From Sauvage ferry to Cacharel by bike
From Sauvage ferry to Cacharel by bike

From Sauvage ferry to Cacharel by bike

Waters and rivers
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Admire the singular landscapes of the Camargue, born from the marriage of land and water.

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!

18 points of interest

  • Patrimony and history

    The Amarée Mas

    The Amarée Mas was rented in 1899 by the Baroncelli marquis, writer and manadier who developed the Camargue, he exploited the traditions of the territory such as the Camargue race and the Gypsy pilgrimage. The Amarée mas which extends over 200 ha, the main house adjoins a stable Due to financial problems, Baroncelli is forced to leave the Amarée, the Saintois contribute to offer him the land of Simbèu mas where he builds a farmhouse similar to the one of Amarée.
  • Water and rivers

    The Petit-Rhône estuary

    The Petit-Rhône is one of the two arms of the Rhone Delta that leaves the main riverbed north of Arles to jump into the Mediterranean Sea. The Petit-Rhône estuary is located 2 km west of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and is called Grau d'Orgon. The Clos du Rhône beach, located at the Petit Rhône estuary, is the last beach of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. On the other side of the Petit-Rhône, there is the Espiguette Port Camargue beach.
  • Patrimony and history

    The Gardian Hut

    Traditional home of guardians of Camargue, the hut has whitewashed walls and a roof of sagne (reeds marshes). The architecture of these cabins is original : straight walls on all sides except the one exposed to the mistral (north-west) which is in apse (of rounded form) to offer less catch in the wind. At the top of this apse, there is usually a form of cross or horn that used to stow the cabin on the ground during windy days.
  • Patrimony and history

    The Camargue Cross

    The painter and sculptor Hermann Paul conceives the Camargue Cross in 1926 following the request of Marquis Baroncelli, « inventor » of the Camargue. It associates the guardians and the fishermen and symbolizes three virtues: the Cross for Faith, the Anchor for Hope and the Heart for Charity. The guardians and the Camargue soul are represented by the tridents. The original cross was made in wrought iron by Joseph Barbanson and inaugurated on July 7, 1926.
  • Elevage et pastoralisme

    The Camarguaise Race

    Originally, the race is a taurine game where animals and farmhands fight and play with the bull. Towards the end of the 19th century, this bullfighting game becomes less violent and only the man plays with the bull. We fix the attributes on the horns of the Camargue bull intended to be removed by the raseteurs dressed in white, now only protagonists of the race. A cockade is fixed on the horns of the bull and bonuses are awarded to the one who will pick up the attribute.
  • Water and rivers

    The Port Gardian

    The creation of the marina, Port Gardian, dates back to the development of tourism in the Camargue in the mid-twentieth century. Built in June 1984, it has managed to keep its family atmosphere and its human dimension. This harbour has 380 rings. The village church, located not far from the port, 200 m from the wharves, is used as bitter, a landmark fixed and unambiguously identifiable. It guides boaters and fishermen sailing on the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Water and rivers

    Sauvage’s ferry

    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.

  • Produits du terroir

    Rice fields

    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.
  • Patrimony and history

    The Astouin castle estate

    The Astouin castle estate was able to develop itself hanks to the containment of the Rhone, close to agricultural activities, between Petit-Rhône and the Vaccarès pond. The Astouin castle estate consists of a farmhouse dating from the eighteenth century, an old chapel and a large park and is surrounded by rice paddies. It is at the foot of the cross located in the Astouin castle estate that the Crusaders in the 11th century. would have gathered before embarking for the Holy Land.
  • Flora

    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.

  • Water and rivers

    The Consécanière pond

    It is a place of passage and rest for many migratory birds In winter, ducks and coots find a relative tranquillity. This natural abundance motivated the need for protection by the Department of Bouches-du-Rhône as well as the Malagroy and Imperial ponds. The water level of the Consécanière pond is maintained artificially low by pumping, the pump rejecting the waters of the pond towards the Malagroy pond. The pond is surrounded by a wooded border of tamarisk.
  • Patrimony and history

    Crin-Blanc, the movie made in Cacharel

    Crin-Blanc is a French movie shot by Ambert Lamorisse in 1952 and released in 1953. Crin-Blanc, leader of a herd of Camargue horses in freedom, is captured by men. He manages to escape and Folco, a little boy, is the only one able to tame this wild horse, a friendship is born. A movie that was written and directed in Cacharel and helped to reinforce the image of the Camargue: windswept sand landscapes where white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos coexist.
  • Fauna

    The Mosquito

    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.

  • Patrimony and history

    Le Bouvau d’Aubanel

    The Baroncelli marquis, famous character of Camargue life, gave to his manade the name of Manade Santenco which means, in Provençal, manade of Saintes-Maries. At the death of the marquis, his son-in-law Henri Aubanel then manages the Santenco manade.. On June 15, 1996, the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer inaugurate the Henri Aubanel bouvau, a circular enclosure where bulls are grouped after selection. At the death of Henri Aubanel, his son Pierre manages the manade that he renames Aubanel Baroncelli Santenco manade.
  • Panorama

    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.

  • Fauna

    The eel

    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.

  • Panorama

    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.

  • Patrimony and history

    The arenas of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

    The arenas of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer were inaugurated in 1931 and can accommodate 4,500 people. They are built in hard material and have a circular shape.. Part of the arena collapsed in 1931, and was rebuilt in 1932. In 1985, they were redesigned by the architect André Marchetti. They offer three forms of bull races: the Camargue race, the Spanish race, and the rejón bullfight where the bull is fought by a rider, the rejoneador.


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.

  • Departure : Tourist Office, les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
  • Arrival : Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
  • Towns crossed : Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer and Vauvert


Altimetric profile


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.

Information desks

OT Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer - Tourisme en Camargue

5 Avenue Van Gogh, 13460 Saintes Maries de la Mer 90 97 82 55

the Camargue museum

Mas du pont de rousty, 13200 Arles (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.

Find out more


Envia transport network : Line 20 > Arles/Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer by Albaron (free bikes racks) >>;

Access and parking

37 km south-west of Arles, by the D570.

Parking :

Parking Avenue Théodore Aubanel, Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer


Hybrid bike
Emergency number :114

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