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The Camargue and Beyond
by


Professor Arnie Greenberg

 


Camargue Roundupi

Just as there’s a delta where Louisiana meets the Gulf of Mexico, so too is there a rich delta where the two arms of the Rhone River of France reaches the Mediterranean. It is technically reclaimed land that creates a nature reserve where white horses run free and black bulls are bred to run through the streets or to fight in an arena. At the edge of the great Roman city of Arles the flat, marshy marsh is the stage of salt flats, flamingos, black bulls, white wild horses and a colorful population.

South East of Montpellier through the new modern vacation communities  

We arrived at the walled city of Aigues Mortes which is the place from where many crusaders sailed to meet the foe in the Middle East. This ancient city with a perfectly perpendicular design boasts a Tourist office with a great deal of information, great restaurants and a wide variety of souvenirs. Walking along the great wall is like walking into history. While the city was once a port, it is now a fair distant from the sea.

From there, our destination was Arles, that great Roman outpost and a city connected with Van Gogh. But it was on the way to Arles that we drove through the great salt flat delta called the Camargue.

The area which is the Delta of the Rhone is a wide expanse of marshland. Beside the rice patties and salt flats, the horizon is dotted with wild white horses that roam the marshy grasslands and the herds of black fighting bulls. This is a cowhand’s dream and many of the ranchers are gypsies who round up the animals as the wild flamingoes scatter.

It’s a visual masterpiece and a place to relax. Once you get to Arles, life changes. Here the legacy of ancient Rome includes a magnificent Coliseum and many other ruins. I suggest a stay here for a few days, just to get a feel for the area. From there I headed east towards Avignon, another gem for tourists with time on their hands.


Flamingos  

Wild Horses

ON TO NICE…The Big Olive

A major city on the Cote d’Azure with modern hotels, a new airport built out over the sea, and that southern feeling of hospitality is Nice. The city has grown in my lifetime but while it’s often crowded, it is a city with a charm of its own, a style, a history and a Mecca for lovers of Art.

While the city does boast a Museum of Modern art, the two smaller museums, dedicated to Matisse and Chagall’s Biblical works are what draws me.

I’ve been there in summer when it’s warm but doable and during the winter when it’s more comfortable than I imagined. Then, as the winter wanes, the local population puts on one of the most elaborate flowered float parades I have ever seen. Its Mardi Gras, French style. You will long remember this event.

I was very surprised at the wonderful dining room setting at Flo just behind the Galleries Lafayette. This one time movie theatre was converted into a restaurant where the kitchen was built on the stage so the patrons can watch the hustling chefs from what used to be the main theatre seating sections. The gold leaf and paintings create a novel and sophisticated eating place with a four star rating.

Nice has still remnant of the Russian heritage when the feet was moored at nearby Villefranche and the inhabitants built a great Russian Orthodox Cathedral, now open to the public.

Along the water there are sandy beaches and a boardwalk called the Promenade Des Anglais. There are other sites not to be missed. Chagall’s Biblical Art has a building of its own with paintings that are alive. Matisse also is featured in Nice’s northern superb.

There are many good hotels but for an experience of a lifetime I recommend the great Negresco Hotel, expensive but worth the cost.

For more information, the Tourist Office is located at the train station. Ask about the villages above Nice and about the many spots to visit on Cap Ferat, just on the opposite side of the harbor. Eat at a harbor restaurant and visit the Jean Cocteau church on the bay. But don’t leave before you visit the Rothschild Mansion on Cap Ferat. It’s a reminder of a long lost age.

From Montpelier to Villefranche is a perfect holiday route…

Even if you stop to see the sights it’s a perfect two week holiday unless you want more time on the beach.

#   #   #

You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at

Email:  Ultours1@gmail.com

Over the past few years, Professor Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the globe including Italy and most of China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters from St.Petersburg to Moscow. 

"He took a group to Greece and another to northern Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico.  His newly found spare time is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders..  "So You Want To Be A Tour Leader." 

Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.  Keep reading his web for travel ideas.  His next novel HELLSTORM'S Folly, will be available this fall. He now lives in British Columbia.

Go to:  www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at ultours1@gmail.com.

(More about the writer.)

 
 

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