The Camargue Horse
Allow me to first claim that these photos are from a trip back in 2006. They clearly show how much technology has improved since that time. While the photos aren’t exactly the greatest, the experience and journey most certainly was.
In southern France is a remote town that is nestled along the Mediterranean sea on a delta flanked by the Rhone River. This 360 square mile delta is strangely barren, with salt flats and sea marshes but teaming of life and color with Pink Flamingos, black Camargue Bulls, and white Camargue horses. The Camargue could be viewed as the French wild west with Provencal cowboys and a rough and tough landscape.
St. Maries de la Mer
My friends and I reached the Camargue after a four-day long horseback ride from the Luberon Mountains to the flat salt marshes surrounding Saintes Maries de la Mer. The day had grown long and hot, and we were anxious to get back our land legs. We were riding in the heat of the summer, and the drought on the flat lands were clearly evident by the deep cracks in the dirt.
Along the dried flat lands.
Can you see the Flamingos in the distance?
After arriving to the Mazet de la Grenouillere Hotel we were greeted by a cool pool, and friendly white horses in the front waiting for us to go out and play on the beach.
Saintes Maries de la Mer offers everything in life that I love – beautiful natural scenery, a charming village, plenty of shops with local (say French Provencial) food, wine and handicrafts, fabulous restaurants, wildlife and bird watching and best of all – horseback riding!
It is said that the three saints, Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome, and Mary Jacobe sailed to this area after witnessing the empty tomb of Jesus after his resurrection. The town is now a pilgrimage destination for gypsies who honor Saint Sarah, a dark-skinned saint from Eqypt who is said to have been a servant to the three Marys.
Church where shrine for Saint Sarah is held.
The afternoon was enjoyed by a thorough gallop along the beach which progressively became more nude . There is nothing like being cussed at by a naked Frenchman because your horse kicked sand in his face !
The evening was spent in celebration for a well-ridden week at the Restaurant Le Delta with a traditional and local dish, Gardiane la Camargue ‘Bull Stew’ which you can make at home with traditional Beef Shanks.
Now time for the final day of our journey in the Camargue. The morning was planned for a three-hour trail ride in the Camargue National Park and Preserve. We were told that bulls and horses run free in the preserve, and is host to over 300 species of birds. The Camargue Preserve is now a Unesco World Heritage Site and covers over 350,000 acres of land.
To get to the delta, a short ferry ride was necessary. Loading people, horses, cars and other random items, all piled onto the small ferry for the quick ride over the river. On the other side is a small soda stand, perfect to refresh from the beating sun and high heat.
After a short break and back in the saddle, we headed out to the sea in search of the elusive black bulls. While we were able to see some far in the distance, they just seemed like black spots to me. Our trail guides prepared a wonderful Provencial lunch for us in the shade and allowed us plenty of time for lunch and a nap.
Working on my tan, although my hands were white when I got home. Gee, wonder why?
Provencial Lunch on the Camargue
Source: www.travelchannel.com – By: Kwin Mosby
Visiting Paris? Take your significant other to one of the city’s most romantic spots, including the Eiffel Tower, The Wall of “I Love You’s,” Luxembourg Gardens or Île Saint Louis on the Seine.
Photography by Thinkstock
Montmartre Montmartre is set on a hill in northern Paris. It’s a great spot to take your significant other for break-taking views of the city. Wander through the narrow, winding streets lined with small cafes and shops. Salvador Dali, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh were just a few well-renowned artists who had studios or worked in the Parisian neighborhood.
Click Here to View 16 Photo www.travelchannel.com
Photograph by Aaron Black / Aurora Photos
No, you’re not in Venice. Travel to the town of Annecy, in southern France, and you’ll discover Thiou, a canal along which stands a centuries-old castle: Palais de I’Isle (or Island Palace). Built in 1132 as the fortified home of the Lord of Annecy, the residence later saw many other uses: a courthouse, a mint and even a jail from the Middle Ages until 1865, then briefly again during WW II. Today, it’s home to a local history museum. Source: www.travelchannel.com
Photograph by Aaron Black / Aurora Photos
Welcome to Basque country. Just 13 miles from Spain, the laidback, coastal town of Biarritz, France, has a star attraction: Villa Belza (“belza” means black in the local Basque dialect).The towering medieval-style home was built in the late 19th century, and has survived a series of fires, storms and other mishaps, only to sit serenely at the pounding Atlantic’s edge for your viewing pleasure.
Although some people argue that Paris has been trumped by New York or Berlin in the realm of artistic vibrancy, it’s still a place where the arts are revered and new talent is rigorously spotlighted, and top Paris museums generally strive to both preserve artistic legacy and expose the public to exciting contemporary artists. Housing some of the globe’s most important and rich collections, these top ten Paris museums are outstanding for their breadth, accessibility to all and historic importance.
2©2007 Musee du Louvre/Angele Dequier
To learn the Louvre3 in and out, you might need a lifetime. Still, one has to start somewhere. The site of the world’s largest and most diverse collection of pre-20th century painting, sculpture, and decorative objects, The Louvre is generally considered Paris’ most important museum. Not forgetting the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, bask in the works of Vermeer, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and countless others. The palace itself is testament to a rich history spanning from the medieval period to the present. The adjacent Tuileries gardens are perfect for a stroll pre-or post-visit.
11©2007 Courtney Traub.
Inaugurated in 1977 as part of the the bold postmodern venture that marked the opening of the Centre Georges Pompidou12, the National Museum of Modern Art (MNAM) houses one of the world’s most prestigious collections of 20th-century art.
Hosting nearly 50,000 works of painting, sculpture, architecture, and other media, the permanent collection at the National Museum of Modern Art is freshly curated every year to reflect new acquisitions. Two floors cover major 20th-century movements, from Cubism to Surrealism and Pop Art. The temporary collections are nearly always worth a visit, too.
17©2003 Alexander Franke
Walk over the bridge from the Louvre to the Musée d’Orsay18— and see the bridge between classical and modern art. Housing the world’s most important collection of impressionist and post-impressionist painting, the Musée d’Orsay’s light, airy rooms whir you through three floors of modern wonders, from Degas’ ethereal dancers to Monet’s water lilies, all the way to Gaugin’s leafy jungles. Major works by Van Gogh, Delacroix, Manet, and others await you, too.
23©2006 Claude Cf. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
The completely-renovated Petit Palais24, situated near the prestigious Champs-Elysées, houses 1300 works from the antiquity through the early 20th century, featuring masterpieces by Courbet, Cezanne, Monet, and Delacroix. Admission to the permanent collection is free for all, while temporary collections are free for visitors under the age of 13.
292009 Karl Blackwell. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons license.
Contemporary art buffs are behooved to pay a visit to the city of Paris’ museum of modern art30, created in 1961 and housed in the distinctive Palais de Tokyo, itself opened during the 1937 Universal Exposition. Featuring over 8,000 works spanning all major trends in 20th and 21st century arts, the Museum of Modern Art of Paris hosts a constant stream of exciting temporary exhibits, more recently exploring the works of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and American artist Elaine Sturtevant. The terrace outside the palace affords a striking and head-on view of the Eiffel Tower31.
34©2006 La Cade Photo de Got. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
This museum dedicated to the medieval period– exploring both art and daily life in the “Moyen Age”– is one of the city’s best, but is often overlooked. Housed in the striking Hotel de Cluny35, a late 15th century Abbey, the museum is built above Gallo-Roman thermal baths built between the 1st and 3rd centuries– parts of which can be visited. The permanent collection’s “crown jewel” is a 15th century tapestry, The Lady and the Unicorn36, much revered for its sumptuous colors and enigmatic allegorical symbolism. The grounds also include a garden meant to mimic medieval aromatic and medicinal gardens, providing a pleasant place to read or slowly stroll.
39Image courtesy of the Rodin Museum.
This museum consecrated to French sculptor Auguste Rodin 40is one of Paris’ finest, and offers a multifaceted look at Rodin’s complex body of work, in addition to works from his brilliant student Camille Claudel, among others. In addition to iconic works such “The Thinker”, the museum hosts an extensive sculpture garden that’s a true pleasure to stoll, or think (as it were) in.
See More: Musée Rodin Visitor’s Guide41
44©2009 IZ Mendoza. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons License.
Anyone wishing to understand Paris’ multi-tiered, complex history would do well to pay a visit to the Carnavalet Museum. Housed within the walls of two Renaissance-era mansions, the Hotel de Carnavalet and the Hotel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau (built in the 16th and 17th centuries, respectively), the Carnavalet Museum’s permanent collection traces the history of Paris across over 100 rooms. This exhibit is free of charge to all visitors, and arguably tops the list of Paris’ free museums45. The museum also hosts a series of temporary exhibits highlighting various periods or aspects of the Parisian heritage.
See more about the Carnavalet in this video about the Marais neighborhood in Paris46.
49Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Situated on the stately grounds of the Luxembourg Gardens, this museum is one of Europe’s oldest, and was opened in 1750 as France’s first state-run collection of paintings. It hosts a a small number of temporary exhibits per year, but these are almost always highly anticipated and popular with the general public. Exhibits in recent years have focused on artists including Modigliani and Vlaminck.
512009 NCaballe. Some rights reserved under the Creative Commons license.
This is another lesser-known gem in the Paris arts scene that focuses on masterpieces in 18th century painting. Housed in a 19th century private mansion, the Jacquemart-Andre museum52 was founded by art collector Edouard André and focuses on works from French painters including Jean Marc Nattier, Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Fragonard or Jacques-Louis David.