There are so many flamingos in France, it seems absolutely ridiculous that the French made the rooster one of their national emblems. I guess they are always thinking with their stomachs. As far as I know, there are no famous specialtie recipes for “Flamand au Vin”.😂
The south of France is by far one of the best places in the world to go see flamingos where a mandatory yellow fever shot is not required. From the Camargue all the way to Sète, this area is rife with flamingo friendly environments.
The pink flamingos of the region, are of the most abundant species of flamingo found anywhere in the world. This region of France is pretty lucky that not all the flamingos migrate during the winter months. With winter average highs of 12 degrees Celsius, there are loads of flamingos to be found here year round. Some seasons are nicer than others, nevertheless their is a 365 day of the year flamingo party in the south of France.
A well placed turd.... or a perfectly timed photo?!?
This area is scattered with lagoons just inland from a barrage of sand dunes that line the coast. These lagoon wetland habitats are exactly what these birds are looking for. Food, a place to nest and enough warmth during winter, this is France's Flamingo paradise. With so many areas to explore, we have singled out 3 that we feel are above and beyond the others. All of which are 100% FREE and provide a high chance for a great encounter.
Saintes Maries De La Mer
This is the only town situated directly inside the Natural Park of Camargue. A tourist hot spot, this town is the jump off point for getting inside the largest protected wetlands in the south of France. The area is gigantic, so even though it might be abundant in flamingos, they can sometimes be so far they are almost out of sight. The area's popularity is also boosted by the ancient breed of Camargue horse. A bread endemic to the area, there are countless amounts of ranches that offer riding through the wetlands. It doesn't get much better than riding a hornless unicorn through a flamingo paradise? The only word of caution we advise you is …… be prepared for mosquitoes! Once the sun goes down the bugs are coming out, and if you aren’t prepared, they will devour you!
An endemic breed of horses and the biggest flamingos nature reserve in the country... Yes please!
Salins de Mireval
This bird park is the final one before the long lagoon that connects to Sète. A lesser visited area, this place makes for some great walks away from the crowds. There are a few smaller lagoons that the flamingos like to visit and many other species of birds can be found here.
Click Salin de Mireval for Directions
It also connects by path to Maguelone island and makes for a great spot to explore the region either by foot or bicycle. Like all the lagoon areas, be careful of quick sand! If you stay on the paths, you’ll be fine….. but if you think it looks dry enough on the shoreline and you want to get closer for a photo or grab a flamingo feather…..you’ve been warned!
A few interesting farms to the south side of the park
LA Maison de La Nature
A stunning nature reserve just south of Montpellier. This park is the best of all worlds, great walks with fantastic flamingo view points and many other species to be found. One of them being storks, who come here to nest in the spring and summer months. Equally as impressive as the flamingos, you can often see them feeding in the same shallow waters. Turtles, rabbits and many other bird species, this park is one of the best all round. Just beware of what time you choose to visit. Try to go in between 9am and 2:30pm. In our experience, once the French’s favorite past time of “Entre Midi et Deux” is finished, this is when they like to all come visit . It's Not Eiffel tower or Mona Lisa busy, but enough to piss off you are trying to enjoy human-less nature.
A few extra bit about the region
Inter webbed between these 3 stellar locations are countless lookout points, walking trails and areas to just simply pull your car over and observe roadside. Even if you have no time to stop, you are almost guarantee to see them while driving through the region.
Males putting on their courting dance in front of Aigues Mortes.
If you are lucky enough to visit the region in between February and April, you have a high chance of catching the males putting on a courtship show to attract a female.
France might get a lot of publicity about its jaw dropping geography and culture, but it's wildlife is rarely spoken of. Frankly, that's because there isn’t much that remains. Like most the rest of Europe, human development has forced most species to the brink of extinction. The good news for the flamingos of south France, is that numbers are on the rise and the French have learned their lesson about what happens to the shore line when you remove the sand dunes for ascetic purposes. (You'll soon find the shoreline in you living room!) Construction in the area is super minimal and all the sand dunes are being protected to help preserve these pink gems and their neighboring species, helping them thrive in one of the last wild places of south of France .
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