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France: Mountains and the Med A sum­mer hol­i­day sa­fari

Just be­hind the re­sorts of the French Riviera lie some of Europe’s most re­ward­ing wildlife habi­tats – and no more so than the Ca­mar­gue, where flamin­goes tinge pink a sun-baked land­scape cel­e­brated for its white horses and black bulls.

Mont­pel­lier snakes and beavers are among a wealth of other wildlife to seek out among the wa­ter­ways and salt pans.

A morn­ing’s drive west, the thyme-scented hill­sides grade into the foothills of the Pyre­nees, where a cooler up­land world of bare es­carp­ments and flower-splashed alpine mead­ows har­bours a dif­fer­ent suite of wildlife, with chamois fil­ing across scree slopes and golden ea­gles wheel­ing above their rocky citadels. Se­ri­ous nat­u­ral­ists can ex­plore for days. Al­ter­na­tively, a na­ture-lov­ing fam­ily might sim­ply en­liven a sum­mer hol­i­day with a few wildlifebased ex­cur­sions.

Ei­ther way, this be­ing France, you can count on some ex­cel­lent gas­tro­nomic di­ver­sion. Top tip In the mountains, lis­ten out for the alarm whis­tles s of alpine mar­mots. How to book The Trav­el­ling avel­ling Nat­u­ral­ist (01305 267994;7994; thetrav­el­ling­nat­u­ral­ist. st. com) of­fers a seven­night small group tour ur span­ning the Ca­mar­guegue and Pyre­nees. From £2,195 per per­son, son, based on two shar­ing,g, in­clud­ing flights, full-board ac­com­mo­da­tion, trans­fers and in the com­pany of an ex­pert t nat­u­ral­ist leader/guide. de. Departs on Au­gust 26 6 2017.

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