France – Camargue, Alpilles & Crau

8 Days from £909 | May, October 909

La Camargue, les Alpilles and la Crau – the French ‘golden triangle’ of biodiversity. The Camargue, with its white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos, needs little introduction. Just to the north, the jagged, limestone peaks of the Alpilles mountains are a striking contrast to the vast wetlands of the Camargue. Sandwiched between the two is la Crau, a unique, ancient steppe landscape where shepherds have tended their flocks for 6,000 years. You’ll discover the amazing flora and fauna of all three environments on guided walks with an expert naturalist. You’ll also enjoy the manmade wonders of the city of Arles, your holiday base, renowned for its Roman monuments, van Gogh scenes, and, of course, Provençal cafés and restaurants!!

France – Camargue, Alpilles & Crau

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 84%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

  • 7 nights bb in Van Gogh's Arles
  • Three included excursions
  • Transport to Walks
  • Services of Expert Guide

DAY ONE: Flight to Marseille or Nîmes, transfer to your hotel in Arles (one hour from Marseille, 40 minutes from Nîmes) for seven nights hotel accommodation. Two dinners in the hotel are included during your stay, leaving five nights to sample the delights of the local restaurants. Your Tour Director will be on hand to assist. A walking tour of the city will show you the major sights and attractions of this splendid city – the remarkably intact 1st century AD amphitheatre could entertain 30,000 spectators and is still used today; the Musée Réattu, a 15th century priory of the Knights of Malta on the bank of the river Rhône; the Place de la République with its obelisk and impressive town hall. Devotees of Van Gogh will recognise many parts of the city from his paintings, including the courtyard of the old hospital where he was treated after cutting off his ear, the amphitheatre, his café terrace, and the Rhône – especially on a starry night!

DAYS TWO TO SEVEN: There are three included walks during your stay in Arles.

Walk 1: La digue à la mer. Transfer to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (23 miles). On the way you’ll hear the story of the Three Marys (Jacob, Salome and Magdalene) and their servant Sarah, patron saint of Gypsies, thousands of whom have been making the annual pilgrimage to Saintes- Maries for centuries. ‘La digue’ is the dyke built in 1859 to keep the sea at bay. This is a long but easy walk which takes you into the heart of the Camargue National Nature Reserve. Landmarks along the route include the Rousty sluice gate, the old customs house and the working Gacholle lighthouse whose 60ft tower can be seen from miles around. Common bird sightings will include warblers, gulls, terns, waders and avocets but the emblematic Pink Flamingos are especially visible at the end of the walk in the Fangassier lagoon where between 15 and 20 thousand breeding pairs of them should be waiting for you (spring only). 11 miles – flat.

Walk 2: Travel by coach to the Domaine de La Palissade at the mouth of the Rhone (28 miles). On the way there you should see numerous species of heron, Glossy Ibis and many migrants: Marsh Terns, Caspian Tern, Bee-eaters and Rollers. On a 1-mile flat walk you can see a breeding colony of Slender-billed Gulls, Gull-billed Terns and Little Terns. Sometimes, the world’s largest Tern species, Caspian, can be seen with the smallest! Leaving the Domaine, you take the short ferry crossing from Salin de Giraud to Port Saint Louis and travel 17 miles to la Crau Nature Reserve. Legend has it that the countless polished stones covering the terrain were rained down by Jupiter and used as missiles by Hercules in battle after he had used all his arrows. On a 2-½ mile flat walk you would hope to see Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Lesser Kestrel, Larks and Tawny Pipit.

Walk 3: Les Alpilles – Saint Paul-de-Mausole, Glanum and the Vallon de St Clerg.
0900 –  Coach transfer to Saint Rémy (19 miles) where you meet your guide. Your walk to Les Baux de Provence (6 ½ miles, 250m ascent/ descent) passes Saint Paul-de-Mausole (where van Gogh painted over one hundred works of genius while a voluntary patient in the rest home for just under a year) and continues past the archaeological site of Glanum. Walking through the valley of St Clerg, you have some time at the foot of the two-holed rock looking out for the Bonelli’s Eagle and also the Short-toed Eagle, Sub Alpine and Sardinian Warblers. Your walk ends in Les Baux, where you take a short walk on a path overlooking a wonderful landscape in search of Blue Rock Thrush at the foot of the imposing ruined citadel. Transfer back to your hotel in the late afternoon.

As well as the three included trips there will be an unusual, optional evening/night excursion to a Little Bustard site in beautiful scenery, followed by a picnic in the company of Eagle Owls to the sound of Nightingales and whirring Nightjars. Return to the hotel will be after 11pm.

DAY EIGHT: Free time until departure for the airport and your flight home.

Autumn bird sightings:

Bird sightings mentioned above are based on departures in the spring. In the autumn we would expect:

Walk 1: La digue à la mer

Common bird sightings include gulls, waders and avocets and, of course, the emblematic Pink Flamingos will be present all along the walk.

Walk 2: Domaine de la Palissade & la Crau.

You would hope to see Flamingos, Herons, waders and ducks, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, Little Bustards and Calandra Larks.

Walk 3: Les Alpilles – Saint Paul-de-Mausole, Glanum and the Vallon de St Clerg.

Sightings would include Wallcreeper and Blue Rock Thrush, Bonelli’s Eagle and Sardinian Warblers.

If you have friends who are not walkers interested in this itinerary, we also offer it with a touring programme.

France – Camargue, Alpilles & Crau

Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this holiday* - 84%
* as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details

BEST WESTERN ATRIUM ***, Arles (seven nights)
This is a modern hotel built around an old town house. The hotel is centrally located opposite the Tourist Office. Its 90 rooms are on 4 floors and have air-conditioning, bath or shower and wc, satellite tv, hairdryer. Rooms have internal atrium view or a view of the town. Wifi is complimentary throughout the hotel. There is an airy restaurant with a glass roof, and a bar. (www.hotelatrium.com)
Past Customer Satisfaction Score for this hotel* - 73%
*as measured from holiday questionnaires - see FAQ for details
Walking Holiday - France – Camargue, Alpilles & Crau
Holiday code: 7WAP
Supplements per person:
Single Room: £190
Travel Insurance: £44.95
Supplements on some holidays vary by departure date - the applicable price will be shown when booking.

Fly FromDateDaysAirlineDep.Rtn.AvailabilityPriceFly ToSingle

AberdeenSat 11/05/20198BA via LHR07501550Places Available1039Marseille19044ABZ17WAPB1

AberdeenSat 05/10/20198BA via LHR07501550Places Available1029Marseille19044ABZ17WAPB3

BristolSat 11/05/20198Easyjet13451810Places Available919Marseille19044BRS17WAPB1

BristolSat 05/10/20198Easyjet13451810Places Available909Marseille19044BRS17WAPB3

EdinburghFri 10/05/20198Ryanair11201055Places Available919Marseille19044EDI17WAPB1

EdinburghFri 04/10/20198Ryanair11201055Places Available909Marseille19044EDI17WAPB3

GlasgowSat 11/05/20198BA via LHR07451745Places Available1039Marseille19044GLA17WAPB1

GlasgowSat 05/10/20198BA via LHR07451745Places Available1029Marseille19044GLA17WAPB3

HeathrowSat 11/05/20198BA13051215Places Available959Marseille19044LHR17WAPB1

HeathrowSat 05/10/20198BA13051215Places Available949Marseille19044LHR17WAPB3

London GatwickSat 11/05/20198Easyjet08001215Places Available919Marseille19044LGW17WAPB1

London GatwickSat 05/10/20198Easyjet08001215Places Available909Marseille19044LGW17WAPB3

LutonFri 10/05/20198Easyjet12301710Places Available919Marseille19044LTN17WAPB1

LutonFri 04/10/20198Easyjet12301710Places Available909Marseille19044LTN17WAPB3

ManchesterSat 11/05/20198Easyjet17152205Places Available919Marseille19044MAN17WAPB1

ManchesterSat 05/10/20198Easyjet17152205Places Available909Marseille19044MAN17WAPB3

NewcastleSat 11/05/20198BA via LHR06101900Places Available1039Marseille19044NCL17WAPB1

NewcastleSat 05/10/20198BA via LHR06101900Places Available1029Marseille19044NCL17WAPB3

StanstedSat 11/05/20198Ryanair08001905Places Available919Marseille19044STN17WAPB1

StanstedSat 05/10/20198Ryanair08001905Places Available909Marseille19044STN17WAPB3

Prices shown are based on the shared occupancy of twin/double standard rooms, and are subject to availability. Please refer to ‘Accommodation’ for details of any room supplements (including single rooms) and extended stay costs that apply to this holiday. Further details in our FAQ.

Data as at 13/12/2018 at 20:47:06

Just back from a lovely holiday. The accommodation was great and the breakfast was good. Frederick the walks guide was great, a very sincere bird watcher. All in a great holiday, see you again next year.

Mr W, Dumbarton

Please note: this holiday is new for 2017. Comments below arise from our other French Walking Holiday.

PTS

This is our 3rd PTS holiday and the first walking holiday. The walks were excellent with so much to see and do in the area. Will definitely do another PTS walking holiday. Christian was a superb and knowledgeable guide. thank you!

Mr & Mrs B, Edinburgh

Routes and guides were very good.

Mr F, East Lothian

Walking guides were excellent. Made the walks relaxing and informative.

Mrs S, Clackmananshire

The guide had great local knowledge.

Mrs F, Bristol

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Most of our holidays include half board as standard.
All of our holidays have included visits and tours.

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France – Camargue, Alpilles & Crau