Are you interested in visiting the south of France and want to experience a unique destination? Camargue is a great option! Check out my recommendations for things to do in and around Camargue.
Not only is Camargue one of the most unique regions in France, it is also home to western Europe’s largest river delta. This region is mostly made up of water, marshlands, and meadows which supports life for many bird species, horses, and bulls. It’s also the reason why Camargue is the only rice cultivating region in France. So, it may come as no surprise that Camargue is designated as a World Heritage Site.
If you’re planning a visit to Camargue, consider my recommendations for the 10 best things to do:
- See flamingos at the Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau
- Visit the pink salt lakes in Salin d’Aigues-Mortes
- Climb up the church tower in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for a panoramic view
- Eat fresh seafood at La Cabane Aux Coquillages
- Take a boat trip with Tiki III on Le Petit Rhône
- Go horseback riding through Camargue Natural Park
- Try a typical bull dish at Restaurant Le Duende
- Visit the lesser known pink salt lakes at Salin de Giraud
- Explore Aigues-Mortes on foot
- Walk on the fortified walls of Aigues-Mortes for a panoramic view
See flamingos at the Ornithological Park of Pont de Gau and other bird species
That’s right! Flamingos can be found in the south of France and there are so many.
Camargue is home to countless bird species thanks to its climate, especially during their winter migration south.
If you visit the park in the evening, you could get the chance to witness the feeding of the flamingos.
Visit the pink salt lakes in Aigues-Mortes (Salin d’Aigues-Mortes)
Pink salt lakes are a very unique, beautiful phenomenon, and if you’re ever considering a road trip through the South of France, then you have the chance to visit the pink lakes found in Camargue.
The salt lakes exist right outside the fortified city walls of Aigues-Mortes.
If you want to visit the salt lakes in the shortest amount of time, I recommend taking the petit train tour. It lasts 1 hour 15 minutes and costs about €11.
If you have plenty of time, then consider going on the walking or bike tour.
Climb up the church tower in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer for a panoramic view
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is the quintessential seaside town of Camargue. It’s very flat so this means you don’t have to go very high to get a panoramic view of the town. The best place in town is climbing up the Church of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
For just 3€, you can walk up a few flights of stairs to have a beautiful panoramic view of the white buildings and orange rooftops that make up Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. You get a 360-degree view of the town and could even sit on the roof if you’re not yet ready to walk back down.
Eat fresh seafood at La Cabane Aux Coquillages
If you’re a fan of seafood, you don’t want to miss out on La Cabane Aux Coquillages in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. This restaurant is simple and no frills, but the menu is sure to make your mouth water!
The menu at La Cabane Aux Coquillages is categorized by shelled fish (coquillages in French), shellfish (crustacés), fish (poissons), and fried fish (fritures).
They also offer special deals such as getting 1 glass of wine, and 6 oysters or an order of tellines for about 8€.
Another perk about this place is that it is open past 2 PM, when other restaurants are normally closed.
Take a boat trip with Tiki III on Le Petit Rhône
Tiki III is a unique way to see the animal species that call the Camargue home. You’ll be on a boat with access to indoor and outdoor seating, a toilet and a mini snack bar.
While you go up and down Le Petit Rhône, there will be a French speaking guide explaining your surroundings and even pointing out the species of birds you come across.
At the peak of the tour, you will see horses, cattle and bulls. Check out their official website to check the latest departure times and prices for tickets.
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Go horseback riding through Camargue Natural Park
Camargue is synonymous with horse and cattle herding. There are so many stables in Camargue that you won’t run out of options for touring the park on horseback.
Depending on how much time you have and your comfort level, you can choose a horseback tour that lasts from just a couple hours to a half day to a full day.
Try a typical bull dish at Restaurant Le Duende
While visiting Camargue, I ate at several great restaurants and Le Duende, in Aigues-Mortes, was no exception.
You’re surrounded by some of the most unique and cool decor while enjoying Le Duende’s delicious 30€ menu, which includes an appetizer, main dish and dessert.
If you’re not a vegetarian, you have the option to try one of a few bull (“taureau” in French) dishes Le Duende has on their menu. I had the burger while my partner had the filet. Their beef carpaccio was seasoned well, and they had a very original dessert option!
Visit the lesser known pink salt lakes at Salin de Giraud
If you have the time and want to see another salt lake, then consider a visit to Salin de Giraud. Salin de Giraud is a 1-hour drive away from Aigues-Mortes, home to another salt lake in Camargue.
Looking for an even more off the beaten path activity in Camargue? Salin de Giraud is further away from the sites in Camargue, which probably means you’ll be away from the summer crowds.
While you’re there, visit the sandy Piémanson beach, or Beauduc beach for some kite-surfing.
Spend a few hours exploring Aigues-Mortes on foot
Aigues-Mortes is one of the very popular towns in this region, and I can totally understand why! Aigues-Mortes is a small town completely surrounded and protected by a fortified wall.
Within the city walls, it’s the perfect town to explore by foot. You’ve got narrow streets, many of which are pedestrian only. Aigues-Mortes is so small, you could actually explore it all within a day (or less!).
Take advantage of visiting a local market in Aigues-Mortes to buy black or red rice, which is typical in this region. You will also find shops from local vendors selling their own olive oils and handcrafted items.
Be sure to visit the Notre Dame des Sablons Church and admire their uniquely stained windows. If you’re in the mood to eat, visit Le Dit Vin to eat a tasty meal prepared with local, fresh ingredients. Le Dit Vin is open from lunch through dinner.
Walk on the fortified walls of Aigues-Mortes for a panoramic view
This is one activity I regret not doing while in Aigues-Mortes. The towers and walls surrounding Aigues-Mortes were historically used for various reasons such as a defense mechanism and a prison.
Not only will walking on the walls give you an aerial view of Aigues-Mortes, but you could look beyond the wall and see the various shades of pink of the salt lakes that surround the town.
Accommodation in Camargue
Where to stay in Aigues-Mortes
If you choose to stay in Aigues-Mortes, it’s important to first consider your car situation. Parking within the city walls of Aigues-Mortes can be quite difficult, especially in the summer. Though some hotels within the city offer parking, be sure to see if you have to pay a daily fee. Also, keep in mind that the parking might be a bit tight so the smaller the car, the better.
When in doubt, do what I did: find accommodation just outside the city walls! I stayed at Hotel Canal Aigues Mortes, and it was only a 10 minute walk to Aigues-Mortes.
Where to stay in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
If you want to stay in a small beach town, which gives me “small Portugese coastal towns” vibes, then consider a stay in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer sits on the seaside and is a very flat town, making it a low-stress getaway. It’s accessible by car. Once you park, feel free to explore on foot. While many of the roads allow cars, there are some pedestrian only streets.
Some of the best seafood spots are located in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. There’s even some stiff competition on which gelateria has the best ice cream in town.
I hope this article has been super useful for you! If you need any insights or advice, feel free to contact me.
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