Mèze, Herault, Sunday 11th August 2013

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Oyster beds in the Bassin de Thau

Oyster beds in the Bassin de Thau, Meze

 

Our stop at the Manade des Baumelles France Passion site at Les Cabannes de Cambon in the heart of the Camargue, 11 km from Stes Maries de la Mer on the D38, was a real treat. As we got there just before lunch yesterday, we went to introduce ourselves at the restaurant and had a ‘bière de Gardians’ and a delicious glass of sangría that had been prepared for a group of people who had booked the special guided tour and lunch. We were very impressed with the restaurant, offering mainly bull meat dishes, but also pork, Angus meat and fish and would have eaten there, except they only open at lunchtime and we simply couldn’t manage a big meal like that at lunch.

 

Manade des Baumelles Bull Farm

Manade des Baumelles Bull Farm

 

Manade des Baumelles Bull Farm

Manade des Baumelles Bull Farm

 

The Restaurant at Manade des Baumelles

The Restaurant at Manade des Baumelles

 

 

Enjoying a beer and a sangria in the shade

Enjoying a beer and a sangria in the shade

 

The place was very quiet all day, with just the sound of the bulls, horses and birds, and we were delighted with our evening walk, at around 9 pm to watch the aquatic birds on the marshes, like the Black wing stilts, pink flamingos flying in formation right over our heads, egrets and others. There was also a crescent moon in a most spectacular blue and purple sky I couldn’t tear my eyes away from.

 

A majestic bull

A majestic bull

 

The bulls

The bulls

 

Saying hello to the friendly horses

Saying hello to the friendly horses

 

Black wing stilts at sunset

Black wing stilts at sunset

 

Flamingos flying overhead

Pink Flamingos flying overhead

 

Another glorious sunset

Another glorious sunset and crescent moon

 

One of the guardians told us in the evening that they would be getting the bulls ready for a local feria at 9 in the morning and that we could go and watch them if we pleased, which of course we did. This was most interesting and we enjoyed watching them (from a safe distance) select the bulls to bring them round to the trailer by the farm. This took the most part of an hour and we finally left the site by 10 am.

 

The Gardians of the Camargue at work rounding up the bulls

The Gardians of the Camargue at work rounding up the bulls

 

Rounding up the bulls

Rounding up the bulls

 

Unfortunately, the downside of La Camargue is the mosquitoes and I hardly slept at all last night, as there were over 30 of them (yes, I counted them as I hunted them down!) in the motorhome. I think at one point I was doing some weird version of Kung Fu in bed trying in vane to fight them off. I’ve got LOADS of bites all over my body and I seem to have reacted to them, as some of them are really big and swollen (2” or 5 cm across), but fortunately they’re not itching too much because I’ve put some cream on which gives instant relief (Marie Rose soothing cream – and I swear by the stuff!).

 

The motorhoe aire at Meze in full-on sun

The motorhoe aire at Meze in full-on sun

 

After the Camargue, the idea was to stop at the large motorhome aire at Palavas-les-Flots, a bit further west and a mere 50 minutes drive, but it was really chock-a-block with motorhomes and too overcrowded for our liking. And that, combined with the fact that we drove round twice trying to find the entrance in a very busy sea-side town, where the summer fête and Sunday market were in full swing, made our minds up to carry on further west to the aire at Mèze.

 

Lunch in the shade at Meze

Lunch in the shade at Meze

 

 This aire in Rue du Stade is in full-on sun, has 6 pitches, it’s free and it has free fresh water and emptying facilities, so after making the most of these services, we drove just a couple of hundred meters down the road and parked in the shade of some pine trees, where we had our lunch and a siesta.

 

Karine and Yvan oyster farm at Meze

Stopping for the night at Karine and Yvan Caussel’s oyster farm and France Passion site at Meze

 

We decided not to stop for the night there after all and headed for this oyster farm France Passion site run by Karine and Yvan Caussel, where we’re hoping to buy some mussels in the morning, which they also sell, as I am not a great lover of the oysters themselves and Adonis had a bad experience with them a few years ago. This site can be found by following the signs from the town of Mèze to ‘Ecosite, Complexe Conchylicole and Ferme Pedagogique’.

 

Bassin de Thau

Bassin de Thau

 

We are overlooking the Bassin de Thau, looking towards Sète and all the oyster beds, very special indeed!

4 responses »

  1. Where is this in relation to St. Marie de la Mere? Did you make it there? I absolutely loved the Carmague, and would love to go back. Although I agree about the bugs. Was is overly hot in August? And most important, did you have bull stew?

    • The farm is inland just 11 km north of Stes Maries de la Mere, on the D38 towards Aigues Mortes. It was extremely hot and being in the sun was not an option. We did not have a meal there, as they only opened at lunchtime and we were too hot for such big meals. We’d love to go back too, maybe at Easter when it’s a bit cooler. I am glad you liked it: it really is very special and the birds alone make the trip worthwhile. I know how much you like your birds! 🙂

      • Oh how I wish I was birding back then. We did a horse trail inn-to-inn ride that began in the Luberon mountains and ended up in the Camargue.

        We went in May, and it was hot then. The ground was cracked due to the drought and heat. What a wonderful place though.

      • I haven’t done the horse trail yet, but that is something I’d love to do sometime. I understand that the Camargue horses are very gentle too. May is my favourite time of year: not too hot and not too cold. I bet it was lovely then.

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