Wildlife – Maison des Vignerons

Camargue National Park has beautiful wild white horses, from which Camarague acquired its name, native sea birds, bulls and an abundance of charming pink flamingos.

Carmargue Horses

The Camargue is one of the oldest breeds in the world, closely related to the prehistoric horses whose remains have been found elsewhere in southern France. At birth they are coloured dark brown or black, but turn white around the fourth year.

Camargue horses are smaller than their modern cousins. They are used in rounding up Camargue bulls. They are never stabled, but well able to survive the humid summer heat and the biting winter cold.

Riders are called Gardians. Gardians are as near as anyone to living the cowboy way of life. They play a major role in guarding Camarguais traditions and the Confrerie des Guardians (the brotherhood) goes back to 1513 and St George, their patron,. They live in traditional cabanes, thatched and windowless single-story structures furnished with bulls’ horns over the door to ward off evil spirits.

Pink Flamingos

The pink flamingo is the emblem of Camargue, and it is the only place in France (and one of the few  in the Mediterranean) where pink flamingos nest. The flamingo population can reach 20,000 couples grouped into flocks.

Flamingoes eat mainly plankton, notas, ,that are responsible for the flamingo’s pink plumage.

Black Bulls

The Camargue is home to a special breed of bull which are noticeably smaller that most breeds, and are raised for their prized meat, sought by local gourmets.

Bulls are also used in bull running and bull fighting, that dates back to the 16th Century, during which young men called razeteurs try to pick a cockade fixed between the horns of a running bull.