Why go to the Camargue?
The Camargue is a major tourist destination in the south of France and is one of France's 44 Regional Nature Parks. The Camargue is a triangular area of Provence south of Arles, encompassing the Rhone delta in the east and a series of salt marshes in the west. It is a major cattle and rice producer. Camargue Cattle are black with long horns and are tended by French "cowboys" called les gardians, which have become a focus for tourist cameras.
Salt has been produced in the Camargue since antiquity, with both Greeks and Romans participating.
Visitors can take horseback tours, jeep safaris and rent bicycles to see this unique place. Since many areas of the Camargue are closed to traffic, bicycles are a fine way to see the area. Bike tours and many hotels are available at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
The interior of the Camargue is best explored on horseback; horses are available for the day from stables along highway D570 between Arles to les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
Bird watchers will see the Camargue's abundant resident and migratory birds, including the icon of the Camargue, the pink flamingo, at the Parc Ornithologique de Pont de Grau. The park is open from 9am to sundown 7 days a week. There is a charge for entrance.
The old sheep barn that serves as the Musée Camarguais at Mas du Pont de Rousty will tell you about the geology and history of the Camargue.
The Camargue can be a day trip while staying locally. We did it as a part of A Week in Provence.
Eating in the Camargue - Recommended Restaurants
The Camargue's newest Michelin star goes to Chef Armand Arnal at La Chassagnette in Le Sambuc. Housed in a former sheep fold and surrounded by organic gardens, the restaurant even has a library of gastronomic works as well as books about the Camargue.
Le Sambuc is about 12 minutes from Arles.
Although somewhat pricy, I recommend L'Hostellerie du Pont de Gau in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer for good, hearty Carmargue cuisine. L'Hostellerie du Pont de Gau is also a place to stay, just outside the Parc Ornithologique. Go out the front door, turn left, get a ticket, and see Pink Flamingos (video).
Where to stay in the Camargue
To get an idea of what the Camargue landscape looks like, with the flora and fauna on display, including the Camargue horses and Bulls, see our Camargue Pictures.
Tourism Information for the Camargue
Camargue Map showing some of the main attractions.
The Cowboys and Bulls of the Camargue -- What a Job for a Cowboy is a lively account of the Camargue cowboy's work and the bull games that have surfaced with the decline of Provence bullfighting.
Nearby Travel Destinations
The Camargue is in the Bouches Du Rhone region of Provence; see our Provence Map to plan a trip.
You can visit the Camargue from nearby Arles, of course.