From Sauvage ferry to Cacharel by bike
From Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, this loop offers a parade of typical Camargue landscapes between land and water. You will appreciate along the Petit-Rhône, but also stepping over it with the Sauvage ferry. The Consécanière and the Empérial ponds will reveal you the richness of the natural inheritance of the Camargue. Traditional huts of guardian will complete the landscape. A hike that holds all its promises to contemplate nature Camargue!
The Amarée Mas
The Petit-Rhône estuary
The Gardian Hut
The Camargue Cross
The Camarguaise Race
The Port Gardian
Put in circulation in 1972, Sauvage4s ferry was completely renovated in 2004. It allows to connect the two banks of the Petit-Rhône for free It is powered by two side impellers with no possibility of steering and its circulation is facilitated by a cable. The ferry can carry 8 cars, 30 passengers and the crew for a crossing of a duration of 2 min. The nearby equestrian centres offer ballads for which you have to take the ferry, so it is common to see horses on board.
The Astouin castle estate
The Camargue Biosphere Reserve
The Camargue was classified as a Biosphere Reserve in 1977. Between these folds still partly wooded, you will find low lands occupied by lagoons lined with salt steppes, reed marshes and ponds. The agricultural lands are composed of wet meadows and grazers dedicated to the grazing of bulls and horses, old marshes converted into rice paddies of lagoons designed for the exploitation of salt and vegetable crops and viticulture on the dunes.
The Consécanière pond
Crin-Blanc, the movie made in Cacharel
There are 40 species of mosquitoes but only ten are biting. Females recover protein from the human blood that are necessary for the maturation of their eggs. They lay thousands of eggs on the soil dried up that are waiting, sometimes years, the rise of the waters to hatch. The mosquito is inconvenient for the man but it is useful to many species: dragonflies, fish, bats ... that feed on them. It is therefore an indispensable link in the Camargue biodiversity.
Le Bouvau d’Aubanel
The Departmental Reserve of Imperialists
Classified Departmental Reserve, Imperial and Malagroy Ponds were acquired by the Departmental Council of Bouches-du-Rhone in 1964 to protect these fragile natural environments (2,770 ha) which are home to many species of birds. The fishing, a traditional activity in Camargue, is practiced in the Imperial reserve in a boat without motor which imposes the use, as formerly, of the "partygue" (pole). Fishermen are looking for shrimps, eels.
At the graus level (or passages), communication canals between the sea and the littoral ponds, you will find fish, towards the flooded sansouïre and the ponds or towards the sea. Migrating species include mullet, sea bass, but also sea bream, sole and especially eel. Born in the Sargasso Sea, she joined the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts after a long journey. She comes to grow in the coastal ponds or rivers where she spends several years of her life.
The fortified church of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
True highlight of the Camargue (15 m), the church offers a breathtaking view of the village and all the Camargue. The 53 steps of a spiral staircase lead to the roof of the church where the panorama unfolds in all its splendour : up there, you can take advantage of a wide angle vision on the city, the sea and the ponds. Intense and sparkling blue of the Mediterranean Sea, purple hue of the Imperial pond The wind, the sun, the view of the calm expanse of the sea invite you to discover this landscape.
The arenas of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Back to the Tourist Office, head left on Van Gogh Avenue, towards Aigues-Mortes. Continue straight for 6 km and follow the Grau d'Orgon and the Petit-Rhône, on the D38.
1 - Turn left on the D85 and take the Sauvage ferry (information about ferry times at the Tourist Office). Continue on the D85 towards Aigues-Mortes and cross the small bridge that spans the Peccais Canal at Sylvéréal.
2 - At the intersection of the D58, turn right and continue for 350 m towards Arles. Take the bridge over the Petit-Rhône.
3- Do not miss turning right towards S33. Walk 2 km and reach the Astouin hamlet. Leave on the left the Astouin Castle estate.
4 - Take a right on the intersection with the D38. Go forward for 500 m. Turn left and continue on the D38b towards Pioch-Badet. VARIANT: a shorter variant is possible by going straight on towards the Cabanes de Cambon to join the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.
5 - Turn left, on the D570, towards Pioch-Badet and the Cacharel road. Follow Pioch-Badet, cross the village and take the road to Cacharel Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and return to the starting point by the D85A, along the several ponds that you will see on your left for 10 km.
D58 up to Sylvéréal, dangerous road!
Stay alert on the D570, busy road.
At the crossroads of Pioch-Badet hamlet, caution, dangerous intersection.
Respect the rules of the road on roads open to public traffic.
OT Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer - Tourisme en Camargue
5 Avenue Van Gogh, 13460 Saintes Maries de la Mer
04 90 97 82 55
the Camargue museum
Mas du pont de rousty, 13200 Arles
+33 (0)4 90 97 10 40
Remember to visit the Camargue museum! It is located next to the administrative centre of the Camargue Nature Park.
Envia transport network : Line 20 > Arles/Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer by Albaron (free bikes racks) >> www.tout-envia.com;
Access and parking
37 km south-west of Arles, by the D570.
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