The Camargue lies to the south of Arles, in the Rhone River Delta. It is western Europe’s largest river delta consisting of a large plain with large brine lagoons (etangs) cut off from the sea by sandbars and reed covered marshes. The Parc Regional de Camargue was created in 1970 in recognition of the fact that this area is a haven for over 400 species of wild birds including the flamingo. The pastures provide grazing for sheep, and the small white horses, ridden by “guardians” (cowboys), who traditionally lived in thatched huts (“cabanes”), who still play their part in keeping Camarguaise traditions alive.
There are few towns of any size in the Camargue – Arles being its capital, located at the north end of the delta. The other towns of note are: Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, which is the site of the annual Roma Pilgrimage for the veneration of Saint Sarah; and the medieval fortress town of Aigues-Mortes from where the knights departed for the Crusades.