Our5 essentials

Color Gitano (or Gypsy Colours - the debut single of the French artist, Kendji Girac)

Located in the heart of the Regional National Park of the Camargue, Saintes Maries de la Mer intrigues the numerous visitors that enter its walls. Famous for being home to gypsies, you will be enchanted to discover the colourful folklore which livens up the town.

From its height of 15 metres, the church of Notre Dame de la Mer (“Our Lady of the Sea”) dominates the town. Built in the 9th century to protect the population from the pirates of the day, it has nowadays become a genuine shrine glorifying Saint Sara (the ‘Black Madonna’), herself the symbol of the gypsy community. Climb upon the roof and the rampart walk to enjoy a beautiful panorama over the town and the Mediterranean.

Continue your visit via the arenas of the town, and do not forget to take a photo with Vovo, a famous Camargue bull, the statue of whom stands proudly in bronze in front of the gates. Every day, entertainment for the entire family is offered in the arenas: courses camarguaises (“an entirely harmless confrontation between man and a bull), bull swimming pool (the aim of which is for an alarmed bull to push children into a pool)…Find the programme of activities at the entrance.

Winged migration

Located in Pont de Gau, this natural 60 hectare space is punctuated by markers and observatories. Amidst the reeds, you will glimpse numerous animal species: woodcocks, storks and coypus developing and roaming freely. Two footpaths of 2 kilometres and 4 kilometres have been laid out amidst the marshes, to enable you to contemplate fowl by being as close as possible. At 6.30 p.m., feeding the pink flamingos is a show in itself.

Your entry ticket is valid for a whole day. You can therefore go for a walk in the morning and return here later. Entry to the park is until 7 p.m., but, that having been said, there is no specified closing time. You are therefore able to contemplate the fauna until the sun goes down.

Historic treasures

Planted amidst the marshes and hidden behind its 1,600 metres of ramparts, the medieval town of Aigues Mortes contains a multitude of hidden wonders. Allow 1 hour 30 minutes to tour the ramparts and the various towers. On your way, you will cross the Constance tower, a former prison 30 metres high offering, from the height of its terrace, a delightful view over the expanse of the Camargue. The informative signs scattered along the route inform you, a little more, about the history of these medieval buildings.

To end your walk with a blaze of glory, take a detour via the delightful Place St Louis and its central fountain. Sit down on one of the terraces to sip still lemonade in the shade of the plane trees.

French Cow Boy

Saddle up, for an exotic ride in the heart of the Camargue salt marshes. Owing to an algae present in the water from April to September, the salt marshes don their pink attire and provide a magical feel to this landscape, which is unique in the world. Horseback is the dream way to explore the hidden nooks and crannies of the wild Camargue. Amidst the salt marshes, you will surely come across wild animals such as lumpfish, coypus, wading birds and others…

You will also have the opportunity of covering the salt marshes by petit train (tourist train) including a visit of 1 hour 15 minutes with a stop at a museum, and a second to climb up a salt mountain, known in French as a “camelle”.


Climb aboard behind a pickup or a fitted out trailer, for an exotic trip, in the midst of a herd of bulls. Go out to meet the herdsmen, these cowboys of the Camargue who rear the powerful cattle. The majority of the Camargue bull herds offer the same programme to tourists, namely demonstration of bull sorting, mounting a horse, visiting their holdings and other activities… You can even extend your day by a typically Camargue meal with the following on the menu: tapenade, aïoli (garlic and olive oil) and the celebrated gardiane (stewed bull beef), all with gypsy music playing in the background. A genuine delight!

The small +

It is a fiesta!

Each 24th May, Saintes Maries de la Mer becomes the focus of gypsy culture. A genuine pilgrimage for all travellers from France and indeed Europe this meeting, impossible to miss, is the opportunity to revere their patron saint - Sara the Black Madonna. The festivities last for 8 to 10 days and are punctuated by processions, ceremonies and other celebrations.

The wild Camargue it’s:

300daysof wind
10,000hectaresof salt marshes
30,000extravagantpink flamingos

And if this were your nextBest holiday memory?