The Camargue

March 02, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

When I was researching my trip to Europe, I learned about a national park in France called The Camargue.  It is Western Europe’s largest river delta where the Rhone River meets the Mediterranean.  Located in The South of France on the Mediterranean, the Camargue is designated a Ramsar site as a "Wetland of International Importance".

 

The Camargue is comprised of plains, lagoons, marshlands and cultivated areas.  Indigenous to the area are the black bulls used for bullfighting and an ancient breed of white horse used by the Guardians to round up the cattle.  While waiting for a car ferry, imagine my surprise when along the road came a woman riding one of these beautiful white horses and behind her 6 white horses, two abreast with a man standing on the rear two driving them. Quite a sight!  This is how the guardians move the horses between paddocks.  On this occasion, they dismounted, boarded the ferry and continued on their way on the other side of the river.

 

In spite of having been to Africa four times I had only ever seen flamingoes at a great distance.  The Camargue is teeming with birdlife and its brine ponds provide one of the few European habitats for the greater flamingo.  I was lucky enough to see quite a few of these beautiful birds and was privileged to watch them displaying and entwining their necks. 

 

The area around the Camargue, supports a large rural community where fine crystalline salt is produced and some really lovely local rice (both red and white).   Local towns include the seaside town of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and the old walled port city of Aigues Mort which is now some distance from the  waterfront.

 

Click on any of the images to go to the full gallery of my trip to France. The White horses of the Camargue with GuardiansThe White horses of the Camargue with GuardiansThe white horses of the Camargue are frequently moved by guardians along the roads and over the river by ferry. They and the Black Bulls take precedence over cars on the ferry. The Greater FlamingoThe Greater FlamingoThe Camargue is a designated RAMSAR site of international importance. It is teeming with birdlife and its brine ponds provide one of the few European habitats for the greater flamingo. Aigues MortAigues MortAigues Mort is a walled port city that is now several kilometres from the sea.


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