Monday, October 13, 2014

Postcard from the Camargue

It's been a couple of weeks since we stayed in the beautiful Camargue, and it took me quite a long time to sort through the hundreds of pictures I took in this magical place... 

The Camargue is unlike any other place in France, or Europe. It's a wide and vast flat land, and consists of lakes and lagoons (étangs), reed covered marshes and sandy beaches. In the étangs you'll see wild pink flamingos among hundreds of other species of birds, and the stunning marshland scenery is dotted with black bulls and white Camargue horses. Many of the horses live as free-running herds, and only get occasionaly driven into the Manades (bull farm) by the cowboys of the Camargue (Gardians).

In the middle of this paradise, there is the tranquil and beautiful Mas de la Fouque. The many lounging areas of this 'petit paradis' invite you to relax and observe the surrounding beauty.


















Instead of booking a room, you can stay in one of the converted gypsy caravans, overlooking the gardens and lake.



the restaurant










Naturally, the restaurant favours local Camargue sea salt: 'Fleurs de Sel' by Le Saunier De Camargue.






Marius, the Mas de la Fouque's mascot





The best way to explore the beauty of the Camargue is by safari (4x4) or horseback. We booked a two hour 'Ballade à Cheval' at the Les Arnelles Equestrian Center, which led us discover places we would have otherwise not seen... we rode past thousands of flamingoes along the étangs, and saw Camargue bulls and horses roaming through marshes and fields. Eventually we arrived at the mediterranean coast, where the fine sand beach went on for miles and was almost deserted. It was fantastic.



Wearing my Jumping boots for the first time this season, there could not have been a better occasion!

(You don't have to be an experienced rider for this. The stable has horses for all levels, and the guides make sure that beginners have a safe and comfortable experience. Advanced riders are given the chance to galop along the marshes and beach. All in all, it was an unforgettable memory for everybody!)





Mas de la Fouque, Route Départementale 38, 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Tel: +33 (4) 90 97 81 02 www.masdelafouque.com

Les Arnelles Equestrian Center: Route d'Arles, 13460 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer,
Tel: +33 (0) 4 9097 82865 www.arnellescamargue.com

Camargue sea salt: 'Fleur de Sel' by Saunier de Camargue is harvested by hand, and comes in a round box with a cork lid www.saunierdecamargue.fr (you can find stockist or online stores in your area via google)


You might also like:


http://www.maitaispicturebook.com/2012/11/paris-special-pulin-bottier.html 

57 comments:

  1. it's beautiful and looks so peaceful too.

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  2. What a wonderful "postcard" you have sent all of us - a true gift. With all the terrible news facing us here in the US right now, and really the entire world, and a terrible storm and tornadoes bearing down on the South tonight and tomorrow, it's difficult to watch the news, so having a lovely, calm and beautiful place to visit offers a true respite from all the woes we seem faced with at this point.

    Thank you for taking the time to share the magical Carmargue with us. Seen through your artistic eye, it is even more beautiful. You and your jumping boots look fabulous, and that gorgeous Camarque horse looks so pleased that you chose him (or her). I would love to see you galloping along the beach, blond "mane" flying in the wind along with his.

    I adore le Saunier de Camargue fleur de sel, and for those who haven't tried it, it's well worth seeking it out. Once you use it to "finish" your dishes, you won't want to use anything else. Two years ago, after getting a taste of it in France, my sister told me that's all she wanted for Christmas. I ordered her a five-pound box, and she was thrilled. I think she was more excited by the salt than her other gifts, including an H scarf! It's that good.

    Thanks again for such a wonderful post. If I'm not blown away tomorrow in the storm, I will be back soon.

    Much love and gratitude,
    Jerrine

    P.S. High praise to the other photographer who captured such great shots of the photographer at work. I have an idea I know who he is.

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    1. So cute your salty Christmas gift to your sister and very intelligently you added an H scarf ;-) epicurean and H addict girls : what a club!
      Catherine

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    2. Hope you faired well after the storms,dearest Jerrine. We had the same one pass through yesterday morn with lots of rain and wind,but sparred the power outages...good thing is it left true Autumn temps in the wake:-)
      Yes, this place our friend has created for us, is such a peaceful place to gather and return to...much needed with the news of the day. Take care, T xx

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    3. Yes, Catherine, we are something, aren't we (in the best possible ways, of course.)

      If I remember correctly, five pounds of that fleur de sel was almost as much as a 90 cm carre!

      Happy cooking and scarf wearing,
      J.

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    4. Trudye, sweets. I figured we were sharing the same storm!

      We made it through the deluge with no real damage. Lots of power lines and trees down, so both the power company and the various fire departments are busy this morning, but the tornados never made it down from the higher elevations. Now, cold weather, please.

      As we know, there are a ton of blogs out there, and pretty much anyone who can type and insert a few photos can put a blog up, but there are few that are as artistically done as MT's or as helpful. I can't imagine the amount of time it takes, especially to write it in a language that you weren't raised speaking. It should certainly win a prize for best blog of the year!

      Stay out of trouble now,
      J.

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    5. Yes,she should! I am not sure how she does it all,while managing to look divine and pulled together at the same time! But, like all here, I am tickled that she does!
      Happy to hear you are safe...now, you stay out of trouble,too;-) T

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    6. My sweet friends, it is so lovely that this has become a place to chat... in all directions! Jerrine and Trudey, so glad you girls made it through the storm alright, I can't imagine how scary the waiting for these must be. Jerrine, so glad you did not take half measures on the salt. You'd be pleased to hear though that there was no mane flying, it was all neatly contained by a protective hat! Trudye, how wonderful that Autumn has arrived. Have a wonderful one! Catherine, I join the club <3 Hugs to you all, and have a great week xx

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  3. Dearest Mai Tai,
    This post is an Equestrian's dream. J'aimerais explorer le carmague à cheval!
    It looks so peaceful...and sybaritic. Thanks for sharing this lovely trip with us!

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    1. Hope you'll be riding through the marshes one day soon, dearest haverfordgal!

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  4. What a wonderful place. Thank you for showing us this little treasure. Another one to add to the Bucket list. I know jumping boots were made for horse riding, but I didn't think anyone actually used them for that purpose!!
    I was intrigued to see an Australian swan amongst the white ones. Are there many others?

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    1. I didn't know that black swans (I saw only one) were from Australia origianlly. Pamela told me the same via FB comment... apparently it was Empress Josephine who brought them to France!

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  5. Oh dear Mai Tai, i did not dare to tell you that we have been and love the Mas de La Fouque. Beautiful puctures as usual.
    I would like to return....Amities
    Monics

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    1. How comes I am not suprised, my dear Monica <3 Amities

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  6. P.S. Whoua horse riding with your H boots, hope that ypu were not at seaside. Still wondetful memories for me on these promenade with horses. I'd like so much to galop into this beautiful nature. We really have the same taste for the addresses when travelling.
    Monica

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    1. We do :-) And for the same activities too!

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  7. My beloved grand mother was in love with these beautiful places and in my early age we went together so many times « en Avignon » et aux Saintes Marie de la Mer ! I remember an incredible wedding in a manade, horses, bulls, colours, songs…..

    Childhood memories, tenderness …. You made my day my dearest MT. Thanks.
    Catherine

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    1. Oh how special and precious these memories are... and what a romantic wedding it must have been! Bamboleo...

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  8. Un rêve !
    Humm le brunch du matin.. !!! (on reconnait les gourmandes !!)
    Amitiées
    Anne Marie

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    1. Le dîner était pas mal non plus.... un bon endroit pour les gourmandes! Amitiés

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  9. This lovely place seems so peaceful, the perfect escape after a busy week.
    France offers such a variety of landscapes, doesn't it? I like all the pictures but the one with the swans is specially pretty. Like Jerrine I can imagine how beautiful you must look like riding a horse at the beach.
    Thank you for sharing this precious moment with us, dearest Mai Tai.
    Big Autumn hugs, Manuela

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    1. Maybe she has another photo of that very scene, Manuela. And, if we're very good, maybe she'll post it.

      Best to you,
      Jerrine

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    2. I hope so, dear Jerrine.
      Warm hugs to you, Manuela

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    3. Agree with you and Trudye, France is absolutely amazing and the variety in landscapes and regions truly astonishing! Parts of the Camargue look like South America, it's a different world on it's own. The swans were beautiful, and I'm sure they are used to being photographed. Doesn't the white one look like posing?

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    4. It does, indeed! Have a lovely week ahead! Manuela*

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  10. Lovely photos .Thank you.
    N.J.

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    1. So nice to know you enjoyed them, thank you!

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  11. Mai Tai
    Thank you for the recommendation which I will show to my husband! It looks beautiful and as I love wildlife seems a perfect place to stay. I also love the rustic serving cabinet in the restaurant. You look effortlessly stylish as always.
    Nicola

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    1. Hope you and your husband will visit this 'petit paradise' one day soon! A lot of the interior elements were rustic, it was a perfect mix.

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  12. Such a beautiful peaceful place you have shared with us, the Camargue. I love this type of break where Mother Nature invites us to sit quietly and take it all in! Thank you for sharing these special moments with us,dear friend.
    I agree with Manuela, France does have such a variety of landscapes at your fingertips! Love that you continue to take it all in...and take us along!
    Looking lovely and relaxed as ever...kudos to the photog for capturing your spirit<3
    I hope you were able to bring home some of that peacefulness! Mwahs, T xx

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    1. You described the esprit so beautifully, my dearest Trudye! It reminds me in this way of 'our special spots' in BS... peaceful and breathtaking at the same time. Big mways, and have a wonderful week ahead xx

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  13. Oh it's beautiful, I will add this to my France folder. I love that you actually wore your jumping boots to ride!
    Just about to head off of my belated 50th birthday trip to the same place you were for yours - can't wait to be back there, it's one of my favourite hotels in the world.
    Tabitha.

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    1. Hope you are having a wonderful time in Venice!

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  14. Gorgeous pics! I never knew France had geography like this and such large expanses of open land so near the Mediterranean. Interesting!

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    1. G, so happy to see you featuring our fearless leader over on your blog today! Great call and I would invite those that have not visited before to check it out today...lots of fun to be had there! T

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    2. I did, and you're right (as always), Trudye. Great blog GSL. And, it seems that you're very well read . . . we've enjoyed some of the same great books.

      Jerrine

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    3. GSL, Happy you liked the pics, and hope you might visit one day! Great blog, could not agree more with Trudye and Jerrine. So honored to be featured, thank you again.

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  15. Dear MaiTai,

    Camargue looks magical, did not know such a place existed in France. We are so lucky to have you, and you are so generous to take us along! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous...capturing all beauty and peace.

    I loved your last post, but for some reason I have had trouble with my comments posting. Hope this one works!

    Thank you for this wonderful place to escape to from all that is going on in the world.
    Hugs, Simone

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    1. So sorry about the trouble you are having with posting a comment! Thank you for persevering, you would have been missed <3 So happy you enjoy coming along with me, I always think of you ladies when away. Hugs and have a great week.

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  16. It looks so peaceful and pretty...and then I can almost smell those heavenly pastries!

    Looks like a wonderful escape, I miss my riding days!

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    1. The pastries were wonderful, and just the right thing to have before the ride!

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  17. Que la Camargue est belle! je ne connais pas du tout cette région bien que je descende régulièrement dans le Sud. Je vais garder précieusement vos adresses pour un futur voyage.Amitiés.Véronique

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    1. Merci, chère Véronique! J'espère vous allez avoir l'occasion de rester dans la Mas de la Fouque à votre prochaine visite dans la région. Amitiés

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  18. Très chère MAITAI merci de se beau reportage qui me ramène quelques années en arrière et qui me rend nostalgique de cet endroit idyllique en plus vous avez eue un temps superbe
    Un endroit ou retourner
    Bises et très bonne fin de semaine
    MYRIAM

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    1. Je suis ravi que les photos ont rapporté des belles mémoires, ma chère Myriam! Une très belle semaine à vous. Bises

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  19. Oh, Mai Tai, thank you for your glorious "travelogue" of Camargue. I have traveled a bit in France, and never knew that this little jewel of a place existed! Your photographs are wonderful... they absolutely draw me in. It looks like a place where one would find peace and contentment. I am so glad you had a chance to spend time there. Thank you for bringing us there "in spirit."

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    1. Thank you for coming along with me in spirit, dear Elaine! So happy you enjoyed the pictures, and that the peacefulness came across in them. Hope you can visit this magical spot on one of your next trips to France.

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  20. Dearest MaiTai,
    What an amazing place - the breathtaking tranquility seems to go on forever, truly a paradise. Your wonderful excursion sounds so idyllic. As always, thank you so much, dear MaiTai, for sharing your many cherished moments. Your pictures are always so incredibly vivid, they tell the most beautiful, unforgettable stories. My favorites are pictures of you <3 Wishing you a golden happy weekend, with love and big hugs xxx

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    1. Dearest Scarf Enthusiast, if anything can make this magical place even more special, it is sharing it here with you. Writing the 'postcards' brings back so vividly every moment and detail of the trip, which is something wonderful to cherish. A big and heartfelt hug to you and the other ladies <3 Have a wonderful week xx

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  21. Dear MaiTai,

    What a fantastic place to go to for a peaceful getaway , your pictures are wonderful makes me feel like I am there, and the horses and other wildlife everything looks perfect.

    Have a lovely weekend
    Jane x

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    1. Thank you for coming along, dearest Jane! Hope you had a lovely weekend too, and have a great week ahead x

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  22. Dear Mai Tai, as a great admirer of yours I am completely spellbound by those wonderful and captivating postcards you treat us with. It really does lift my spirits and I can't thank you enough for those. Like the other writers we do tend to forget our troubles such as storms/or hurricanes and the violent world in which we live in when we get your post. Katherinex

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    1. Thanks so much for the lovely note, dear Katherine. It really makes me happy to know you enjoy these x

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  23. All of it is stunning, beautiful - what can I say; it's perfection - like being on a movie set.

    Even the little black and white sports car is impossibly chic. And, I enlarged the photo, and you looked just like Grace K. in "To Catch a Thief." Maybe you'll get nostalgic again and give us a picture of you at 28 outside of that car! I doubt there's been much change.

    Thank you for a very delightful trip to Cannes. Can hardly wait to see where you take us next.

    Jerrine

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