Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue


Enclosed by the Petit Rhône and Grand Rhône rivers, most of the Camargue wetlands fall within the 850-sq-km Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue, established in 1970 to preserve the area's fragile ecosystem, while sustaining local agriculture. It's a stunning and precious environment in which age-old farming practices coexist with one of Europe's greatest havens for birdlife. If you are a birdwatcher, you simply must come here. The park's headquarters are housed in the Musée de la Camargue, just outside Arles.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Camargue attractions

1. Musée de la Camargue

2.25 MILES

Inside a 19th-century sheep shed 10km southwest of Arles, this museum evokes traditional life in the Camargue, with exhibitions covering history, culture,…

2. Musée Départemental Arles Antique

6.11 MILES

This striking cobalt-blue museum perches on the edge of what used to be the Roman chariot-racing track (hippodrome), southwest of central Arles. The…

3. Réserve Nationale de Camargue

6.38 MILES

One of the oldest nature reserves in France (first delineated in 1927 and given official protected status in 1975), it covers 132 sq km of wetlands,…

4. Espace Van Gogh

6.56 MILES

The 16th-century hospital where Van Gogh had his ear stitched on and was later locked up hosts the occasional exhibition (which attracts an entry fee). At…

5. Museon Arlaten

6.61 MILES

Arles' cultural museum, founded all the way back in 1889 with the intent of documenting regional culture, styles and creators, is closed for renovations…

6. Les Alyscamps

6.61 MILES

Testament to the significance of Roman Arles, this grand processional avenue of tombs and sarcophagi holds more than 1500 years of corpses (which Roman…

7. Église St-Trophime

6.65 MILES

Named for Arles' semi-mythical first archbishop, this Romanesque-style church, built over a 5th-century basilica, was a cathedral until the bishopric…

8. Cryptoportiques

6.65 MILES

The origins of these fascinating underground chambers, now sitting below the current city centre, go at least back to the first Roman colony in Arles in…