La Camargue 2012

Typical Camargue landscape

Typical Camargue Landscape

On April 7, Vicki and I retraced the steps I had taken with Didier almost exactly three years before, though we got a slightly earlier start by spending the night in Arles. Our first stop was south of the small village of Gallician where a main canal that tuns roughly from west to east meets a secondary canal that departs from it at almost a right angle. By menas of a sluice gate, water from the main canal can be diverted to the slightly lower secondary canal. The Camargue, Europe's largest river delta, is all about water and its management, and it is surprisingly tricky to avoid floods while at the same time making sure that every part of the area receives enough water.

We then drove along the secondary canal to the Centre de découverte du Scamandre, a nearby nature preserve that offers several trails through typical Camargue landscapes. We choose the sentier de la fromagère which takes a little over an hour to complete if one takes the time to admire the scenery and take pictures. As we left, we spotted a few Camargue horses grazing along a canal, so we stopped to observe them for a while.

Click on any image to see a larger (1500 x 1000 pixel) version!

Near Gallician and the Etang du Scamandre

West-east canal near Gallicia Sluice gates and north-south canal near Gallician

West-east canal near Gallician

Sluice gates and north-south canal near Gallician


Marshlands Walkway to the bird observatory

Marshlands

Walkway to the bird observatory


Boardwalk Water on both sides!

Boardwalk

Water on both sides!


Wetlands Odd place for a fence...

Wetlands

Odd place for a fence...


Heading east on the 'sentier de la fromagère' Looking back

Heading east on the sentier de la fromagère

Looking back


Looking towards the 'Etang du Scamandre' Camargue landscape

Looking towards the Etang du Scamandre

Camargue landscape


Camargue horses The grass grows taller along the canal!

Camargue horses

The grass grows taller along the canal!

Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

Next, we made our way to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer ("The Saint Marys of the Sea"), the capital of the Camargue (see our earlier page to find our why this place is named after several Marys). Even though the population is fewer than 3,000 people (a number that swells to over 50,000 during the summer), it is definitely a small town and not a village. As I had done with Didier, we climbed on the roof of the fortified church after lunch; even though one is not that high up, the view is spectacular.


Seashore by 'Les Saintes-Maries de la Mer', the capital of the Camargue

Seashore by Les Saintes-Maries de la Mer, the capital of the Camargue


Pizzeria La Bodega Restaurant La Coupo Santo

Pizzeria La Bodega

Restaurant La Coupo Santo


Looking northeast from the church roof The view to the north

Looking northeast from the church roof

The view to the north


Looking down from the church roof Girls having lunch

Looking down from the church roof

Girls having lunch


Getting ready for the tourists The 'Rue Corneille'

Getting ready for the tourists

The Rue Corneille

Parc ornithologique de Pont de Gau

Our last stop that day was the Parc ornithologique de Pont de Gau, a bird sanctuary about three miles north of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. On a surface of 60 hectares (almost 150 acres), and walking along 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) of clearly marked trails, one can observe a bewildering number of birds in their natural habitat: Flamingos, Egrets Herons, ducks... and as most of these creatures emit sounds of various kinds, things can get rather noisy at times. Before heading back home, we crossed the street and went to look at (and pet) a few Camargue horses.


Flamingos Taking a closer look

Flamingos

Taking a closer look


Red-crested Pochard "Oh, go sit on it yourself!"

Red-crested Pochard

"Oh, go sit on it yourself!"


In the bird sanctuary Camargue landscape

In the bird sanctuary

Camargue landscape


Footbridge Side canal

Footbridge

Side canal


Heading back to the entrance Camargue horse

Heading back to the entrance

Camargue horse


Camargue horse At the watering hole

Camargue horse

At the watering hole

You can also visit a Gallery page of these and a few other Camargue photos, or watch the whole set as a slide show. For best results, move your mouse pointer over the image once the slide show starts and press the full screen button on the top right of the window. Enjoy!





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