La Camargue encompasses the Rhone River delta in the southeast of France. It is one of the best places in Europe for birdwatching; also great for biking and horse riding.
Flora and fauna
Fees and permits
Parc ornithologique du Pont de Gau: The short trail has the greatest number of seabirds. Lots of herons, flamingos, egrets, stilts, gulls, avocets, ibis and other birds. You can see them fairly close and in their nests. Coypu can be spotted in the grass and trails as well. Once inside, you can stay although the entrance closes. The evening was when the flamingos could be seen flying in formation. There is a small snack bar and you can bring your own picnic. The longer trail was also an easy walk. Of course, the time of year will alter the birds that are present. There are good signs along the trail with information about recent sightings. 
Drive around the marshes and stop at viewing platforms or side of the road to look for flamingos and other large seabirds. White horses and herds of bulls can also be seen, more likely by following the smaller side roads.
Bike along the Digue de Mer. There are also many beaches in the area but the roads are not paved and very rough (many potholes). Planning your route and taking enough water and food is vital as the distances can be substantial.
Local specialty foods
Specialty foods of the Camargue include:
- Anguilles au four
- Gardiane de Taureau
- Salade Camarguaise
- Aubergines aux anchois et aux capres
- Barbouillade d'artichauts
- Brandade de Morue
- Canard aux figues
- Moules en Brasucado
- Hachis camarguais
- Fougasse d'Aigues Mortes
- La Broufado
Finding a good dinner
When staying in a touristy city like Saintes Maries de la Mer, it can be difficult to find a place for a good dinner with anything beyond fried chips and over-grilled meat.
However, if you have a car, here are some tips for finding a good place serving local cuisine. Internet connection can help in your research. You should look for:
- Restaurants out of town, even in remote locations. Minus the convenience factor of an in-town location, many countryside restaurants rely on local customers and fidelity to regional cuisine which attracts enough clientele despite remote location.
- Menu that lists mostly or exclusively local specialties (see the list above)
- Ferme Auberge (farm inn), an official government program. Members usually show good fidelity to local cuisine, though limited menu selection.
- Membership in Conservatoire des Cuisines de Camargue, society for the preservation of true Camargue cuisine
- Table d'hote (guest table), a kind of intimate restaurant. Often a bed and breakfast which prepares dinner with advance reservation. Don't confuse it with table d'hotes in a regular restaurant in a big city where it is more for solo diners to share a communal table—and more common at lunch.
- Ask at the local tourist information office. They are not allowed to give opinions, but you can ask what restaurants serve local dishes in the list above or if there are any table d'hote or ferme auberge in the region.
Here are some restaurants that look promising per above recommendations as of Sept 2010:
- close to Saintes Maries de la Mer:
- Le Flamant Rose, ☏ +33 4 90 97 10 18, fax: +33 4 90 97 12 47, email@example.com. Member of a society for the preservation of true Camargue cuisine. Local specialties, plus a remote location.
- Le Pont des Bannes. Very elegant. Hits every major local specialty and has almost nothing from outside the region on the menu. Dinner menus: starter+main+dessert: €43; starter+main: €36; main+dessert: 31; starter+dessert: 17.
- Mas de Peint. Table d'hote, by reservation only. Breakfast: €22; lunch: €42; dinner: €55.
- La Tour du Cazeau, Arles The Sambuc, ☏ +33 4 90 97 21 6, fax: +33 4 90 97 20 70, firstname.lastname@example.org. Ferme-auberge, by reservation only. Dinner menu: €25.
- away from Saintes Maries de la Mer:
- Le Tamaris, 13 rue Victor Hugo, Le Cailar, ☏ +33 4 66 88 07 91, email@example.com. The most rustic – most likely to prepare food you absolutely cannot get outside of the Camargue. The display of their dishes, remote location, and menu selection suggests it is probably a worthwhile experience. Set menu: €13..16.
There are numerous hotels on way from Arles to Saintes Maries de la Mer. Some of them worth considering include:
- Les Arnelles (450m outside of the St-M-dl-M, on the left side of the road just after Le Pont Des Bannes hotel). Bar 8AM-11PM
More information on the Camargue can be found here.
- The Camargue[dead link] on About-France.com.