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.

Can't-miss experiences

  • 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

We love

  • 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
  • Theme

    Art of living, Family, Wine and gastronomy

  • Duration

    1 day

  • Transport means

    Personal vehicle

  • Visited cities

  • Ideal for

    All year round

Discover other itineraries

In the Alpilles, Les Baux, Saint-Rémy and more

A day suffices to see the main sites in the Alpilles. Don't miss the ancient town of Glanum with its Roman ruins and Saint-Sixte Chapel. The Carrières de Lumières is worth a visit for its original and captivating audiovisual displays. Then step foot in the legendary Château des Baux and find a table at La Reine Jeanne to enjoy refined dishes made with fresh, local produce. Your tour ends at the oil mills, vital links in the production chain for AOP Baux-de-Provence olive oil.

Marseille and the coast in a day

When you disembark for your stop in Marseille, you probably want to see the city centre and the coast? This itinerary takes you on a tour of essential Marseille in a day. You could spend the morning in the MuCEM, a museum dedicated to the history of Marseille since it was founded, set in a brand-new, stylish building. Before lunch, go for a stroll around the old Panier district en route to the Café des Épices. The afternoon will fly by as you visit the calanque in Port-Miou and go shopping in Cassis.

Aix-en-Provence, wine and gastronomy – exploring the Durance

Aix-en-Provence is a city of art, a city surrounded by the sea and salt-water lagoons, but it is also a city shaped by the land. Its vineyards, olive oil and local specialities are all a testament to this. Discover the secret to chocolate-making at Chocolaterie Puyricard and head off to meet passionate winegrowers. The terrace at La Flambée du Lubéron on the banks of the Durance will make a perfect spot for lunch! Make sure you don't miss Château Paradis in Puy-Sainte-Réparade before setting off to Jouques where you'll get to visit three exceptional estates (Château Revelette, Domaine la Chapelle Saint-Bacchi and Domaine Villemus) which all promote organic wine production.

Inspirations

The siesta

The siesta

Lifestyle

Provence… the perfect place to relax and chill out

Villages of Provence

Villages of Provence

Lifestyle

Villages the world over envy us!

La pétanque

La pétanque

This sport (yes, Pétanque is a sport, but we'll talk about that later) is an intrinsic part of life in Marseille and has been from generation to generation!

Every quarter has its own boules court and/or boules association, including, of course, a watering hole...

Calissons

Calissons

Aix-en-Provence prides in concocting 'Calisson' candies made with a thin candied melon paste and ground almonds topped with royal icing. Yummy