Holidays in Camargue

The ultimate nature and outdoor leisure destination

Mis à jour le 7 May 2018

Right here in Provence you'll find Camargue: a wild, natural area with a rich cultural heritage and plenty of character. Ever met a Camargue cowboy, a ranch owner or a bird expert? Spend your holiday in Camargue and you'll find out all about them!

Firmly committed to sustainable tourism, Camargue is a genuine invitation to travel. Its vast, natural expanses, endless beaches and traditional habitats are all protected by the Camargue Regional Nature Reserve. To visit Camargue, we recommend a 'slow tour' on horseback, on foot, or by bike. Offering a myriad of activities and discoveries, Camargue is a sheer delight throughout the year (but we do recommend winter for bird-watching), whether you're travelling with family, friends, your partner or on your own.

For a discreet dive into this magnificent area, our Camargue tour itineraries are a fabulous way to discover its secret spots and must-sees and make sure you don't miss out on anything!

A wild area preserved by man

Rhône delta

Located between the two arms of the Rhône river, the Delta spans over 185,000 acres of sandy lands, where water and earth mix to form a triangle between Arles to the North, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to the West and Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône to the East. Now a wilderness, it was a hub of farming and industrial activities from 1860 to 1960.

Camargue Regional Nature Reserve and the 'Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue' Label

A land of sunshine, wind and water, Camargue is a genuine world apart, with a fragile ecosystem. It is also inhabited and home to various private or inaccessible areas. This very special character led to the creation of the Camargue Regional Nature Reserve in 1970, committed to making Camargue a sustainable holiday destination, founded on respectful tourism. Don't hesitate to seek out the 'Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue' label while you're touring: it indicates establishments dedicated to sharing the reserve's values with visitors and introducing them to the area's natural riches and traditional know-how.

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A rebellious and inspiring character

Forming part of Provence, Camargue is a wild holiday destination. It is the embodiment of the Bouches-du-Rhône's rebellious character, that of ardent bulls, untamed horses and proud cowboys. Camargue's intrinsically primitive character was portrayed as far back as the early Fifties when film directors chose its rustic, wide open spaces as the backdrop for their films. Released in 1953, the French film White Mane by Albert Lamorisse, starring Camargue's magnificent traditional white horse galloping in the wetlands with its mane flying in the wind, largely contributed to the free-spirited image of Camargue. The movie's success prompted a series of 'Camargue westerns' instilled with a Far West mood. D’où viens-tu Johnny?, directed by Noël Howard, starred the young generation's heartthrob Johnny Hallyday.

How to visit Camargue?

  • On horseback: although horses were originally used to guard and herd bulls, the Camargue horse with its signature grey-white coat now fulfils an additional leisure function with the advent of equestrian tourism. Make the most of your holiday in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer to enjoy a horse trek in Camargue.

  • On foot: Walking in Camargue is a wonderfully gentle, slow-paced way of exploring the area's various landscapes. Discover our Camargue nature walks departing from Arles and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer .

  • By bike: Camargue by bike - a fabulous cycle touring experience and great for family excursions and forays into this wild area, between marshes, countryside, little hamlets and vast, idyllic beaches. The most coveted excursion is undoubtedly the Sea Dyke tour, running several kilometres along the sea front from the village of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. You can also opt for a more intimate cycle tour, to discover the local bull ranches, vineyards and rice fields, or take a ferry over the lake and continue your bike ride along the trails and cycle paths of Camargue.

  • By boat: Make the most of your holiday in Camargue with a boat trip out to sea or river trip up the Rhône on board a traditional paddle boat. The 'Tiki 3' is a real treat for the kids, while the grown-ups peacefully enjoy watching the scenery go by... Curiosity-seekers will enjoy a tour on the 'Le Camargue' motor yacht, topped with a commentary on the area's history. If you loved your trip, discover our boat trips around Marseille and the Calanques fjords too.

What to do in Camargue?

Enjoy some birding at one of the area's ornithological parks

Learn more about the area and its terroir with a guided tour

  • La Maison du Riz teaches you all about Camargue rice growing. Bouches-du-Rhône inhabitants benefit from a discount rate with the MyProvence Pass: two visit, one pays!

  • La Maison du Cheval and Musée de la Camargue if you want to learn everything there is to know about Camargue. Just ask for the artistic and cultural programme: there's something for everyone all year round.

  • La Capelière - Société Nationale de Protection de la Nature - Réserve Nationale de Camargue', to learn about Camargue's plant and animal life. The Musée de la Capelière also features a fabulous botanical footpath: the Sentier de Découverte de La Capelière.

Head off to a Camargue ranch (manade) to live like a local cowboy and learn more about Camargue horses.

Lay back and top up your suntan on the beaches

  • Salin de Giraud on Plage de Piemanson

  • Beaches in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer: La Brise Mer, a wild beach between dunes and the Petit Rhône river, or Plage Crin Blanc and Plage Les Arènes in the town centre

  • Beach Plage Napoléon in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône

  • The famous beach Plage de Beauduc: one of the favourite local surfing spots and only beach still sporting beach huts – a kick back to the Seventies when the beach was an unregulated zone and entire families came to spend their holidays on this beach in Camargue.

Where to sleep in Camargue ?

Here is our selection of establishments awarded the 'Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue' label, defending sustainable tourism in Camargue.



Rentals and holiday cottages

Where to eat in Camargue

Try out our hand-picked selection of establishments guaranteed to spoil you with typical Camargue cuisine during your stay:

  • 'Les Saladelles', promising an authentic decor, traditional food and generous portions at Les Salins de Giraud.

  • 'Les Tellines', a moment out of time in the wilderness of Camargue.

  • 'La Chassagnette', a star-rated eatery in countrified surroundings at the end of the world...

  • 'L’Estrambord', resembling a roadside café but serving delicious and plentiful local dishes. A must-do stop-off on the road to Salins de Giraud.

  • Roger Merlin Culinary School at 'Mas des Colverts', a great opportunity to take part in a cookery class with Camargue local produce while you're holidaying in Camargue.

Town tours in Camargue

Wide open spaces, birds, educational tours and **cycle paths **are all well and good, but Camargue is also home to the towns of Arles and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer! If you want a seamless return to life in the fast lane before the holidays are over, head over to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage town of Arles, home to breathtaking Greek and Roman remains. And if you fancy a plunge into Camargue's festive and traditional facets alike, don't forget to combine Arles with the delightful town of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.

Top tours

Visit Arles or visit Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer while you're holidaying in Camargue with our My Provence tours: a series of turnkey itineraries catering to your personal interests, whether culture, gastronomy, shopping, family outings or off-the-beaten-track experiences. Ready to go? Just follow the guide!

Planning your stay

Discover our hand-picked selection of cultural venues, accommodation and restaurants with the Arles holiday guide – it's chock full of great addresses for planning your stay in Provence.

And to plan your stay in Camargue, check out our Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer holiday guide, featuring selected accommodation, restaurants listed in gastronomic and food guides and a great choice of activities in Camargue. You're going to love your holiday in Camargue! (the mosquitoes a bit less ☺).

Take part in Camargue's traditional celebrations and popular events

Don't miss the next Ferias and Camargue Races in Arles: discover our Arles events calendar.

And if you want to take part in the next Gypsy Pilgrimage in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer or other traditional Camargue celebrations, check the dates in our cultural diary and book your holiday in Camargue now on the My Provence website!

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