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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Quintessential to the mystique of the Provence region, La Camargue – the enormous Rhone delta just south of Arles – is Western Europe’s largest river delta and home to an important range of flora and wildlife, including nearly 400 species of bird. Almost 140,000 hectares are declared a national park.

Local tour operators in Arles and les Saintes-Maries offer 4WD drive wildlife safaris and zodiac river safaris into remote areas; in winter, sand yachting on the long empty beaches is also possible.

There are a number of cycle paths into the Camargue from the little coastal town of Les Saintes-Maries, where you can also find bikes to rent.

Other visitors come for the wild beaches by the picturesque seaside town of Les Saintes Maries-de-la-Mer, dominated by its famous fortified Romanesque church.

Gardians of the Camargue (French cowboys) 

The Park is also home to Provence’s famous gardians, local herdsmen who raise local breeds of bulls and horses. Gardians live on manades (ranches), many of which offer horse riding excursions.

You can visit a traditional manade: bulls are raised on these ranches for their meat and the Courses Camarguaises bull races. A good one to visit – with English speakers – is the Manade Gilbert Arnaud.

Recommended itineraries by our writers that include this experience

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The Camargue is vast, and although you can get a taste of it by car (the park boundaries begin 5km southwest of Arles), it’s best to get off the roads and explore on a guided tour, either by land or water. You can download a map from Arles Tourism’s website.

The Pont de Gau Ornithological Park is good for spotting some of the Camargue’s 400 species of birds, while the Marais Vigueirat has nature trails and offers guided wildlife excursions.

When to do it

You can go year-round, but spring and autumn are the best times to spot birds and other animals. August is the driest month, and can be very crowded, hot and the mosquitoes will be at their worst.

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Camargue 4x4 Safari 2 hours Saintes Maries de la Mer

Camargue 4x4 Safari 2 hours Saintes Maries de la Mer

Provence

Discovery of the Camargue on a 4x4 safari accompanied by a guide passionate about Camargue cultures. Discovery of horses, bulls, birds, pon...

€50 | Rating 4.36 / 5 [55 ratings]

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Arles and Camargue Small-Group Half-Day Tour from Avignon

Arles and Camargue Small-Group Half-Day Tour from Avignon

Avignon

Enjoy a small-group tour from Avignon to discover Arles and Camargues with an experienced guide. During this half day tour you will visit Ar...

€75 | Rating 4.82 / 5 [29 ratings]

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Small-Group Day Trip to the Camargue from Avignon

Small-Group Day Trip to the Camargue from Avignon

Avignon

You will be driven in a comfortable minivan and drive through the wild landscapes of the Camargue. Your guide will be happy to stop along th...

€110 | Rating 4.76 / 5 [21 ratings]

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Camargue 4x4 Safari Day

Camargue 4x4 Safari Day

Provence

At the heart of the Camargue Park, discover the Camargue Fauna & Flora thanks to a passionate guide! Passage in manades, breeding of bulls, ...

€130 | Rating 4.33 / 5 [9 ratings]

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Hotel Particulier Arles

Arles, Provence, France[6.6 miles]

Arles’s most luxurious boutique hotel occupies an elegant townhouse dating back to 1824; centrally located, opulently romantic and with a spa, garden and pool.

Official star rating:

Grand Hotel Nord Pinus

Arles, Provence, France[6.9 miles]

A stylish, storied hotel full of character and charm in the historic heart of Arles. Rich in local history, and a favourite of visiting bullfighters.

Official star rating:

Hotel B Design & Spa

Paradou, Provence, France[20.4 miles]

An intimate retreat: ultra-contemporary, minimalist hotel secluded in the olive groves under the Alpilles. Expect high design luxury suites, a spa and a gourmet restaurant tucked under the Les Baux-en-Provence castle.

Official star rating:

Baumaniere Hotel

Les Baux-de-Provence, Provence, France[20.9 miles]

Legendary country hotel and three-star Michelin restaurant, in a magical setting just below Les-Baux-en-Provence.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Provence

Provence, France

Gorgeous landscapes peppered with beautiful villages, sunflowers and lavender, art-filled towns, lively cultural festivals and exquisite food and wine. Provence is everything you imagined it would be.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Arles Museum of Antiquity

Arles, Provence, France[6 miles]

An archaeology museum housing a fascinating collection of sculptures, mosaics and much more from the ancient Arles region – artifacts date from prehistoric times until the 6th century AD.

Best for ages: 13+ | £5

Arles Amphitheatre

Arles, Provence, France[7.1 miles]

The biggest and one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres in France, where 20,000 would come to watch gladiators fight to the death.

Best for ages: 18+ | £8

Courses Camarguaises

Arles, Provence, France[7.1 miles]

Provence’s bloodless bullfights are one of the region’s most exciting and best-loved sports, a cultural phenomenon held in the magnificent Roman amphitheatre of Arles.

Best for ages: 8+ | £8 | 1+ hours

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

View into a graveyard with old ruin walls around
Experience

Les Alyscamps

Arles, Provence, France[6.8 miles]

An evocative, romantic Roman burial ground – once the most famous cemetery in medieval Europe. It’s the burial site of the legendary St Trophime and the first bishops of Arles, and remains an important stop on the pilgrimage to Compostela.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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A low white wall painted with Van Gogh's signature
Experience

Vincent Van Gogh Foundation

Arles, Provence, France[6.9 miles]

Arles is world-famous thanks to Van Gogh, but to the city’s eternal regret no one bought any of his paintings. This foundation, in the newly renovated Hotel Leautaud de Donines, is dedicated to art exhibitions inspired by the artist.

Best for ages: 18+ | £9

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Olive oil tasting at Moulin Castelas
Experience

Olive oil tasting at Moulin Castelas

Les Baux-de-Provence, Provence, France[22.7 miles]

In the stunning setting of Les Baux, learn all about Provence’s greeny-golden nectar on these free tastings of these award-winning oils. Open all year-round, but short walks through the olive groves and visits to the mill are also offered from June to September.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | 2 hours

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