Camargue's vast plains

A few minutes south of Arles you swiftly enter the flats of the Camargue, France’s fabled wetlands of wild horses and flamingos. At the end of the road – literally – is Saintes-Maries de la Mer, as pretty and out-of-the-way a seaside town as you’ll find anywhere. The beaches may be great, the town built for wandering, but it’s the getting here that’s the real treat. This is the country’s very own Wild West, where cowboys work the land under wheeling eagles, and the land itself seems to fight to hold back the sea: marshes and rice paddies melt into salt water lakes, tall reeds shelter sea lavender, the Mediterranean nearby. Cycling is the perfect way to see the Camargue, quietly passing through an undisturbed, pristine land. And wait until you get a sea breeze behind you, freewheeling you alongside the sea, past grazing white horses, under the Camargue’s big, big sky.

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