Camargue, Provence, France
Black bulls, white horses and pink flamingos is the famous trio of Camarge. Just top up with the numerous beaver cousins called Ragondins, ducks, swans, herons and other species that attract bird watchers from all over the world; you soon feel like staying in a wild zoo.
In the giant nature park that is Camargue, I also love the traditional houses with thatched roofs and one rounded side North, against the mistral winds in winter. Try staying in one at Auberge Cavalière http://www.aubergecavaliere.com
Then visit the bulls chez mythical Alexandre, third generation bull breader http://www.manadeclauzel.com. Don’t miss El Greco, Camarue bull champion and star.
Here, the bull IS the celebrity and worshipped star. The biggest fiestas, two every year, are the yearly bulls races in the narrow alleys of Arles and a multitude of relatively peaceful bull fightings all over Camargue (they don’t kill here, at least not the bull, the matador may be hurt though, but not the bull) in various arenas, which is admittedly on many peoples bucket list as well.
Finally: go riding on the white Camargue horses. Experienced riders go for a gallop on the beach, beginners stay trotting in goose march, but will still experience the landskape with lagoons and flamingos.
We went for a tour with La Palunette, Route d’Arles, Les saintes maries de la mer. The owner Patricia and her husband are real horse people and very nice indeed. The web page will eventually come, but there is a Facebook page : a cheval a la palunette.
Flamingos are everywhere in Camargue, but close up pics of flamingos are best taken in the Camargue ornithological park, just north of Saintes Marie de la Mer. The centre has kilometres of trails and is home to many varieties of waterfowl, including flamingos, egrets and herons. Here, you will even find a bird hospital.
A final hotel recommendation: Lodge Sainte Helene. Shaker clean, beautiful and with stunning views of Camargue sunsets in the delta.. http://www.lodge-saintehelene.com