From Camargue to Saintes Maries de la Mer – nature, terroir and tradition
Art of living - Family - Wine and gastronomy
Promising an unforgettable day out, head off to explore Camargue, in particular the towns of Arles and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The region is famed for its unspoilt countryside that is sure to stimulate all your senses. Anyone with a penchant for fine wine will enjoy the organic varieties produced at Mas de la Valériole while foodies can try the famed Camargue rice. And nature lovers can watch white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos that have put this magnificent region on the map in their natural habitat by visiting Manade Mailhan and the ornithological park or by taking a walk along the sea wall.
The traditions of Camargue at the Manade Mailhan
Mas du Grand Gageron 13200 Arles
Continue your Camargue adventure by heading to Mas des Bernacles where you'll find the Manade Mailhan. In the heart of Camargue Regional Nature Park, this 'manade' (a local word for 'breeder') rears horses and black bulls, including Rami, which has twice earned the 'Biou d’Or' (Golden Bull) title. If you have the time, book ahead for a fascinating guided tour with the owner Jacques Mailhan.
Gourmet Camargue at Le Flamant Rose
RD 37 Camargue 13123 Arles
If your schedule allows, call into Le Flamant Rose in Alvaron for lunch. The eatery has become a local institution since it opened 40 years ago. Endorsed by our Tables 13 guide, this typically Camargue restaurant offers generous and affordable Provençal cuisine. Chef Frédéric Lacave's menu includes seafood, local produce and AOP bull meat with a fixed-priced 'regional menu'.
Visit to the Maison du Riz
Mas de la vigne 13123 Arles
Spend the afternoon learning more about one of Camargue's flagship crops at the rice education centre. The visit includes a tour of the rice farm with your guides Françoise and Jacques Rozière, who enthusiastically share the passion for their craft with you. The on-site shop stocks products such as organic rice and craft beer, ideal souvenirs of your trip to take back home. For a total change of scenery, you can even stay overnight at a gîte in the middle of the paddy fields!
A gourmet night at Mas des Colverts
Route D'Arles Route D'Arles 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
For anyone wishing to stay the night in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, we recommend the guest rooms at Mas des Colverts, an old farmhouse on a spit of land amidst lagoons that are home to birds and ducks in a protected nature reserve. They organise cooking classes led by Roger Merlin, a culinary advisor, graduate of the Paris Hotel School and founded of the Camargue cuisine conservatory.
- Try kitesurfing along Camargue's vast sandy beaches
- Experiencing the spiritual fervour displayed at the gypsy pilgrimage in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
- Spending a night in a cowboy hut- Bullfighting in Arles every Wednesday and Friday in summer
- Spending a day amongst the horses, bulls and birds of Camargue
- Exploring the local sustainably-farmed crops
The best time to visit
- In summer when there are lots of different horse and bull events
- In winter to visit the sumptuous Christmas market and its santons (figurines) from Saint Barbara Feast Day (4 December) onwards
- Also in winter to observe the courtship displays of the pink flamingos in Pont de Gau
Art of living, Family, Wine and gastronomy
- Visited cities
All year round
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