Pink Salt Lake in Provence France
This pink salt lake is one magical sight from above an ancient fort in Aigues-Mortes, south of France. It is right next to Camargue National Reserve, where you can see pink flamingos and white horses running free. I had an enjoyable day breathing in all the pink but the fierce sun gave me a heat stroke as well. After a whole day in bed with fever, I continued on with excitement but would make a few suggestions for you from this experience.
Read below for my Must-Go Top 3 spots in this area, tips on when to visit, where to stay, and what to pack (!!). Don't ruin your wonderful trip like I did (well, I was lucky enough to have friends taking care of me there)!
Top 3 spots to See
1.Towers and ramparts of Aigues-Mortes
The fortifications of Aigues-Mortes is a very well preserved military structure built at the peak of Gothic architecture. From the ramparts or from the dungeons’ terrace, you will overlook an amazing sight on the Camargue and the salt marshes whose colours alternate between blue, pink and purple, depending on the angles and strength of rays. You can see different shades of pink in my photos above.
There are often art exhibitions within the towers (only a few are air-conditioned). Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto's salt installation was showing while we were there, which left us in awe. He literally placed the salt ultra carefully to make these patterns... I wonder if that was the salt from the area? The exhibition is on until 30 Nov 2016, click here for more information.
One tip for you is to get prepared and hydrated before you go up to the towers because once you are up, you have to walk for about 1.5-2hours along the rampart, which is 4 walls around the little town it is protecting. I wasn't aware of that ahead of time, and when I was half-way, I knew I was going to get a heat stroke from the open-air walking under the sunny blue sky. I have a few suggestions below (under the "What to pack" section) about what you should bring with you if you plan to go there.
Price : 7,50€ ; Free under 26 years old (except school groups) . Buy tickets here.
2. Camargue National Reserve
(Photo credit to pinterest)
Within an hour drive from the fort, you can realise your dream of being a goddess - go for the signature white horses and countryside safari. You can even ride the horses along the beach or herd and feed the bulls in the various breeding farms within the area. These activities are often accompanied by some country style meals, shows, and entertainments. Most of these are available all year round. Prices vary, click here for more information.
3. Pont de Gau bridge
About 40mins from the national reserve, this is the best spot to see hundreds of pink flamingos up close. Located within Parc Ornithologique, the 60-hectare ornithological reserve is composed of coastal wetlands, marshes, grasslands, canals, reed beds and flood plains. It is open all year round. More information here.
Price: 7,50€/adult ; 5€/child (age 4 – 12)
When to Visit
Go during summer time between July to September, when most of the activities are on and weather is perfect for photos. Don't aim to do everything within one day - spare a long weekend there as you might need a full day (9am-9pm) for each location, especially if you are keen on picture-perfect shots!
Where to Stay
1. Get pampered and energised
(Photo credits to La Plage Hotel & Spa )
La Plage Hotel & Spa is within the city of La Grande Motte, 13mins away from Aigues-Mortes. You and your loved ones can literally spend a week within the resort area, getting yourself busy at the three golf courses, water park, equestrian center, casino, shows at the 1300-seat auditorium, nightclubs, boats, spas, private beaches, ... and many more.
2. Stay casual & chic
(Photo credits to owner of this villa)
This Airbnb villa in Le Grau-du-Roi, Languedoc-Roussillon is only 9mins drive from the fort. Absolutely perfect for a group of friends or family who like the French minimal nautical style. With 7 bedrooms, this cute house can cater for up to 14 people. With minimum stay of only 2 nights, the host keeps it flexible for on-the-go travellers.
What to Pack
With my experience, the first and foremost thing I would advise you to bring is TONS OF WATER! Do hydrate yourself along the whole journey, as there were only a few spots where food and drinks were available. On top of that, here are a few items I would suggest to bring along:
1. Straw hats
Keep yourself in the shade while keeping the head cool with an airy straw hat. Pick the ones with wide rims like this one if possible.
Make sure the lenses of your sunglasses are made with UV protection. The sun is fierce during summer and your eyes will certainly need to be in the shade as well. This pair of Owl Eyes with reflective silver mirror UV lens keeps you cool.
3. Lightweight quality camera
I personally love my DSLRs but if you prefer to travel light, you might consider this Canon G7X Mark II as your travel-friendly compact camera. It gives you the feel of a DSLR (and similar high image quality), without having to lug around a variety of different lenses. The maximum aperture is f/2.8, which is handy for low light shooting, too.
4. Long-sleeved white shirt
Believe me, white is the best color to reflect the boiling sunshine. An airy white linen shirt like this one from Grana is definitely essential to protect yourself from building up too much heat or getting burnt (I am basically a sponge for rays and can absorb the whole sun within minutes!).
5. Handy backpack
Traveling in these all-day-walking trips will require a handy bag to carry all the above essentials. My GLUSH/ backpack would be best for that as the canvas provides a light body and you can put your camera(s), water bottle, guidebooks, and other personal stuff in the multiple compartments. Split the weight between both shoulders instead of one.
If you wish to know more about my itinerary, personal tips, or other suggestions, feel free to email me or leave a comment below!