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Grau-du-Roi fishing port
The beach of l « ’Espiguette »
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On a map, the Gard coastline barely stands out, like the tip of a toe dipped into the water. In relatively little space, this incursion into the sea succeeds in evoking memories of French King Saint Louis, a major fishing port preserved from times past, an environment that’s unique worldwide, and the zenith of pleasure boating. Here all is sand, salt, stone and wind. Three-fourths of the coastline remains wild and wondrous.
The town of Aigues-Mortes, the glory of times past, set back from this protected bay, lords over everything. The city was marked by the mid-13th century sojourns by King Louis IX, also known as Saint Louis. The king came twice here to embark on the Crusades. His second voyage, in 1270, was also his last. Encircled by sublime ramparts, the city is particularly reputed for its wall-walk and its Tour de Constance affording a tremendous view over Camargue and the still-active salt flats. Within its walls, Aigues-Mortes is imbued with a medieval hue; art galleries and craft boutiques abound.
Le Grau-du-Roi, just a little further on along the Aigues-Mortes canal, remains a genuine fishing village – number one in the Mediterranean, mind you – while possessing everything needed for modern tourism and international boating, including 5,000 mooring spots at Port Camargue. If you venture out further eastward, do not miss the Espiguette headland, a little Eden treasured by bathers and noted for its fabulous flora and fauna.
“The Grau-du-Roi has such an authentic side, with its fishing harbour, the trawlers heading into port in every day, the little boats…”
Jérôme Dalle, fisherman and captain of the Picardie excursion boat
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Since the middle of the 19th century, the Salins du Midi company has operated over 200 km2 now open to visitors.
Board the little train for an hour’s journey across brine ponds to discover where Sel de Camargue originates and why the waters are pink before harvesting. The tasks of the salt worker – guardian of this wild, generous and preserved nature area – will no longer be a mystery to you.
At the Salt Museum/Boutique stopover you can view pictures of centuries-old salt working techniques and examine old tools and packaging materials.
You can also decide to book a trip in a 4WD vehicle, immersed in the magic of this unique place on the edge of nowhere. You’ll visit places that were inaccessible until now, heading to the very core of the 10,000 hectares. Guided by a nature specialist, you’ll explore the plenitude of this pristine area, birthplace of Camargue salt.
Would you like to get away from it all to just rest, while enjoying some spa care? Try out the Institut Thalazur Port Camargue. There’s everything you need for special personal care: a beautiful spot, comfy rooms at the Hôtel les Bains de Camargue****, quality cuisine, as well as restorative well-being thanks to the thalasso/sea-therapy. Come enjoy a little tender loving care with friends or family; rediscover serenity and relaxation that will turn this stay into a cherished and unforgettable memory.
OR...continue your exploration of Gard County