The group as a whole headed out in two cars to the Camargue. The Camargue is basically the delta formed by the Rhone River and is flat
and marshy. On the road to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, we passed many places offering the famous Carmague Horse rentals. The horses in stalls along the road had that “back to the barn” type of look that rental horses and bus drivers get after years of doing the same thing.
Our first destination in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer was the Eglise de Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer (or church of our lady of the ocean, more or less; it is a good thing they don’t charge extra for hyphens!). It is not uncommon in Europe to be able to get up into the towers of the churches and cathedrals or to even to be able to circumnavigate the perimeter of the roof. It is, however, unusual to be allowed to walk on the roof surface itself as was possible to
do in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, where the roof is made of thick tile. The process of getting onto the roof itself involves some scrambling on all fours, but you are rewarded with a good view of the red-tiled roofs and whitewashed walls of the buildings of the town. In the distance, the surrounding salt marshes, sandy beaches, and flat pasture lands of the Camargue are visible.
We wandered the streets some more and collected information about the Provencal-style bullfight occurring on Saturday (more about that later). After the prerequisite beer, we departed for our next destination, Aigues-Mortes (sounds to my ear like “egg-mort”).
Aigues-Mortes is thirty or so kilometers from Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. It is a
significantly sized medieval town surrounded by a truly massive and impressive wall. The village inside the town is on a grid plan and is quaint. Shops selling everything from tourist items and art to everyday necessities for the residents flourish. The group scattered about the town, seeing the sights, and doing some casual shopping. Eventually, we recombined and headed back to the house to prepare the new purchases for dinner and resume the wine consumption in earnest.