BBC History Magazine - - Out & About -

BEST TIME TO GO Spring and early au­tumn are best. Avoid Au­gust, when France is on hol­i­day. Late May is when the fes­ti­val of St Sara is held at Sain­tesMaries-de-la-Mer. GET­TING THERE Ryanair flies from Lu­ton to Nîmes and Rail Europe has re­turns from Lon­don St Pan­cras to Ar­les or Nîmes. There is a lo­cal train from Nîmes to Le-Grau-du-Roi.

The cen­tral na­ture re­serve is in­ac­ces­si­ble by car, but Ar­les Tourism has ad­vice on tours by bike, and many sta­bles in Saintes-Maries run horse­back treks into the Ca­mar­gue. WHAT TO PACK Sun­glasses and a hat, as there is lit­tle shade un­der that arch­ing sky. Also take in­sect re­pel­lent: the marshes have been sprayed with a largely en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly bac­terium, but mos­qui­toes still lurk in places. WHAT TO BRING BACK Fleur de sel (salt from the Salins du Midi, AiguesMortes); Vins des Sables de Ca­mar­gue – the best are the rosés; Ca­mar­gue red rice, herbs, spices and olives from the mar­kets; sweets – crys­tallised fruit – and marzi­pan con­fec­tionery in all shapes (the lit­tle olives are es­pe­cially re­al­is­tic).

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