The Rhone delta is a wilderness that man has never stopped trying to tame, but it is above all a land of culture in every sense of the word. Escapade on board the new electric Mercedes EQC. The Camargue in freedom.
Watch the film of this trip
Ready to go a long way
The Mercedes EQC was not the first all-electric car to wear the three-pointed star (that was the A-Class E-Cell). But it was the German brand’s first electric vehicle (EV), with no gasoline or diesel version… Continue reading…
Powerful and proud, the Camargue seems to taunt the centuries. Its rugged and wild landscapes still possess, today, this primitive force that modernity has never been able to tame.
1000 KM BY ELECTRIC CAR
DAY 1From Paris NEAR. 689 km – Time 7H24
Before taking the road to the Alpilles, there is nothing to stop you from taking the pulse of the papal city. When I arrived in Avignon, I discovered its illustrious Saint-Bénézet Bridge, its palace of impressive dimensions (the largest gothic building in the world) as well as its original museums, which make it a Provencal must-see, even when its festival is not animating the streets of the city center.
I put my bags down in Les Baux-de-Provence, in a Provençal farmhouse in the noble sense of the word, with its old sun-drenched stones, the shade of its umbrella pines, the bees buzzing around the lavender and the gentle way of life typical of the South. Magnificently renovated, the building is set in a large Mediterranean garden and offers rooms, suites and mazets, depending on whether you are staying as a couple or as a group. Its table honors the Provencal soil with its sunny and tasty dishes. To refresh yourself, you can count on the large pool or on the secular thickness of the walls that house the sober but well-designed rooms, where comfort is paramount.
The Best Hotel in Provence
Lovers of places steeped in history, contemporary art, wilderness, design or adventure, Provence offers an incredible diversity of hotels. Addresses of charm or contemporary boutique hotels, the selection of the best hotels in the region. Continue Reading…
DAY 2NEAR. 41 km – Time 40 min.
LES BAUX DE PROVENCE
The ancient site of Glanum, at the gates of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, represents an exceptional architectural ensemble. The local elites knew how to take advantage of the natural resources, from the perennial spring to the limestone, to adorn the city with a monumental setting unique in Provence. Located in the heart of the Alpilles massif, at the crossroads of major traffic routes, the Gallic city was bathed in Greek and then Roman influences and experienced its full development from the 2nd century BC. From the viewpoints, enjoy an exceptional panorama of the site before coming to enjoy the pleasure of its sacred spring.he fort, now in ruins, was built in the 11th century for the lords of Baux. The extraordinary semi-troglodytic fortress, located on a rocky bar on the southern flank of the Alpilles mountains overlooking the village, is one of the oldest feudal establishments in Europe. On the site are exhibited reconstructions of medieval siege machines: the largest trebuchet in France (16 meters high), a ballista (or catapult), a battering ram, a bricole and a couillard.
These machines perform daily shooting demonstrations with real projectiles. The site of the castle of Les Baux also offers a superb panorama typically of Provence: the olive groves, the garrigue, the Alpilles, the surrounding villages (Maussane-les-Alpilles, Le Paradou). On a clear day, the view extends to the Mediterranean Sea.
DAY 3NEAR. 24 km – Time 31 min.
Arles’ appetite for the arts is not new. As the collections of the Museum of Ancient Arles testify, the Romans, 2,000 years ago, had already made the Camargue capital -anachronistic description- a land of creation. In more recent history, it is to Vincent van Gogh that we owe the immortalization of this corner of Provence. Under the impetus of the patron Maja Hoffmann – who spent her entire childhood here – the Roman city exhibits each year at least one work by the Dutch impressionist in a museum bearing the painter’s name. In the city, you can easily follow in his footsteps. In the Place du Forum, you can sip a “Pac à l’eau” (lemon syrup made in the neighboring Vaucluse) in the café where Vincent painted Terrasse du café in the evening. If the Yellow House where he lived was bombed in 1944 and the night on the Rhone is now less starry because of the artificial lights of the city, the Arena is still as lively while the Langlois Bridge still dominates the same canal. The courtyard painted by Van Gogh in the city center is no longer that of the hospital but of a space that bears his name. On the contemporary level, the Luma foundation likes to exhibit the creation of the moment at the foot of a tower signed by Frank Gehry. A symbol of a city in movement, it overlooks former SNCF workshops.
DAY 4 to 5NEAR. 38 km – Time 27 min.
I settle down for two nights at the edge of the pond of Launes. This is where the farmhouse has installed its building and its trailers. Yes, its trailers! For a very pleasant and colorful gypsy chic experience. I assure you, for those who prefer the more standard comfort of a room will also have the choice, from classic rooms to more spacious suites. All rooms are uniquely decorated. White dominates – Camargue obliges – as does the sobriety of the furnishings. The charm and pleasure do not stop there, as a spa is available, as well as an outdoor pool overlooking the pond. Finally, and even if “les Saintes” are only 10 minutes away by car.
The road leading to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer from Arles or Saint-Gilles (whose facade is a Unesco World Heritage Site) is a change of scenery in itself. Seemingly inhospitable, the surrounding land is in fact unfathomably rich.
The Camargue is not only a rice-growing area, but also home to a very eclectic fauna. Let’s skip the mosquitoes, because the bulls, the horses (Camargue horses of course) and the pink flamingos bring a much more picturesque touch to these landscapes.
To observe the birds, the Ornithological Park of Pont-de-Gau along the RD 570 is a must. Less known, the Petit Rhône Reserve in Sylvéréal also offers a walk in the heart of 70 wild hectares. Numerous horseback rides are possible across the pond.
Once in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a visit to the church is a must… as well as the tasting of tellines (small shells fished in the sand) in one of the many restaurants, of your choice, located on the seafront.
DAY 6 to 7NEAR. 29 km – Time 29 min.
The ramparts of Aigues-Mortes protect the city from the bad winds. As soon as you enter the embankments, you are immersed in another world, far from the new city that is growing outside the city walls.
The city, enclosed in its quadrilateral of high walls perfectly closed, holds its soul in secret. The houses, huddled together along the straight streets like a cannon’s lookout, crouched under the rampart, whose height they must not exceed, are the property of families from Aigues-Mortes, salt and sea workers. Small medieval elements appear on the facades. A Corinthian pilaster, a mullion, an acanthus leaf, a gargoyle… recall the glorious past of the first port of the kingdom of France open to the Mediterranean. Outside of the summer crowds, this city gives up its ghostly knights whose names are full of faith and courage. Towards the end of the day, you must pass through the Queen’s gate and walk on the vast grassy expanse, then turn around to face the rampart touched by the grace of a red sunbeam.
This exceptional region does not lack exceptional sites. Thus, between the ponds of the Camargue and the jagged terrain of the Alpilles, you will find Arles, its Roman amphitheater, its Luma Foundation and its famous photography festival. Further west, Nîmes also has a wonderfully preserved Roman arena, an admirable Pont du Gard and a superbly renovated Maison Carrée. This week in Provence and the Camargue has made me want to extend my trip to the South of France, such as to beautiful Aix-en-Provence, with its mansions, its artistic atmosphere and the terraces of its “cafés” in the shade of plane trees…. To be discovered soon.
NEW! If you are interested in this trip, contact me on Whatspp for more information, recommendations.