Four Star Accommodation in the Camargue ©Solange Hando
The Auberge Cavalière prides itself in the authenticity of its accommodation, comprising just 69 rooms on extensive grounds, most of them in traditional Camargue cottages.
There are four categories of rooms, including family rooms with mezzanine, mirrored in quiet waterways, pools and ponds typical of the Camargue wetlands created by the wide delta of the river Rhône.
Guest Room, Cabane de Gardian ©Solange Hando
Guest rooms are furnished in a variety of styles, so you can choose according to taste. All are spacious, beautifully equipped and with soft lighting to enhance relaxation.
A great favourite is the cabane de gardian (the horseback herders of the Camargue), warm colours, minimalist decor and a stunning ceiling complete with beams, moulded on the conical roof and oval shaped end wall traditionally designed to deflect the north wind.
Swimming Pool at the Auberge Cavalière ©Solange Hando
The auberge has a wellness centre and two outdoor pools by the restaurants.
The smaller pool is near the 'Entre Terre et Mer' where breakfast is served on the terrace, as well as the buffet lunch known as the 'table camarguaise'.
The larger pool (above) is next to the stylish 'Le Pont des Bannes' serving local dishes such as fish of the day or 'duo steak' (bull and beef).
Or you can enjoy the casual atmosphere of the Ragondin Bar.
Camargue Horses at the Auberge Cavalière ©Solange Hando
But for many visitors, the great attractions are the stables which give the auberge its name of riders' lodge'. The beautiful white horses of the Camargue roam freely in lush grounds, nurtured with care and working only two hours a day.
There are riding lessons for beginners (ponies for children) and guided outings in small groups around the 'étangs' and on the beach. Carriage rides are also available with tuition on how to guide your horse.
Pink Flamingos in the French Camargue ©Solange Hando
Other activities are on offer, such as tennis or table tennis, but nothing beats exploring the pristine lands of the Camargue. Hire a bicycle at the auberge cavalière and enjoy the views, the peace and the wild life to your heart's content. You're sure to love the flamingos feeding in the shallows but if you want to get really close, the bird park near the auberge is the place to go.
Then, when you feel like a change of scene, the village of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is just on the doorstep, a little place with big festivals, barely 8000 residents, but the proud capital of the Camargue.