Tag Archives: Arles

Carro, Bouches du Rhône, Friday 9th August 2013



Motorhome aire at Carro, right by the Mediterranean

Motorhome aire at Carro, right by the Mediterranean


 We have made it to the Mediterranean at last and it’s only taken us 5 weeks! We’ve been here for 2 days at the motorhome aire on Quay Vérandy. We thought this aire was actually going to be in Martigues, which is where we were hoping to stay, but after driving around in Martigues looking for it without success, we entered the co-ordinates given on the aires guide book (‘Le Guide Officiel Aires de Services Camping Cars’: Lat 43º 19′ 46” N Long 5º 2′ 23” E) and it brought us here, about 6 or 7 miles further south!

Taking a walk on the rocky landscape

Taking a walk (and a beer) on the rocky landscape – motorhome aire in background


The drive from St Remy de Provence was very easy, following the D99 west to join the D570 south to Arles and from there gently south east on N113 and N568. We just had a quick stop at Supermarché to stock up on food and we were here for 12 noon.



Carro beach


It’s still hot here, but very windy, maybe experiencing some of that famous Provençal Mistral, so much so that the wind pushed the motorhome off the levelling blocks earlier on when we were actually inside! It definitely rocked us like never before!


Cove and beach

Cove and beach – great for snorkelling


Still, it’s been very sunny for the last couple of days and we have enjoyed a few swims in the warm Mediterranean sea. We have also made the most of our snorkelling gear and have enjoyed a very peaceful time spotting the various fish around the rocks surrounding the beach. There is something very special and magical about swimming with the fish, oblivious to everything else, listening only to the sound of your breathing: it’s almost like being on another planet.


Strange sights at the fish market

Strange sights at the fish market


Carro is mainly a fishing village and this morning we bought some mussels directly from one of the port’s fish stalls by the aire. It was definitely the most popular stall in the market and we had to queue for a few minutes to get our kilo, which I cooked à la Marinière for lunch: fresh and delicious!


Preparing the mussels for lunch.  Can't get them fresher than that!

Preparing the mussels for lunch. Can’t get them fresher than that!



We feel really privileged here on this aire right by the sea: we’re a mere 50 metres from the water’s edge and just 5 minutes’ walk from the little beach in the cove, nicely sheltered and supervised during the day. It’s funny, though, how only around the corner from here, in the open sea, it’s really rough and a few people are enjoying windsurfing and body boarding in the strong current and waves.


The rough sea round the corner, perfect for windsurfing, etc

The rough sea round the corner, perfect for windsurfing, etc


This aire costs 10 a day, payable at the entrance by credit card: same system as in Bourget-du-Lac, and there is no electricity either, but plenty of water.


I just like this seagull hovering over the boats

I just like this seagull in the sun


Tomorrow we’re heading for a France Passion bull farm in the Camargue, which should be really different to everything we’ve seen so far.


Seagulls enjoying a meal

Carro and marina

French windows, shutters and doors


I know this is a bit of a lame topic, but I have to admit that over the last two years travelling through France, I seem to have developed an obsession with French windows, shutter and doors, often staring at them for ages and losing my husband in the process of photographing them.

There is not much to say, just that I think they are beautiful and I will understand if nobody else agrees with me or people find the topic boring or uninteresting.

For those of you who might be interested, here are some that caught me eye.

Arles, Provence


Arles, Provence



Arles, Provence


Arles, Provence


Mers-les-Bains, Le Somme


Mers-les-Bains, Le Somme


Mers-les-Bains, Le Somme


St-Cirq Lapopie, Le Lot


St-Cirq Lapopie, Le Lot















Provence: Stes Maries-de-la-Mer, La Camargue, Monday 9th April 2012



Camargue horses and riders



It’s been a fantastic Easter weekend and the sun has been shining most of the time, albeit windy in our first taste of the mistral!

After leaving our wonderful wild camping spot at Lac de Pareloup, we drove to explore the opposite side, as it is facing east and had the sun from early morning till evening, but the only access to the beaches there was through the campsites, which seemed to be closed this early in the year.  So now we know for future reference.

So we took the small roads D993 and D30 to Millau, where we tried to find the motorhome aire to stop for coffee, but it wasn’t signposted and we just drove through the large town to the south side on the D809, bought a baguette and cake and stopped at Le Larzac between junctions 47 and 48 on the A75, with very strange rock formations to distract us, on our way to Portiragnes to visit Adonis’ mum and dad.

We avoided the expensive Millau viaduct (€10.10) and we enjoyed the FREE motorway all the way, which was nice for a change.

We were in Portiragnes just after midday and it wasn’t long before Bramble got into a fight with Huntley (in-law’s dog) when he tried to eat his food, resulting in Huntley biting Bramble’s ear and piercing it in 3 places:  perhaps we should put studs in them and make him fashionable.

We sat by the pool for the rest of the day, sheltered from the wind by the east wall of the house: a real sun trap, which required sunblock, sunglasses and hat!

Saturday was also very leisurely spent, with just a quick trip to Carrefour for food and beer for the next few days, enjoying more sunshine by the pool, even though the water wasn’t warm enough to swim in it yet.

The day ended with a magnificent meal a Le Cep d’Or in Béziers, where we enjoyed a delicious 3-course meal for €17.50 each, which included sardine croquettes, salmon mousse and goat’s cheese gratin for starters, lamb stew (similar to Shepherd’s pie), fillet of plaice with roast potatoes and roasted chicken breast with vegetables for main course and for dessert we had gallette Bretonne, Crème Catalane and assorted cheeses.  The service is very friendly and efficient in a small and intimate setting, which also has tables on the terrace, but the weather wasn’t up to sitting outside (perhaps when we return in the summer).

Unfortunately, the wind brought the rain and we had to make a quick run back to the car, as we were all wearing summer clothes and only had one umbrella between us that I’d taken as a precaution.

I felt very tired when we got back to the house and went straight to bed, for we wanted to leave early on Sunday morning and beat the traffic on our way to Arles.

Arles and the river Rhone

This time we decided to bite the bullet and pay the motorway tolls in order to make good time and joined the A9 at J35 at a cost of around €20 in total, paid in 3 different stages, but at least we were in Arles for 11 am and found the free motorhome aire/car park right on the quay of the river Rhône and walked into town to be greeted by a very lively Easter Fiesta, with various brass bands performing at different spots in the town, huge paellas being cooked outdoors and people dancing in the streets and generally having a good time.

Paellas being cooked in the streets



Espace Van Gogh, Hotel Dieu

We managed to drag ourselves away from these merry celebrations and visited the Espace Van Gogh (Hotel-Dieu), where the artist was sent after assaulting Gaugin and cutting his ear off.  This is now a cultural centre and has recreated the beautiful courtyard flower beds according to his paintings.  I also loved the yellow arches and arcades, where some Art and souvenir shops can be found.






Ruins of Roman Theatre


We also enjoyed walking around the Roman Theatre and the Amphitheatre, wonderfully preserved, and where a bullfighting fiesta was taking place.  Apparently it can sit 20,000 spectators.

We spent some time admiring the doorway of the Cathedrale St-Trophime in Place de la Republique with its magnificent 12th century Provenҫal stone carving depicting the Last Judgement.

But the most impressive event of the day, and indeed to whole weekend has to be the jaw-dropping show of the Camargue horses and their riders (or guardians) running the bulls up and down the Boulevard des Lices, the riders trying to contain the bulls in the middle of a group of horses and young men alongside the bulls, grabbing their trimmed horns and tails to keep them under control.  We’d never seen anything like it before and were suitably impressed.



The running of the bulls

The running of the bulls

Grabbing the bull by the horns












After lunch and a quick rest, we walked along the river walls where Van Gogh used to walk with candles on his hat.  This portion of the walk is marked on the ground with tile gravings depicting the artist and it also has red street lamps along the river (impossible to miss).

Following Van Gogh footsteps along river walls in Arles


We enjoyed more bands playing outside the amphitheatre to a huge crowd of people and noticed these were getting merrier and merrier and louder and louder.  Back in la Place de la Republique, we delighted listening to a very young and entertaining brass band, bought some gifts in Espace V. G., had a drink in the busy Boulevard and finished with a pizza late in the evening, admiring the sunlight bathing the town from the opposite side of the Rhône: the perfect room with a view and a great ending to a most enjoyable day.

Celebrating Easter Sunday by amphitheatre








Brass Band in Place de la Republique










Le Pont Van Gogh

This morning we drove looking for Van Gogh’s Bridge and followed the signs from the outskirts of the town, but they soon left us on the D35 south of town and ended up driving about 3 km before we realized it couldn’t be that far and did a u-turn.  Sure enough, just entering the town again, we saw a sign that wasn’t visible at the roundabout from the opposite direction and found and photographed the famous bridge.

After filling up with diesel, we took the D570 southwest to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer on a very well maintained road which made easy travelling and got here for 10.30 am.



We are at a huge campsite – Camping de la Brise – with just a hedge and a fence between us and the beach, Plage Est.  It’s been very sunny and warm all day, but the wind’s still blowing (that’s how the campsite got its name, I expect).

Camping de la Brise

I’ve just taken Bramble for a long walk around the bird sanctuary in the Etang dit L’Impérial and admired the majestic and striking pink flamingos and other wading birds.


Pink flamingos in La Camargue

We look forward to an evening and another day in the sun: hopefully the wind will drop…