What to Do in Camargue, France
The Camargue is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in all of France. If you’re planning a trip soon, we’ve put together some helpful advice for you in this article. We’ll bring you up to speed on everything the breathtaking region has to offer, from its iconic pink flamingos in the natural park to the quaint little town of Arles… All about what to do in Camargue, France. Get ready to take notes for your next vacation.
Where is the Camargue?
The Camargue is not a city in France, but rather a large region in the South which is known for its stunning natural beauty. It is unlike the populous, metropolitan areas that surround it. It’s located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, halfway between the historic French cities of Montpellier and Aix-en-Provence. That being said, you’ll have no lack of options for finding what to do in Camargue, France.
A Look at a Map of Camargue, France
In the map featured here, you can see a closeup of the greater Camargue region along the Mediterranean Sea. On the inlet, you can see where the Camargue is located, all the way in the southeastern part of France. It may appear to be small on the map, but in reality, the region actually covers several hundreds of acres.
An Historic City in the Camargue: Arles, France
Arles is perhaps the most well-known city in the Camargue region. This is in part because of the role it played in the Roman empire while it was under their occupation. Several traces of Roman architecture are still standing throughout the city today, as a testament to its influence. The city was also home to Vincent Van Gogh in 1888, where he famously cut off his ear.
Today, Arles is a trove of touristic discoveries for anyone interested in history, nature, and architecture. For example, on your next visit to the small city, you can:
- Take a trip to the Arles Antiquity Museum
- Visit the famous ancient Roman ruins at the Ampithéâtre
- Check out the religious sites, the convent Cloître Saint-Trophime and the Montmajour Abbey
- Take a tour of the Van Gogh museum in the place where the artist cut off his left ear
A Must-See: The Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue
This natural park is the main attraction for many tourists who visit the Camargue region every year. It spans over three different municipalities (Arles, Port Saint Louis du Rhône, and Saintes Maries de la Mer). In essence, it is the second-largest federally-protected natural region in all of the French territory. It’s inhabited by tons of native species, protected in large part by locally- and federally-funded conservation efforts. The wow factor of this region is that nature is left free to do as it pleases, and tourists are allowed to get up-close and personal with it as it does. If you’re in the Camargue region during your time in France, the Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue is absolutely the thing to do.
What to see in Camargue, France?
A large part of the appeal of the Camargue comes from the wild bulls, horses, and flamingos that are native to these natural wetlands. Tourists can enjoy many different guided tours of the area which allow them to see this magnificent wildlife in their natural habitat. For example, you can go for a guided tour in a small, electric train with other tourists, take a group tour on horseback, or choose to rent a safari jeep for a few hours and explore a small part of the area on your own. Any way you decide to discover the Camargue, you’ll be blown away by its natural beauty! Let’s take a closer look at some of what the region has to offer.
Horses in Camargue, France
The Camargue may well be the name of a region of France, but it is also the name of the horse breed that is native to the area. The wild horse is typically white and of a smaller stature than other domesticated horse breeds. You can find hundreds of them roaming freely in the marshlands all throughout the Camargue region. Historically, the Camargue horse has been used in war during the Roman Antiquity in the Camargue, as well as for farming and agricultural work in the area. The origin of this majestic creature remains a mystery, but it has since become a highly-respected symbol of the Camargue itself.
Flamingos in Camargue, France
The pink flamingo is, without a doubt, the most famous bird native to the Camargue region. The area is a natural nesting area for hundreds (if not thousands) of the savage birds. Of course, flamingos can be found throughout several beachy areas in the South of France, such as in the lagoons in Palavas-les-Flots or in the salt marshes in Aigues-Mortes. But by far and large, the majority of the large, majestic birds call the Camargue home.
Beaches in Camargue, France
If you’re looking for a place to soak up some of the Southern sun during your time in the Camargue, you’ve got plenty of options to choose from. In the small community of Sainte-Maries-de-la-Mer, you’ll find two popular beaches not far from one another: the Plage du Crin Blanc and the Plage Est. They are a popular destination for families, due in part to the lifeguard on duty. The white sand is warm and soft and spans on for kilometers. The Plage Beauduc is an isolated beach located just to the South of the Parc Naturel Régional de la Camargue which offers six kilometers of fine, white sand. It is technically located in Arles and is known to be a favorite of local kitesurfers.
For those looking for a nude beach, the Plage de Piemanson is the right place for you. The entire beach sprawls over 7 kilometers and has a clearly-marked nudist-only area on the left side. Finally, the Plage Napoléon in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône is a 10-kilometer long beach. It is known for swimming and water activities like kitesurfing, windsurfing, boating, and more. It offers concession stands a paid parking lot for families arriving with their little ones in tow.
Still searching for ideas of what to do in Camargue, France? There is truly something for everyone to enjoy in the breathtaking, naturally beautiful region of the Camargue. Be it the ancient Roman history, the religious importance, the many native species living in the wild, or the kilometers of white sand beaches, the Camargue is absolutely worth a visit if you ever take a road trip through the South of France!