Interesting Camargue Towns & Villages:
Aigue-Mortes is a stunning walled town set back from the coast. It was at one time on the coast, built by Louis IX in the 13th century as a port for departing crusaders. Years of silt, however, meant that the coast moved progressively outwards, leaving the town and ‘port’ stranded inland. The town is surrounded by 1.7km of imposing stone walls, which you can climb to the top of. Aigues-Mortes became, in the 16th and 17th centuries a ‘safe haven’ for persecuted protestants, but was eventually used as a prison for protestant ‘Huguenots’ after the famous ‘Edict of Nantes’.
Today, the town is a buzzy and beautiful tourist trap, brimming with tourist shops and restaurants. It’s definitely worth a visit - just to see the towering walls. Some of the restaurants aren’t bad either, and it’s a great place to escape to for an evening drink after frying on Espiguette beach or horse riding in the Camargue itself.
The heart of the Camargue lies fair and square in Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (“Les Saintes” pop: 2,000). This little town is right on the sea and in spite of being grossly commercialised, manages to remain charming, authentic and pretty. Swarthy men play boules in the “place des Gitans”, there are statues of famous bulls, and the tourist office is nigh on buried by heaps of fishing nets.
The Church in the centre of Les Saintes, fortified in the C14th against pirates, contains the statue of “Black Sarah”, venerated by Romany Gypsies, who gather here every year (May 24-25) for a religious festival. The tower is worth climbing for the panoramic views from the roof (the ideal place to relax and eat a sandwich).
Espiguette beach is, in some ways, the very best in all of Languedoc. It’s absolutely huge, running for miles between the Grau du Roi into Provence. It’s wide too - an enormous expanse of wild sand with not a house, shop, restaurant or bar in sight. As a result, it’s very popular (further down the beach) with nudists and gays. You’re guaranteed space here, unlike the crowded beaches of La Grande Motte or Narbonne. The car park is large and free, but you may have to walk quite a distance to find your own plot of sand if you don’t come early. Bring plenty of drinks, as you can’t rely on beach drink sellers. Pop into nearby Aigues Mortes for lunch or an evening drink after taking in the sun.
Fun ways to explore the Camargue
By Paddle Steamer
The Tikki III is a traditional red-painted paddle steamer operating from the mouth of the Petit Rhône from mid-March to November. Featuring quirky commentary (in French) and stopping half way in order to watch a “gardienne” drive a small herd of bulls down to the water, this is a couple of hours well-spent - especially for the saddle-sore.
Tel: 04 90 97 81 68
By Quad Bike, Buggy or Jet Ski
Quad, Buggy and Jet Ski rental.
Jet Ski Pilot School.
Round trips and excursions for children and adults.
Disabled people are very welcome
Paintball for children and adults.
Open all year long.
Groups: Call us - 20% off on reservations. - 2 people go free.
Location: Domaine du Petit Chaumont - D62 - 30220 AIGUES-MORTES
Tel: 04 66 77 41 50
06 10 28 36 35.
Helicopter trips along the coast an inland into the Camargue.
Flights depart from the “Domaine du Petit Chaumont” in July and August every Wednesday and Saturday all the year. Booking is essential.
Prices: From 30€/ person and more.
Groups: Call us - 10% on reservations of more than 10 people.
Location: Domaine du Petit Chaumont - D62 - 30220 AIGUES-MORTES
Tel: 04 66 85 49 03
By Horse-drawn Carriage
Les Calèches de Camargue: Discover the Camargue's bulls, horses and wilderness from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. Return to the Mazet to taste the local wines and delicacies and Camarguaise music.
€50 for the ride and full lunch.
€25 under 12s, €10 for under 4s
€35 for the ride and a picnic.
€20 under 12s, €10 for under 4s
French, English and Spanish spoken.
10am-3pm and 5pm-10pm, June, July and August.
Contacts Sylvie ou Sandrine:
Tel : 04 66 51 08 19
Mobile : 06 65 74 63 68 & 06 86 67 82 8
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Lunches include traditional fare - such as paella and moules marines.
The Camargue for children
Adventure Forest & Kayaks
Indiana Rivers Loisir: Acrobatic course on trees’ tops (4 - 74 years old).
Children under 1,40m: 9€.
Over 1,40m: 13€ or 16€.
Adult: 15€ or 18€.
Kayak rental: 7€/ hour or 18€ / ½ day (single)
9€/ hour or 24€ / ½ day (double).
Refreshment stand, canvas chair and possibility of night kayak rowing.
Daily open from June 1st - Sept 1st.
Les berges du Vidourle - A 275 - La gare - 30220 SAINT LAURENT D'AIGOUZE
Tel: 06 21 75 11 19.
Walks in the Camargue
3 Good Walks
There are three main walking trails around the protected central area of the Camargue.
- You can skirt the Réserve des Impériaux along a drovers' path, the draille de Méjanes, between Cacharel, 4km north of Ste-Maries, and the D37 just north of Méjanes.
- Another trail, with one of the best observation points for flamingos, follows the dyke between the Étangs du Fangassier and Galabert, starting 5km west of Salin-de-Giraud.
- Between these two is the Digue à la Mer running just back from the beach of Stes-Maries' bay.
Rice Paddy Walking Tours
Riz Attelage Camargue. In order to encourage the development of rice- growing knowledge and to promote the harnessing culture of the Camargue, “Riz Attelage Camargue” offers guided hiking tours or harness tours (reservation recommended).
Groups: On foot 4€ / on calash (horse-drawn carriage) 11€ (10 persons maximum)
Location: Domaine de Senebier - D 38 c - 13460 Les Stes Maries de la Mer
Tel: 06 64 09 19 16
The Musée Camarguais between Arles and Les Saintes, housed in a tradition sheep barn, gives a wonderful insight into the development and history of the area.
The Musée Baroncelli covers the history of the gypsies’ annual procession to the sea with Sarah, along with Camarguais traditions, flora and fauna. Opening times of both museums vary, for information contact the tourist office.
Fishing in the Camargue
Les Poissons d'Argent
Shell food, local specialities, fish & prawns grilled on glowing embers.
Fishing Ponds: 8 hectares of ponds, and fishing lakes over 20 hectares.
BP 73 – voie rapide - 30220 AIGUES-MORTES
Tel: 06 09 97 48 04
Camargue Fishing Centre
Sea fishing and surfcasting at the
Yacht Club of Port Camargue, 30240 Le Grau du Roi
Tel: Monsieur Pierre DAVENEL 04 66 53 09 16
Open from 1st March to 30th November