An Excursion en Camargue – The Heart of Provence

An Excursion en Camargue – The Heart of Provence

If you had to find the Wild West in France, look no further than the Camargue in Provence. Complete with wild white horses and bulls, AUCP students explored the wind-whipped flatlands of the delta this past windy springtime Saturday in la Camargue. The region in Provence is known for its extensive  rich bio-diversity and production of every gourmet’s favorite – Fleur de Sel de Camargue. Led by Provence Through Literature and Film professor Marie-Anne Rossignol, the outing highlighted the subjects, history and scenery described in works by prolific 19th- and early 20th-century Provençal author-poets Joseph d’Arbaud and Frédéric Mistral.

Poet Joseph d’Arbaud (1874-1950) fiercely defended the Provençal regional language, writing his works exclusively in his forefathers’ language. He was particularly attached to the Camargue, having left law school in Aix-en-Provence to become a gardian, a Camarguais bull-herder and wrote the majority of his works in and about the region.

AUCP à la Camargue

The outing began aboard a miniature train, giving students the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Camarguais marshland flora and fauna – white camargais horses, bulls, flamingos and more. The exploration of the marsh continued on foot to get an up-close look at the horses and bulls!

The afternoon included a visit to the village Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, known as the « Capital of the Camargue ». Students were led to the rooftop of the church, for dominating views over the Camargue countryside and the seaside village of the Camargue. A picnic at the beach completed the day!

Did you know? La Camargue is:

  • Western Europe’s largest river delta.
  • Known for its white Camargue horses (camargais), Camargue cattle ( taureau) and its traditional gardians,  Provençal cowboys!
  • Home to more than 400 species of birds, including the flamingo.
  • Symbolized by the croix de Camargue: faith (the cross), hope (the anchor), charity (the heart) and the cattle guardians (the tridents at the end of each cross).
  • Where Fleur de sel de Camargue, a prized and delicate sea salt, is harvested by hand.

Photographs of the sunny day, below!

All photos by AUCP students themselves! Great thanks to Providence College student Colleen and Fordham University student Kellyn.

Want to learn more about ‘Provence Through Literature and Film’? Check out our recent blog post on the class. For more information on AUCP regional excursions in the South of France, visit our website, or see other excursion-related blog posts!