The Camargue: Eating, sleeping, traveling...
Where to eat
This place is a real find, although actually finding it the first time is not easy. It's outside the town walls to the east down a road that becomes almost a dirt track, so don't be put off. The decor is really unusual and funky. A very bohemian atmosphere and terrific food. The razor shells for a starter are awesome. The whole place is taken down in the winter (you'll see why). open from early April to late October.
Location: Chemin de Peccais, Aigues-Mortes, Gard
There are 3 menus: a strictly luncheon one for 22€, one for 32€ and one for 42€ and a la carte. The menus are, on the whole, regional and while not cutting edge, are done with skill. There’s a fine selection of wines, not just from the region but from other areas in France as well. There is also a relatively big choice of 9 wines by the glass, which is unusual. The service was efficient and timing of our courses was leisurely without it becoming lax. In short, this is restaurant a cut or two above the average that presents its regional cooking with excellence and style.
Location: 23 bd. Gambetta, Aigues-Mortes, Gard
Tel: 04 66 53 81 13
Le Café La Nuit on the pl du Forum
Immortalised by Van Gogh, this is the place to sip your apéro.
Lou Marquès at the Hôtel Jules César, bd des Lices
The place for gastronomic greed. Formal atmosphere, wonderful cooking, a real French treat.
Think at least €60-70 per head.
Tel: 04 90 52 52 52
In July/August the whole town is awash with flamenco guitars, buskers, street hawkers and cafe tables crammed onto every street corner, so there’s no shortage of choice, but try..
Le Kahlua, rue Jean-Roche
Tapas, pizza, grills and cheap wine until 1am, starting at around €15
Tel: 04 90 97 98 41
L’Impérial, pl des Impérieux
Local specialities and fish with interesting sauces. Menus from €20 and up. Closed Nov to March.
Tel: 04 90 97 81 84
Where to Stay
Accommodation can be better value in Arles then in “Les Saintes” and can be more comfortable for those with mosquito-sensitive skin. The tourist office will find you a room in Arles for just €1.
Click here to search for holiday rentals near the Camargue >
Hôtel d’Arlatan 26 rue du Sauvage (04.90.93.56.66) (www.hotel-arlatan.fr) Luxurious hotel set in lovely C15th mansion, decorated with antiques. Double rooms €85-€155
Hôtel Galoubet, 18 rue Dr-Fanton (04.90.93.18.11) (email:firstname.lastname@example.org) Beautiful old hotel and restaurant with just eight rooms, all refurbished in rustic Provençal style, with restaurant. Book in advance. Double rooms from €50-€65
Hôtel le Gaugin, 5 pl Voltaire (04.90.96.14.35) Comfortable but inexpensive so book in advance. Doubles rooms €31-€36
Hostellerie du Mas du Cacharel, rte de Cacharel (4kms north of Les Saintes on the D85a) (04.90.97.95.44) (www.hotel-cacharel.com). A very comfortable hotel in old-established ranch, with horses on site. Double rooms €108 in July/August, but reductions possible in other months (ask when booking, especially if staying more than a couple of nights.)
La Mediterranée 4 rue Frédéric-Mistral (04.90.97.82.09) (www.hotel-mediterranee.camargue.fr) Recently renovated, pretty hotel in the town centre. Double rooms €40-€46
Nîmes airport is the nearest for the Camargue, with flights operated by Ryan Air. Marseille and Montpellier are also close, with flights operated by British Airways, Easyjet and Air France. See websites www.ba.com, www.airfrance.com, www.easyjet.com and www.ryanair.com.
View more information on flights to Languedoc here >
The TGV runs down from Paris to Avignon in 2 hours 40 minutes, from Avignon to Arles, a local train takes 20 minutes and from there, you can get a bus to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, the heart of the Camargue. See websites www.eurostar.com and www.raileurope.co.uk.
View more information on trains to Languedoc here >
You really need a car to explore this area, and they can be hired at the station in Arles (Avis - 04.90.96.82.42) or in town from Europcar (04.90.93.23.24), Eurorent (04.90.93.50.14), or Hertz (04.90.96.75.23).
View more information on car hire in Languedoc here >
(There is also a tourist office at the station.)
This tourist office is right on the seafront.