The Camargue, South of France
The Camargue, South of France

Do you want to enjoy some of the most authentic pleasures of the South of France and none of the hassles? Then pack quickly and waste no time heading for one of the most well-preserved and enchanting places on earth: Camargue.  South of Arles and west of Marseille, this natural paradise will make you feel miles away from the relentless crowds and countless cultural events that characterize the more famous destinations in Provence and the French Riviera.

In Camargue, you will find experience a marshy plain, rice paddies, salt pans, wild white horses, black bulls and 400 different species of birds, including the pink flamingo, which is the honored symbol of the area. Officially declared a National Park over four decades ago, this proud region and its inhabitants fiercely defend the unique flora and fauna while still warmly welcoming adventurous visitors. Traditions are kept alive too as the annual Gypsy Pilgrimage, whose main ceremony will take place on May 24-25 this year, can attest.

On this occasion, gypsies come from all over the world to worship their Saint, Sara the Black. They settle all over the place for over a week so that they have the time to get together and have their children baptized in the Church of the Saints in the capital of Camarque, Saintes Maries de la Mer. In this church, the shrine of Saint Sara is taken down on May 24, when the gypsies carry Sara’s statue to the sea to symbolize her waiting and the welcoming of the Saint Maries from the sea. Later, everybody goes back to the church in a joyful procession. Sara’s statue, clad in a multicolored dress and jewelry, is then placed back in the crypt of the church, to the right of the altar.

If you want to witness this remarkable tradition, or simply unwind in a beautiful region, New York Habitat has plenty of fully furnished accommodations for you to choose from in Arles, the popular Roman town right outside the northern part of Camargue.

For a large party, you cannot go wrong with our comfortable and rustic furnished 3-bedroom – Arles Center – PR 915, a stone’s throw from the Roman amphitheater, the antique arena and the place du forum. The small terrace comes with sweeping views over the Old Town and the Alpilles mountains.

Nine kilometers outside the city, we have a big furnished 5-bedroon vacation rental – Rapheles les Arles – PR 642 that will make you and your friends or family feel right at home. The house can accommodate up to 10 people, and boasts a swimming pool and beautiful garden.

Another typical farmhouse, also called “mas”, is our furnished 4-bedroom vacation rental – Maussane Les Alpilles – PR 672 in the nearby Maussane les Alpilles. An expansive garden and pool are part of the package and may even turn you into a part-time homebody. But we bet you’ll still feel enticed to go out on the town as well as explore the rugged Alpilles mountains.

If you’ve ever been to this incredible region please share your impressions below!