Cruising La Camargue And A Date With Vincent Van Gogh In Arles

We had a bit of a “lazy” weekend in Elne – apart from our mammoth 14km schlepp to St Cyprien, via the beach, to locate a supermarket which we didn’t find until the following day (just for the record, it turned-out to be a five minute walk out of the front entrance to the campsite!!! Mental note to ask for directions at Reception in future!!). Ahem! The sun continued to throw it’s heavenly rays down on us for the entire weekend and, on Saturday, my birthday, The Wee Bride was totally pampered and barred from both kitchen and kitchen sink for the entire day! Fair play, Roy! Harley got a much awaited share of my huge Birthday Steak too so everyone was happy!


Alas, on Sunday morning, with Sebo’s rooflight having been Sikaflexed to the hilt, it was time to get him moving again and we headed off in a North Easterly direction to Gruissan – a place we visited on Foxy in 2014 and instantly warmed to. A lunchtime stop in Narbonne beckoned and a leg stretch around the old town and along the banks of Le Canal Du Midi was most enjoyable.

On arriving in Gruissan, it was a bit of a disappointment to find that, even at this time of year, with most places closed for the off-season, we motorhomers are only welcome if we avail of the Aires in the locality which are most definitely NOT free! Having no need for services, we found ourselves a nice wee spot under the pine trees on a hillside overlooking the town and walked down instead!

We had a great night’s sleep in our peaceful forested spot and awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to resume our journey eastwards.

Driving through La Camargue, we suddenly noticed how featureless the landscape had become. Totally flat with nothing but vines and wetlands surrounding us. We parked up alongside the Canal in Frontignan and took a stroll around the town but, to be honest, it hadn’t much to offer and our parking spot was way too close to the busy railway line to offer much hope of an undisturbed sleep so we left and tootled on up the road to find a quieter sleepy spot – and that we did, in Vic-La-Gardiole.

Totally off the beaten track, on the edge of a lake, a large expanse of National Park with no parking restrictions (well, not that we saw until the next morning when we took a stroll in the opposite direction to the way we had entered! Oooops!). Nobody bothered us and a quiet night was had by one and all. We snook out after our stroll and headed for Arles – the home of Vincent Van Gogh – Gateway To Provence and inspiration for many of his great works.

There’s an Aire here – services are free but parking costs €5/24 hours – a snip, considering it’s a short walk across the bridge over The Rhone into the town. As we pulled-in, we noticed a Circus setting-up on the car park behind the Aire – thankfully it wasn’t due to start until next weekend and so we were to be spared the noise! An array of ponies, camels, llamas and a cow(?) were tethered and grazing on the grass just behind us but, apart from a donkey braying on occasion, they didn’t bother us. We had lunch, put Harley on “Sebo guard duty” then headed-off to find Vincent!

Arles is a beautiful town – of huge importance in Roman times and still retains a pretty well-preserved 20000-seater Arena and smaller amphitheatre, along with many reminders of it being Van Gogh’s final place of residence. We meandered around for a while then found a nice wee cafe/bar and sipped a glass(or two) of wine in the afternoon sunshine before returning to Sebo for dinner. That’s when the fun REALLY started… be continued….