For many of us, touring to Southern France evokes ideas of idyllic seaside resorts, flowers blowing in breezes, and eating on beautiful seafood. World vacationers usually overlook the picturesque rice paddies, horses, bulls, and ecotourism. You may uncover this particular space with a go to to a area generally known as Camargue. This text shares what Camargue is understood for and why it’s a should see space of Southern France.
The place is Camargue positioned?
Camargue is a triangular-shaped pure area in Southern France bordered by the Mediterranean Sea and the 2 arms of the Rhône delta: the Grand Rhône to the east and the Petit Rhône to the west.
Arles is the northernmost metropolis Arles, a coastal metropolis in Southern France is the northernmost metropolis within the area. It’s located on the Rhône River within the Provence Area. Arles is finest recognized for uplifting artist Van Gogh’s work. As soon as a significant metropolis of historic Rome, Arles has a number of historic ruins to see from the period resembling les Arènes d’Arles (Arles Amphitheatre). The amphitheater nonetheless hosts live shows, performs, and bullfights.
The Petit Camargue is a western part of the area and the placement of the city of Aigues-Mortes, inhabitants 8,000. Aigues-Mortes is a medieval metropolis that also has Thirteenth-century partitions and an enormous spherical tower. Town has a protracted historical past that dates again to 100 BC and should have been inhabited by the Romans. Salt-mining was practiced lengthy earlier than this time and nonetheless is. The present salt-mining space known as the Salins du Midi.
At one time, Aigues-Mortes was concerned with French kings. It was a seaport city and a key protection web site. The seventh and eighth crusades to Jerusalem departed from right here throughout the Thirteenth century. Time, water motion, and improvement by people modified the seaport city in order that solely the canals and the city of Le Grau-du-Roi separate it from the Mediterranean Sea.
Protected Pure Space: Europe’s largest river delta.
Camargue’s land space of over 930 km2 (360 sq mi) makes it the most important river delta in Western Europe. Because it’s a listed-UNESCO reserve, the land and its wildlife are protected. Moreover, this finish of the coast isn’t closely traveled by vacationers. These elements have allowed the area to flourish with a lesser-known profile.
The delta has been a hidden pure gem for many years, and the wetlands are a haven for nature buffs within the distinctive wildlife. The area is legendary for wild white horses, pink flamingos, and black bulls, and is house to over 400 species of birds. Guests who come right here quickly uncover that the Camargue is a biosphere. Horseback using excursions go away the paths and take them to the marshlands to get immersed within the surrounding flora and think about uncommon fauna that tends to keep away from roads and trails with visitors.
The animals that graze the marshlands are raised in semi-feral situations. They roam throughout the delta in a “manade“, or free-running herd. The animals function a guardian of the herds and the land.
Bulls and horses: an historic custom
Bulls are sometimes used for sport within the delta, and in contrast to Spain, Southern France honors the bull because the hero of the game reasonably than hurting or killing it. Course Camarguaise, translated actually as Camargue racing, is a novel recreation of threat during which males referred to as raseteurs attempt to win a footrace with bulls whereas grabbing and eradicating tassels from their horns.
Bull races occasions are held from spring by autumn on the native arenas in and close to the Camargue. The human interactions and video games with the bulls have created a tradition of La Bouvine or the “world of bulls.” The tradition consists of the breeders, the cowboys on their white horses, and the townspeople who run with the bulls at native festivals.
The sleek white horses roaming wild on the delta are from one of many oldest breeds. The native cowboys use a number of the horses for herding and rounding up the black bulls whereas others are semi-wild. Just like the bulls, the horses are revered and revered. They obtain a particular blessing in a ceremony that’s a part of a conventional celebration referred to as Gardian Day celebrated yearly on the primary day of Might.
The land right here is understood for greater than bulls and cowboys and their horses.
Not solely have people survived on the delta, they’ve flourished for greater than a thousand years. They did this by constructing dams and drainage, rice paddies, and saltpans which might be nonetheless functioning right this moment. Rice and salt have been harvested right here for the reason that center ages.
The area is right for rising rice because of an abundance of sunshine, recent water from the Rhône River, and mistral wind, a dry, chilly wind that blows from the north alongside the decrease river valley towards the Mediterranean Sea. The rice fields cowl about 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of land.
Crimson rice is a well-liked product within the space. A bag of it is a wonderful memento to take house from Southern France. The natural rice is scrumptious in curries and has a number of wholesome antioxidants.
Vegetables and fruit additionally develop properly right here, and fields of sunflowers add to the area’s beautiful magnificence. Vineyards have been cultivated within the area for the reason that 14th century. Vin de Camargue isn’t recognized internationally however is fascinating and scrumptious. Most wines from the area are rosés or gris de gris, a shade of pink that’s nearly gray.
Maybe probably the most uncommon wine discovered right here is Vin des Sable. “Sand wine” is produced in sea sands. The sandy soil and salt air velocity up the maturation of the grapes creating a novel taste.
The harvesting of salt has been necessary to this area of Southern France since Roman instances and stays so right this moment. Salt from the marshes is harvested from the tidal marshes of Aigues-Mortes for chemical, industrial, and pharmaceutical makes use of. The manufacturing begins within the spring when the tides carry recent water from the ocean inland by a sequence of canals. Mild winds and daylight assist the evaporation course of making the water even saltier. The ultimate combination is unfold out over a clay pond and the floor of the water turns into saturated with a culinary delicacy generally known as fleur de sel or “flower of salt.”
Aigues Mortes can also be visited for its historic significance. Take a day to discover the walled medieval city from the 1200s that King Louis IX had constructed. The primary French port on the Mediterranean Sea, town options medieval structure and was a sanctuary for Protestants throughout the 14th and fifteenth centuries. Big towers served as prisons for residents who denied Roman Catholicism throughout the late seventeenth century. When the French king annexed Provence and Marseille, the city misplaced its buying and selling rights however because of its strategic location, Aigues Mortes retained its navy credentials.
Magnificence, custom, historical past, and wildlife are just a few of the explanations that make the Camargue Area a should see space of Southern France. Come and expertise up shut the proud white horses, stout black bulls, and sleek flamingos towards the backdrop of the pink-hued salt marsh close to the Rhone River and the Mediterranean Sea.