The Good Life France Magazine

The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...

Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

1 year ago

Summer 2022

Discover captivating Corsica, the island of beauty and glitzy, cinematic Cannes. Explore Antibes, less well known than it's neighbours Nice and Cannes, it's incredibly pretty and authentic, and the Camargue in the south of France where wild white horses and pink flamingoes roam. Come with us to arty Arles, historic Agincourt and Aisne in Picardy - the ancient cradle of France. Meet artisan gin makers in Cognac, discover the prune route of France, fabulous recipes, guides, gorgeous photos, the best tours, what's new in France and delicious recipes - and more...

36 | The Good Life

36 | The Good Life France

On the church roof at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Mas de Peint Traditional Camargue cabin After a rousing parade through the streets, bulls and all, the human contestants on horseback – the raseteurs – attempt to pluck a rosette or cockade from between the bull’s horns. Each contest lasts 15 minutes and at the end of the day, the bulls are taken back home for a quiet night at the ranch. A good cockardier – or competitive bull – is a much-prized beast and there’s a vibrant statue of one fine specimen outside the bull ring in Saintes-Maries-de-la- Mer, a jolly, whitewashed seaside resort with an intriguing backstory. The town takes its name from the three Marys who were the first witnesses to Jesus’s empty tomb after the Resurrection. Legend has it that that Mary Magadalene, Mary Salome, and Mary Jacobe arrived here in a boat after being expelled from Jerusalem around AD40, together with their black servant Sarah who became patron saint of the gypsies. Every May, gypsies from all over Europe gather in town for a religious festival in Sara’s honour. See her statue – dressed in layers of gypsy clothes – in the vaulted crypt of the Romanesque church where the air is heavy from the heat of candles. Then head from the depths of the church up the narrow spiral staircase to the roof, once used as a lookout post against maritime invaders. Take in the views to the marina then head past the boats towards the beach, backed with a line of whitewashed cabanes. Thatched with reeds, they were traditionally used by fishermen and farm workers. With waterways in every direction, it wouldn’t seem right not to take a duck’s eye view of this extraordinary wetland. Some 10km inland from Saintes-Maries, I enjoyed a nature discovery cruise by Zodiac with Kayak-Vert Camargue, who also offer excursions by kayak, paddle board, or mountain bike. But if all this sounds too energetic, there’s yet another way to enjoy this unique area at water level. As well as exploring the Camargue independently, I have cruised the Petit Rhône on board a leisurely hotel barge operated by CroisiEurope, Europe’s biggest river cruise operator. The 7-night trip travels from Sète on the Mediterranean coast to Arles – or the reverse - and includes visits to a traditional manade or camarguais ranch, as well as Les Saintes- Maries and the walled town of Aigues- Mortes. With no strategic port on the western Mediterranean coast, French king Louis XIV commissioned Aigues-Mortes in the 13th century, six kilometres inland and surrounded by malaria-infested swamps. But today, this enchanting town is a mix of historic buildings, shady squares, and rampart walks without the inconvenience of malaria. Visit the commercial salt pans beneath the city walls and buy a bag to enjoy at home with some camarguais rice - an authentic taste of one of Europe’s most inspiring wetlands. The Good Life France | 37

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