Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Side Trips in Southern France #1

During the weekdays in southern France we stayed in our chosen towns and explored.  Each weekend brought the opportunity to explore a little further afield.

Our first free weekend day we spent the morning in Aigues-Mortes.

A three hour boat tour leaving from Aigues-Mortes, a riverside walled city, took us around the Camargue.  The Camargue is a series of salt water marshland canals that house a variety of wildlife, farms and connect to fishing villages. 

The tour stops at a bull farm where you learn about the bull racing sport that is popular in the area.  The bulls are not harmed but have some ribbons attached to their backs that young men race around and try to pull off while avoiding the bull's significant horns.  There are weekday tours that allow you to see the wild horses of the area being moved about by ranchers, but you can see herds of them during the weekend tours from afar.

There are many birds unique to this area, and some more known ones like herons and pink flamingos.  The flamingos get their colour from eating shrimp from the pink water.  Sea salt is also harvested here.  The piles are turned over periodically and left to dry in the sun before being packaged and sold.

Inside the walled city it is very tourist focused with lots of little shops and restaurants.  After the very hot boat tour (a mechanical issue out of our control made our tour last 30 minutes longer than usual) we sat down for lunch at a family owned and operated restaurant which was right off the main square of the village. 

If I would have been in different company (ie: not with three guys who detest shopping) I would have browsed the shops a bit more.  We were also keen to get to Arles in the afternoon, and it was very hot so we didn't explore the village.  But this area is quaint and could easily take a day to explore along with the boat tour.
More to come about the other towns we visited soon.