Your 9-hour tour of southern France’s Camargue countryside begins with morning pickup by minivan from your Avignon hotel. Enjoy scenic views of water intersecting with land as you travel through the Camargue, an enormous river delta spotted with ancient settlements, red salt lagoons and salty marshes. Spot wild horses, bulls, swans and the region’s signature pink flamingoes as you make your way to the first stop, the medieval city of Aigues-Mortes.
With your expert guide, wander the winding streets of Aigues-Mortes to view the grand city wall – a superbly preserved example of 13th-century military fortification – and learn about the city’s storied past. Admire impressive venues like Eglise Notre-Dame des Sablons and take a 1-hour roundtrip train ride into the area’s salt marshes. Listen as your guide describes the process of salt harvesting that has characterized this region since the 8th century. Afterward, grab some lunch at a sunny courtyard café or restaurant (own expense) before catching a cable-ferry to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer.
As you tour Les Saintes Maries, stop at the well-visited Romanesque church and learn how this fishing village has long been a holy place by cultures including Celts, Romans, Christians and Gypsies. Here, you may climb to the church’s ramparts for scenic views (own expense), stroll through the cobbled streets or relax on the beach.
The final stop on your full-day tour is the UNESCO-listed city of Arles, a stunning seaside town known to many as the landscape for Van Gogh’s paintings La maison jaune and Le café de nuit. Tour these famous settings and Arles’ landmarks like Les Arènes d’Arles (the Arles amphitheater) and Eglise Saint Trophime before returning to Avignon. Your tour ends with drop-off at your hotel in the evening.