The Camargue reserve, Provence‘s extraordinary nature park. A flock of flamingos suddenly erupts from a stand of black-green parasol pines, or a group of herons mince one-legged through rice paddies. Then ahead of us , a bandanna-wrapped guardian – a kind of open -range cowboy, roams the fields on a white horse, prodding horned bulls whose bloodlines predate the caves paintings of Lascaux. The best time to see the Camargue is at dawn, the large gasp of the Rhone as it seeps over the Delta into the Mediterranean sea. This Edenic preserve, where exotic flora and fauna live in splendor in lagoons and salt marshes remains France‘s the most distinctive nature wonderland.
La Camargue is a land of haunting beauty and was one of the forgotten areas of France, only a few decades ago. You will discover a peculiar ecosystem all its own and a culture that is wild, quirky and isolated and just as unique. With the marsh grass stretching to the sea, the Camargue is what the French call a desert of water ( watery desert). At the Camargue‘s heart is the reserve Nationale Zoologique et Botanique. A 30,000- acre of area set around the Etang de Vaccares lagoon – a bird watcher paradise famed for its rich sightings of egrets, bee-eaters, cranes , sandpipers, flamingos and definitely hundreds of other species. For some reasons, nature has been blissfully untouched – almost. You will find isolated mas ( farmhouses, now sometimes converted to luxurious ranches); Manades, the French style of ranches, where the famous bulls are often corralled ; and Cabanes, white washed houses with plaited straw roofs used as residences by the guardians. Horses are for rent everywhere, and a gallop across this wide lonely prairie country will set you apart from the ordinary run of tourists.