The 9 most beautiful villages in the Camargue

Les plus beaux villages de Camargue

What about a visit to a Camargue village while you’re in the famous nature park? Follow the guide, for a total immersion in Camargue traditions!

The Camargue, a protected natural park with exceptional flora and fauna, is also a land of traditions, festivities and gourmet delights… And above all, it’s incredibly beautiful! Come and discover this place where rice and salt are grown, and where horses and bulls are raised in semi-freedom in manades run by gardians. These animals are the object of a veritable cult and are at the center of all the popular festivals, known in the region as fêtes votives. Another Camargue spectacle: the pink flamingos that add a colorful touch to the ponds and salt marshes… Enough to make your lens quiver! As you can see, the Camargue is a magical place in France. Discover it through one of its symbols: the village of Camargue. Set a course for these enchanting places…

1. Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Village de Camargue :  Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Photo credit: Shutterstock – kavram

Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer isn’t just a Camargue village… it’s THE capital of the Camargue! This small fishing town with its white houses is also known as the « home of the gypsies ». This is where the annual pilgrimage in honor of Saint Sara takes place. For several days, the town is alive with flamenco and guitar music.

But Les Saintes-Marie-de-la Mer is also home to pretty cobbled streets, the Port Gardian and fine sandy beaches. On the Etang des Launes, bulls, horses and pink flamingos mingle, with the Mediterranean as a backdrop. And if you like to glide, head for the speed channel near the port, specially designed for windsurfing fans.

2. Le Grau-du-Roi

Port et village du Grau-du-Roi

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Picturereflex

Le Grau-du-Roi is in fact part of what is known as the Petite Camargue. Situated in the Gard department, this very touristy seaside resort also perfectly reflects the art of living and the traditions of the Camargue. During the 8-day fête votive, the town is alive with bullfighting entertainment in the streets and arenas, set to a lively musical backdrop. And don’t miss the jousting matches on the channel. Another of the village’s emblematic traditions, it’s a real sport in its own right in this Camargue village.

Le Grau du Roi is also the Camargue village with the #1 trawl fishing port in the Mediterranean. Every evening, the return to port and unloading of the trawlers is a sight (and smell) to behold. Then there’s the marina, with its evocative name: Port Camargue. It’s Europe’s No. 1 marina, and the world’s No. 2… A dream come true, with thousands of boats, each more beautiful than the last.

For moments of relaxation, head to the mythical Espiguette beach, which stretches over 10 km. For a breath of fresh air, there’s nothing like a bike ride along the Espiguette greenway, a stroll through the Boucanet pine forest or even a boat trip to the salt marshes!

3. Aigues-Mortes

Aigues-Mortes

Photo credit: Shutterstock – pixelshop

Aigues-Mortes is another not-to-be-missed village in the Petite Camargue, with a marked history. The medieval era has left its mark on the town, with the most striking feature becoming its emblem: its ramparts. Inside, discover and enjoy the old town. Admire the Tour de Constance and the church of Notre-Dame-des-Sablons, and take a break in Place Saint-Louis. This is the perfect place to discover the town’s culinary specialties, such as the unmissable fougasse d’Aigues-Mortes, a delicious brioche flavored with orange blossom. Or let yourself be tempted by a glass of Vin Gris de Gris, IGP Sable-de-Camargue. Bullfighting culture also plays a major role here, and the Saint-Louis festival in August is the perfect time to get in on the action!

Beyond the great gateway of the ramparts, the spectacle becomes more natural, and simply breathtaking. Discover the famous Salins du Midi, the salt production area that is Aigues-Mortes’ main economic resource. Open to the public, you can watch salt workers harvesting the white gold, as well as thousands of birds, including the inevitable pink flamingos.

4. Saint-Laurent d’Aigouze

Saint-Laurent d'Aigouze

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Albachiaraa

Almost on the doorstep of Aigues-Mortes, discover Saint-Laurent d’Aigouze. It’s the ideal place if you want to enjoy the peace and quiet, and avoid the crowds of tourists who flock to the surrounding villages. The Place de la République, where Saint-Laurent church proudly stands, is the heart of the village.

This Mecca of Camargue racing is surrounded by an area of over 8,000 hectares, where rice cultivation predominates. The surrounding rice fields are dominated by the Tour Carbonnière, a former watchtower now open to the public. A breathtaking panoramic view.

5. Le Sambuc

Le Sambuc

Photo credit: Instagram – konsti.graphy

Le Sambuc is a village of 600 inhabitants belonging to the commune ofArles. Due to its location, it is considered by some to be « the capital of the Camargue »… Les Saintes Maries de la Mer can look after itself!

Here, the specialty is bull breeding and rice cultivation. This Camargue village is reputed to boast some of the region’s finest mas, such as Mas de Peint and Mas de la Tour du Cazeau. Check them out for yourself by booking a dinner at one of the restaurants or even an overnight stay at one of these exceptional manades.

A not-to-be-missed event in Sambuc is the Féria du Riz in September. It’s an opportunity to watch a fine equestrian show, and sample the delights of the region to the sound of bandas.

6. Gallician

Gallician

Photo credit: Instagram – carenbrault

Gallician is a small village of less than 1000 inhabitants, located in the heart of the Petite Camargue, at the foot of the Costières plateau and its vineyards. The village’s main activity is winegrowing.

This Camargue village has a delightful little marina on the banks of the Rhône canal.

It’s the ideal starting point for discovering the authentic Camargue. Greenways, mountain bike trails, hiking trails (GR 653, GR 42), ViaRhôna and other tourist loops await you from the port of Gallician.

Not far from the village, at Les Iscles, discover the incredible 146-hectare Scamandre regional nature reserve. An opportunity to discover a unique biodiversity!

7. Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône

Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône

Photo credit: Instagram – educ2paix

Welcome to Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, another delightful Camargue village. Like its neighbors, it has all the codes and symbols of the Camargue: manades, pink flamingos, horses, salt marshes and beaches!

Coming to Port Louis is also an opportunity to visit an authentic Guardian hut, or the unique Ferrigno fish cannery. Another typical activity is exploring the marshes aboard a traditional boat called a « nègo-chin ». Fishermen maneuver this light craft brilliantly, standing upright and maneuvering with a long stick called a « partego ».

Finally, the Tour Saint Louis is not to be missed. It features a permanent exhibition on the 1st floor dedicated to Camargue ornithology, and a temporary exhibition room dedicated to art on the 2nd floor. From the roof, you can enjoy a superb view of the Camargue, the Canal Saint Louis, the mouth of the Grand Rhône and the salt marshes.

8. Le Cailar

Le Cailar

Photo credit: Instagram –
brigittenierhaus

In the early 20th century, Le Cailar was dubbed « the Mecca of Camargue bullfighting ». Two curiosities give it a unique touch. The first is the signage, unique in France, created by artist François Boisron, based on the principles of contemporary art. The second is the tomb of the « Sanglier » bull, located at the entrance to the village, erected here in honor of the famous cocardier (valiant bull) of the Fernand Granon manade.

This Camargue village is a delight to explore, with its narrow circular streets leading to a number of attractive buildings. To name but a few, there’s the 11th-century Romanesque church, the 17th-century troop barracks, the listed wooden arena, the clock and the washhouses.

9. Salin de Giraud

Salin de Giraud

Photo credit: Flickr – Claude Valette

Located 40km from Arles, Salin de Giraud is a small Camargue village of 2,000 inhabitants. As its name might suggest, salt mining is… omnipresent. Don’t miss the spectacular camelles de sel, long white hills or salt mountains. The best way to visit the Salins de Giraud is by bike, thanks to a circuit of trails that criss-cross the area and offer an unforgettable spectacle.

The wide, wild beach of Piémanson, with its seven kilometers of fine sand, is also a unique place to relax. It’s also a famous kite surfing spot!

Map of hotels and accommodation – Aigues-Mortes,fr