Discovering Vaccarès by bike
Located in the center of the Camargue Regional Natural Park, the Vaccarès pond offers the opportunity to admire many migratory birds and flamingos. Its 6600 hectares make it the largest pond in the Camargue and has a rich diversity both in terms of its fauna and flora. Place of rest and feeding of many birds, you will appreciate its natural setting. To achieve this, you will discover Camargue wildlife, between marshes and rice fields!
The wooden arenas of Gimeaux
6 km from Arles is Gimeaux, a small Camargue village where fighting bulls are parked in corrales before the bullfights. Generally attached to the arena, these corrals are located in Nimes and Arles, located outside the city. Bulls can be seen by visitors and aficionados (bullfighting enthusiasts) before the show. They are then brought by truck to the toril, a room adjoining the arena where the bulls are locked before the start of the race or corrida.
The domain of Sainte-Cécile
The Grand Mar swamps
From the roadside of the Mas d'Agnon, it is possible to observe the the Grand Mar swamps. They are located north of the Vaccarès pond, which is nicknamed "The Grand Mar" since it is surrounded by the Rhone and the Mediterranean. These freshwater and rice swamps are home to many nesting birds such as herons, stilts, but also water warblers and terns. This is the area of ??Camargue most important for nesting Purple Heron.
The Vaccarès pond
The Vaccarès pond, brackish water, is located in the center of the Camargue National Nature Reserve and the Rhone delta. Because of its depth, 1.50 m and its area, about 6 600 ha, it is the deepest pond in Camargue but also the largest. Depending on the time of year and the weather, the light changes and the colours vary. Surrounded by the Petit Rhône, the Grand Rhone and the Mediterranean Sea, it is nicknamed "the Grand Mar".
The Camargue National Nature Reserve
The Camargue is both an extensive breeding ground (bulls and horses) but also a field crop area (rice and wheat). Cereal and oilseed crop growing areas occupy the uplands. The strong natural constraints that weigh on these productions require important investments in terms of irrigation and drainage. On the other hand, extensive rangeland systems are spread over natural environments (pastures, reed beds, marshes).
Rice farming has been present in the Camargue since the post-war period. Complex, this culture follows several stages: lifting, tillering, bolting, return and flowering. The land is flooded to promote the germination of rice grains and prevent the proliferation of fungi. Rice farming therefore requires freshwater irrigation and extensive drainage to develop the saltiest land. Huge amounts of water between the two arms of the Rhône (400 million m3 per year) are needed.
The domain of Bouchaud
Back to the Arles Tourist Office, turn left on boulevard des Lices then turn right on Gambetta street towards Trinquetaille. Cross the Rhone via the Pont de Trinquetaille and continue towards Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer by the streets of the Camargue and the Verrerie. Continue for 1.5 km on the Avenue de la Camargue. At the roundabout, take the C108 direction Gimeaux. Continue on the road to Gimeaux for 3 km.
1- Turn left towards the arenas. Turn left on the C112 after passing the arenas.
2 - Take a right onto the D570 and continue for 250 m. Head to the left on the Dougue road (C125). Continue straight for 1.5 km.
3 - Turn right on the C154, then at the junction, continue on the small path of Sainte-Cécile. Continue towards the Vaccarès pond
4 - Take a right on the intersection with the D37. Continue for 250 m to the observation point of the Mas Neuf Vaccarès set up by the Camargue Regional Natural Park. Go back to step 4. Stay on the D37 towards Arles, for more than 6 km. In Villeneuve, continue straight.
5 - Turn left in the bend, 500 m after the restaurant "Chez Bob", on the road to Romieu (C132).
6 - Continue on the left at the intersection with the Azegat road (C133) for 2 km. Then turn left towards Gageron. At Gageron, continue on the C130, for 8 km
7 - At the junction with the path (C131) of Sainte-Cécile, keep right on Route de Bouchaud and continue straight for 3 km to point 3. Join Arles by the D570 then by Gimeaux on the same route as the outbound.
On the D570 and the D37, caution, dangerous passages!
Access and parking
Tourist Office of Arles, Boulevard des Lices.
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