Arriving next to Arles, the Rhône river is divided into two arms : the small Rhône that turns off towards the West and the big Rhône that turns off to the East. The Rhône delta forms a triangle : the island of Camargue, surrounded by water. It was formed about 5,000 years ago. The Rhône delta is the only delta in France. It is the area of alluvium storage between the arms of a river that is divided next to its mouth.
Two areas can be distinguished inside the Camargue :
the closed area between the two arms of the Rhône river forms the Great Camargue whose heart is the pond of Vaccarès, the biggest pond in Camargue (6,500 ha), and whose name comes from herds of wild cows grazing in the surroundings.
the area situated outside and in the West of the small Rhône (leaving the Bouches du Rhône area/county towards the Gard area/county) is the small Camargue.
Rice farming has been done for years as it requires a lot of water ; it’s necessary from April to September. The water brought by the river prevents the area from being burnt by the salt.
Its ecosystem, made of swamps and salted water areas, has a flora full of salt, soaking the soil and the water. Mainly salt-loving plants can grow, such as the sea-lavender, the samphire…
The Camargue is also the territory of an incredible fauna : horse and bull herds, pink flamingoes and many other species or breedings use the delta as a shelter. Situated on the way of the great migrations North/South, it represents a feeding and resting area for numerous birds, its ‘s therefore an excellent stop.
The mares from the « Breeding of the Meadows » were born on this wonderful island, still gallop there and give us their precious milk.