Excursion 4: Arles and the Camargue


Arena in Arles
Arles is about 1 hour drive from Cucuron (drive west to Merindol, Mallemort, Lemanon, Eygieres and down to the motorway A54/N113 to Arles). Take exit 5 - Centre Ville from the motorway and follow for Centre Ville. You will soon meet the main street south of the old town - Boulevard Georges Clemenceau / Dec Lices, and turn right up this boulevard (eastwards). The tourist office is quickly on your right, but we suggest you drive on a few hundred yards and park in the P-house on the right.

Arles has a very charming Old Town (do not drive here; very narrow streets!) with a good selection of restaurants and shops. The main attractions are the ancient Roman Arena, the Antique Theatre and the great cathedral of Saint Trophime Cloitre. People interested in Photography probably already knows that Arles is the world's largest meeting place for photography every year in July and almost all the 50-70 photo exhibitions can be seen till the middle of September.


Camargue is the huge estuary of the river Rhone. The area is very large and  this description provides a brief introduction to a small area of ​​the Camargue to the east, where one always sees lots of flamingos in a classical landscape. Swimming in the sea is also possible. Take the D36 south toward SALINAS de Giraud and take the C139 right at Peaudure or the D36C to the right just before SALIN (if you miss C139). Follow D36C in northwestern direction to the T-junction on the map, where you turn left down C135 westward out to sea. The best place to see flamingos appears almost immediately. They walk and wade and do a lot of flights overhead.

You could choose to drive on a bit longer on the gravel road that goes on the piers, or simply walk. If you drive on for 2 km., you could park and walk further all the way to the actual beach (requires detailed map and it takes at least one hour each way. But the beach is not very good here.

Returning, you could follow the road D36C going north. It runs along the Etang de Vaccarès, with many places for bird watching. For a proper beach, however, drive the D36 until SALIN and continue the road further south (D36D) to Plage de Piemanson. The huge "salt mountains" will also be located south of Salinas. At Salin, there is also a ferry across the Rhone.

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