There is no exact etymology of the word Camargue, subject to many hypotheses. This word could come from a Celto-Ligurian (Provençal) Ca-mar dialect meaning “field covered with water”. Another possibility, based on archival documents, would give it a Latin origin, which would correspond to the domain of Senator Camars, a great landowner whose family dominated the city of Arles in the first century.


The Camargue is a 150,000 ha swampy area formed by the Rhone Delta and the Mediterranean Sea. It is the second largest delta of the Mediterranean and, like all deltas, forms a triangle whose ends are Le Grau du Roi, Arles and Fos sur Mer.

The Camargue is divided into 3 parts:

  • The little Camargue, west of the little Rhône
  • The island of Camargue (or large Camargue), between the two arms of the Rhône
  • Le Plan Bourg, east of the Grand Rhône

Under the influence of the fresh water of the Rhône and the salt water of the Mediterranean Sea, the sun and the wind, the Camargue has formed two distinct landscape zones. To the north, the Camargue fluvio-lacustre consists mainly of freshwater marshes that have enabled the development of agriculture, while to the south, the Camargue laguno-marine, under the influence of salt, has fostered the birth of its own unique ecosystem adapted to the salinity of its marshes and saltwater bodies. In the centre, the Vaccarès Pond covers nearly 6,300 ha and ensures the transition between these two worlds. The diversity of its fauna and flora, both wild and attractive, makes the Camargue one of the largest wetland reserves in Europe. Various protection measures have multiplied to promote the protection of this exceptional natural heritage. In 1928 the botanical and zoological reserve was created and in 1970 the pond of Vaccarès and its surroundings are classified as Regional Natural Park of Camargue. Many other sites such as the Scamandre reserve or the Espiguette plain are also protected by various statutes.

History Antiquity

The first traces of man’s presence in the Camargue date back to antiquity. The Ligurians, indigenous people living on the shores of the Mediterranean, lived from fishing in the pond of Vaccarès. Then the Romans began the cultivation of the Rhone delta and settled the first salt marshes in the territory of Aigues-Mortes. Other peoples also settled in the Camargue like the Vikings, who spent the winter 859 in the Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, or the Saracens during the tenth century. However, very few traces of their passage remain. The Camargue from the Middle Ages During the Middle Ages the monks dried out the marshes and developed agriculture, the forests were also exploited to provide wood for the navy. In 1240 Louis IX dit Saint-Louis buys the monks the lands of Aigues-Mortes to make a fortified port and thus benefit from direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. He built the Carbonnière tower, a watchtower to protect the access to the city, and the Constance tower to shelter the garrison. His son and successor undertook to continue the work on the ramparts, which was not completed until 30 years later. From the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, the extension of salt pans and villages contributed to the advance of agriculture in the delta. During the 20th century, the intensification of rice growing and market gardening accentuated the industrialization and urbanization of the Camargue and consequently led to the regression of wetlands in the delta. From the 1970s, protective measures were put in place to prevent the loss of these fragile natural areas.

  • Taureaux de Camargue
  • Les taureaux à l'honneur
  • Un univers marin
  • On en parle beaucoup
  • La photo du Phare de l'Espiguette
  • Sur la plage de l'Espiguette
  • Pour tous les spectacles emblématiques de Camargue