L'étang de Vaccarès à vélo - jour 1
Go qround Vaccarès in 2 days by bike
L'étang de Vaccarès à vélo - jour 1

1. L'étang de Vaccarès à vélo - jour 1

A lookout, a viewpoint
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Cette balade le long de l’étang de Vaccarès, entre roseaux et sansouïres est un véritable appel au calme et à la flânerie.

Ce premier jour de randonnée à vélo vous amène sur la rive ouest de l’étang de Vaccarès. Parmi les grandes étendues, vous pouvez observer les flamants roses et autres oiseaux typiques de Camargue. Cette première approche facile est l’occasion de découvrir des paysages exceptionnels.

12 points of interest

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Panorama

    Sweet and reed marshes

    The "soft" marshes are characteristic of the upper Camargue, where the influence of salt is less marked. Consisting of a dense and high vegetation (reeds, cattails, bulrushes), they are a sanctuary for many birds (ducks, stilts ...), amphibians and reptiles. The reed beds, interspersed with open water, extend into these slightly brackish freshwater marshes. Habitat of waterfowl, some are cut in winter for harvesting the reed, which is used to cover the thatch roofs.

  • Panorama

    Ponds or lagoons

    The Vaccarès, ruler of the average Camargue, and the lower salt ponds are the heart of the Camargue. Separated from the sea by a sandy cordon, they are in intermittent communication with the sea. A favourite place for birds and fish, they play a vital biological role in the delta and play a major role in water management. Millions of young marine fish come here to spend the first year of their lives before returning to the sea.

  • Flora

    The Bois des Rièges

    Located in the heart of the Camargue National Nature Reserve, the Bois des Rièges has been classified as an integral reserve since 1927. The wood consists of 8 massive wooded dunes, the last vestiges of a Camargue coastline some 3000 years ago! There is also: large juniper groves, centennial Phenicia and umbrella pines. No incongruous remains that dot so often Provencal nature, the Bois des Rièges is the last space of the Camargue where nature has retained its rights.

  • Fauna

    The European bee-eater

    Brown top, blue-green underside, black-necked yellow throat, wings and olive-green tail, one would believe the bee-eater escaped from an exotic aviary. He digs his nest in the embankments or canal banks where he lives in the colony. His name comes from his diet, composed of big insects: dragonflies, beetles and wasps that he can seize without being bitten by his long beak. Agile, he crushes his victims against his perch, ejecting the venomous sting, before offering it to his little ones.
  • Flora

    The Sansouïre

    Representative landscape of the lower Camargue, the sansouïre constitutes an environment where salt exerts a total influence. She lives to the rhythm of the seasons: large body of salt water in winter, mudflats in spring and autumn, cracked ground and salt-white desert in summer. The vegetation, low and sheepish, is brown in winter, green in spring and red in autumn. Only a few specialized plant species develop there, because of the strong presence of salt: salicornia, soda, obione, saladella .

  • Panorama

    The Camargue National Nature Reserve

    The Camargue National Reserve was created in 1927 by the National Society for Nature Protection (association) to protect animal and plant species. True heart of the Camargue, the Reserve covers 13,117ha, much of which is formed by the Vaccarès pond. The reserve offers many accomodation possibilities and tours: the Capelière, Salin-de-Badon and the lighthouse of Gacholle. The Capelière is the welcome point of the Reserve. You will find exhibitions, documentation, discovery trails. Entry authorizations for the observatories in Salin-de-Badon are issued at La Capelière.
  • Panorama

    Cultivated environments

    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).


Dos à l'Office de Tourisme sur l’avenue Van Gogh, se diriger à droite. Au rond-point, emprunter la deuxième sortie et traverser le village en direction de la route de Cacharel sur 4 km.

1 - A hauteur du petit parking, avant le mas de Cacharel, emprunter la piste des Cinq Gorges (dites de Méjanes) sur la droite. Poursuivre sur 11 km jusqu'au Domaine de Méjanes.

2 - Après le Domaine de Méjanes, au panneau "cédez le passage", se diriger à droite sur la D37 et continuer sur 8 km. Longer l'étang du Vaccarès. Passer devant le point d'observation du Mas neuf du Vaccarès (mis en place par le Parc naturel régional de Camargue). Après l’observatoire, continuer en direction d’Arles et de Salin-de-Giraud jusqu'à Villeneuve.

  • Departure : Office de tourisme, Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
  • Arrival : Carrefour D37 - D36B, hameau de Villeneuve, Arles
  • Towns crossed : Arles and Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer



Respecter le code de la route sur les voies ouvertes à la circulation publique.

Rester vigilant sur la D37, route dangereuse et fréquentée !

L'itinéraire peut être effectuer en 2 jours ("A vélo, le tour de Vaccarès en 2 jour", continuer le parcours de Villeneuve aux Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer par La Capelière), penser à réserver un hébergement en fonction de la distance à parcourir le premier jour. Contacter les Offices de tourisme des Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer et de Salin-de-Giraud.

Se garer dans un endroit sécurisé.

Information desks

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

5 Avenue Van Gogh, 13460 Saintes Maries de la Mer

http://www.saintesmaries.com/info@saintesmaries.com04 90 97 82 55

the Camargue museum

Mas du pont de rousty, 13200 Arles

http://www.parc-camargue.fr/info@parc-camargue.fr+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.

Find out more


Réseau de transport Envia : Ligne 20 > Arles/Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer par Albaron (Porte-vélos gratuits) >> www.tout-envia.com; www.pacamobilite.fr

Access and parking

A 37 km au sud-ouest d'Arles, par la D570.

Parking :

Parking Avenue Gilbert Leroy, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer


Hybrid bike
Emergency number :114

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