Sunday, 19 July 2015

White Horses of The Camargue

Many of us dream of visiting the Rhone delta, the sparsely populated area of southern France known as The Camargue. Like many other dreamers,  I imagined I was going to take lots of photographs of lovely white horses running out of the surf.

Truth to tell, that sort of picture has to be staged for the photographers by the traditional cowboys of The Camargue. The horses do not actually spend their time playing on the beach. Why would they?

So unless you're very lucky, you have to make do with a misty photograph of grazing horses taken through the window of a tour bus. A bit like the one on the left.

The most important town of the region, Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, of which I hope to write more later, has an off season population of below 3,000 but a summer population of 50,000.  There see to be innumerable  trekking establishments where you can ride the white horses amongst the salt marshes, winding your way between the many lakes and observing the fascinating wildlife.

To a person from northern latitudes, egrets and flamingos count as exotic, so it is astonishing to see the wild birds that flock to the reserve at Pont de Gau. I hope to write at greater length about that wonderful place too.

For now, however, I have still my dreams about what Camargue might have been like, if only I had been on my own and not surrounded by a crowd of other tourists such as myself!