabitants, located in the heart of the Petite Camargue, at the foot of the Costières plateau and its vineyards. Moreover, the main activity of the place is viticulture.
This Camargue village has a delightful little marina on the banks of the Rhône canal.
It is the ideal starting point for exploring the authentic Camargue. Indeed, greenways, mountain bike trails, hiking trails (GR 653, GR 42), ViaRhôna and other tourist loops await you from the port of Gallician.
Not far from the village, at a place called Les Iscles, discover the incredible regional nature reserve of Scamandre which extends over 146 ha. The opportunity to discover a unique biodiversity!
Welcome to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, another lovely village in the Camargue. Like its neighbours, it holds all the codes and symbols specific to the Camargue: herds, pink flamingos, horses, salt marshes and beaches!
Coming to Port Louis is also an opportunity to visit an authentic Guardian hut, or the unique Ferrigno fish cannery. Another typical activity: the discovery of the marshes aboard a traditional boat called “nègo-chin”. The fishermen handle this light boat brilliantly, standing up and maneuvering with a long stick called a “partego”.
Finally, the Tour Saint Louis is not to be missed. It offers a permanent exhibition on the 1st floor dedicated to Camargue ornithology and a temporary exhibition room dedicated to art on the 2nd floor. The roof allows you to contemplate the superb view of the Camargue, the Canal Saint Louis, the mouth of the Grand Rhône, and the salt marshes.
8. Le Cailar
At the beginning of the 20th century, Le Cailar was nicknamed “the Mecca of Camargue bullfighting”. Two curiosities give it a unique touch. The first is its unique signage in France, produced by the artist François Boisron, on the principles of contemporary art. The second is the tomb of the bull “le Sanglier”, located at the entrance to the village, erected here in honor of the famous cocardier (valiant bull) of the herd Fernand Granon.
This village of Camargue is pleasant to discover, with its small circular streets, leading to pretty buildings. To name a few, you have the 11th century Romanesque church, the 17th century troop barracks, the listed wooden arenas, the clock, and the washhouses.
9. Salin de Giraud
Located 40km from Arles, Salin de Giraud is a small Camargue village of 2000 inhabitants. As its name may suggest, the exploitation of salt is… ubiquitous. Don’t miss the spectacular salt camels, those long white hills or mountains of salt. The best way to visit the Salins de Giraud is by bike, thanks to a circuit of paths that criss-cross them and offer you an unforgettable spectacle.
The large wild beach of Piémanson and its seven kilometers of fine sand is also a unique place where it is good to relax. It is also a very famous kite surfing spot!