Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 2, 2015

Cows and horses of the Camargue

While in Arles we took a little side trip to a national park in the Camargue. It was called Reserve Naturelle des Marais du Vigueirat.

While we waited for the tour to begin a local fox turned up and did a little trot around the picnic tables, no doubt looking for some tasty scraps to fall in his direction.

Camargue

Soon our vehicle arrived…a cart drawn by 2 beautiful horses.

Camargue

Camargue

…and we were off on our little adventure.

Camargue horses

Camargue horses

Camargue horses

The Camargue landscape is windswept and marshy.

Camargue landscspe

Camargue landscape

Camargue landscape

Camargue landscape

The marshlands are teeming with wildlife. We saw lots of birds…egrets, swans and in the distance, a pair of storks in their nest with babies. The photo is a bit fuzzy, but it was really windy and the trees in front kept blowing in front of the nest.

Camargue wildlife

Camargue wildlife

Camargue wildlife

Camargue wildlife

Camargue wildlife

The area is famous for its bull breeding and the lovely horses used by the farmers who work on the “Manades”.

The small Camargue horse is the cowherd’s companion and an indispensable means of transport in these marshy lands. The animal is very well adapted to the environment. It is not very tall, measuring only 13-14 hands. Its head is large with a straight forehead, the belly round and the legs sturdy with broad hooves.

Camargue horses

Camargue horses

We saw some beautiful babies with their protective mothers.

Camargue horses

Camargue horses

Camargue horses

Camargue horses

The horse is present at all the great folklore parades, mounted by riders dressed in traditional costume.

The Camargue cattle is also a small sturdy breed. From the 15th century this robust animal was used to pull the plough. In the 19th century the popularity of bull fighting led to the first cross breeding with pure bred Spanish Bulls.

Camargue bulls

Camargue bulls

Camargue bulls

The defenders of the pure breed raise their cattle for the Provencal bullfight, which has become very popular. The razeteurs, dressed all in white, must pluck a cockade held on the animal’s forehead by a string passed around the horns. This seems a lot less bloodthirsty than the other type of bullfighting.

We saw a different type of bull on the way out.

Camargue

Our guide didn’t speak English and our French is very poor, so we didn’t understand much of what was being said, but it was great fun anyway. I have always been very curious about the Camargue area and this was a delightful way to see it in its natural state.

Reserve Naturelle des Marais du Vigueirat


Responses

  1. White horses who, according to legend, descend from Pegasus. Black Bulls who possibly came from Ancient Crete and who were part of The Minotaur cult ( the Camargue “corrida” commemorates it) and pink flamingoes… That is, in essence, the beautiful Camargue and Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Well, that… And much more… Looking forward to the continuing story, Deb!

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  2. They are beautiful photographs dear Debra, loved them all. Today I learned that there was an earthquake in Australia, Where are you right now, I don’t know but I thought of you when I heard. It was a strong shake as I learned, I hope you didn’t feel… Makes me worry these kind news. Thanks and Love, nia

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    • What a wonderful way to explore this interesting area! I was fascinated by the way the horses were designed for this marshy area – sturdy bodies and broad hooves. Your pictures depict the uniqueness of the Camarque Region.

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    • Hi Nia, thank you for your concern. There was an earthquake here, but there was no damage and nobody was hurt. The epicentre was not close to cities.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are welcome dear Debra, I am glad to hear this. Love, nia

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  3. Lovely photos! We loved that area, too. Did you go to the bird sanctuary there, too?
    Barbara

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    • No, we didn’t go to the bird sanctuary…a reason to go back.

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  4. Beautiful animals! I have always wanted to go there.

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    • It was a great afternoon…a leisurely way to see this lovely area.

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  5. Nice to see this area well preserved and what a well constructed old style building

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  6. Beautiful photos, especially of the white horses. I wonder what a tortoise must feel like when he gets picked up like that. 😕

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    • The horses are gorgeous. I guess the poor old tortoise just gets on with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful way to travel, the horses are lovely. 😉

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    • The horses were beautiful and very well cared for.

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  8. What a great little side trip

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  9. I stayed at La Pas Du Peint 10 years ago and it was nothing short of magical.

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  10. I love places like this! And to tour in a horse cart is just the icing on the cake. Thanks for sharing!

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    • The horses were gorgeous…a great afternoon.

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  11. I think about Fleur de Del when I think about Camargue. These photos of wildlide are simply gorgeous. You look so close!

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  12. […] This blog by Debra Kolkka has some lovely pictures taken on a tour of the marshlands. […]

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    • Thank you for sharing my post. We loved our visit to the area.

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