I have always wanted to go to the Camargue region in the south of France. It is a vast plain of salt lagoons and marshes. It is, above all known for the white horses, bulls and pink flamingos along with a hugely diverse range of wild birds.. How on earth we were going to manage it on in a heat wave with Charlie in tow was going to be a challenge? It was hard work but turned out to be a good day with a couple of hitches!
We set off early as usual, by 6.30 we were out and on our way to go and collect the car, it was boiling, we found ourselves naturally walking in the shade, yes! at that time in the morning! The air con in the car was a welcome relief.
We drove along following the stupid Sat nav lady, (I can’t believe we haven’t shown her the door!) She showed her true colours later on in the day and I was all for throwing her in the nearest fountain!
We stopped on route to let Charlie stretch his legs, near a lake/lagoon with shaded parking under the pine trees.
We walked along and were delighted to be wafted by a wonderfully, fresh breeze. Even the birds seemed to be enjoying it and I’m sure they were just playing!!
I’m convinced this one was just diving in for a swim and to cool off!
We headed for Aigue Mortes a medieval town that is completely surrounded by city walls which have been beautifully preserved. Having been a little bit disappointed at Carcassonne (far too twee and commercialised) I decided I only wanted to see this town from the outside, after all it was the size of the town and the walls that interested me. Having Charlie with us, the heat rising I could see no point in visiting yet another town with winding streets and tourist shops. Had it been just the two of us, we may well have gone in but it would’ve been cruel to expect Charlie to make that trip. I wasn’t at all disappointed by the town walls, it’s really large and impressive.
As we got closer to the Camargue I was delighted to see some bulls, albeit in a field and not wild and roaming but are they fabulous?
And zooming in on this photo you can see the big bull in the centre rummaging in the dust!
This was a good sign, Little Miss Sat Nav seemed to be behaving until we came to this …
Yes, no more road!!! What was she playing at? In fact, we had to jump on a ferry! They run every 30 minutes and are free. I hate to admit it but it was an added bonus. It lasted all of 5 minutes but it was something a little different!
The scenery was lovely, we passed lots of lakes, salt lagoons, fields and farms, but it was dreadfully hot, we didn’t dare stop as the car heated up so quickly, we kept on going with the air con at full blast. We saw flocks of pink flamingos paddling in the lagoons and we did just manage to get a glimpse of some of the famous white horses.
We drove to a little town called Saintes Maries de la Mer which has a population of about 2500 people and this jumps to over 50,000 during July and August! It’s a really pretty little town full of little squares, full of cafes, shops and there are beautiful, lush trees (mulberry I think) lining all the roads and squares. I’m sure it is also a winner of floral town as there were flowers everywhere.
There were some novel roundabouts too!
Of course this town is in the Camargue proper and so as well as the usual touristy shops there was also a little something else on offer …
We sat at a cafe in a shady square and enjoyed some cool refreshment, the French aren’t renowned for their quick service and believe me it’s got a lot slower!! Even the locals are commenting on the heat! “Ooh la la, il fait chaud non?” Honestly, they’re beginning to sound a little bit like the British, all anyone is talking about is the weather! I’m sure it’s not normally like this but there are an awful lot of sweaty people down here (us included!!)
Our return back to Montpellier should’ve been pretty uneventful, however even with the Air con on, the car was warming up and we were very concerned for Charlie, so we pulled over into a shady layby and dowsed him with water and let him lie in the long grass until he was looking a little perkier! Back on the road, now cool and eager to get back to the cool apartment when Madame decided to play ‘silly buggers’ with us. Turn right, when it was a no entry, take the fourth exit at the roundabout when there were only two exits, and so it continued she ended up trying to take us down pedestrianized streets, one way roads and goodness knows what else, we did find our way home but no thanks to her! We’ll let her off as it was maybe the heat but I can tell you she is skating on thin ice at the moment!