In European summer of 2020, my beautiful friend Stine and I went on a 2 week road trip through Belgium, France and Germany and did an amazing horse ride in the Camargue along the French coast. In this post I’ll tell you all about the ride we did, the types of horses they have in this area and the stunning nature to witness in the south of France in Camargue.
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On this ride in France I rode the fantastic Nandos! He’s a Camargue horse and palomino cross and absolutely lovely to ride with lots of spice. The ride we went on was with Le Palomino just outside of a beautiful little town called Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The horses at Le Palomino were stunning and in very good condition. We were in a group of about 12 people on the ride and some were complete beginners, some intermediate and some experienced. I expected the ride to be slow as there were quite a lot of beginners. Even though it wouldn’t have been a problem to have a slow ride as the nature was so beautiful, we had the opportunity to do a couple of trots and canters and some amazing gallops over the wide Camargue beach just outside Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. The horses were absolutely amazing and very well matched to their riders. Even as we were splitting up the group for the gallop, the beginner horses stayed behind in a walk, very relaxed, while we galloped down the beach. The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable but his English was limited, however we quickly were able to understand each other with my broken french and his broken english, and a very helpful guest that translated some parts for me. All in all, an incredible ride!
The nature in Camargue is absolutely stunning and there are many opportunities to see birds and to see the greater Flamingo, which we even saw a big group of on our ride! You’ll see cattle and the typical Camargue horses roaming the marshlands. This breed of horse from the Camargue is thought to be one of the oldest in the world! These small horses live in the wet- and marshlands in the area which makes them quite hardy, as they’ve been surviving in this harsh environment. Despite their small size, they’re very stocky and are able to carry adults easily. They usually have a calm temperament with lots of stamina and agility which makes them absolutely lovely to ride!
While we were traveling through France, we stayed at a lovely campsite in Saintes Maries de la Mer called La Brise. The first night we however wildcamped a little further into the Camargue and away from Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. We used the app iOverlander to find a beautiful little wild camping spot, next to a river and behind an old chateau. Besides the lovely experience we had on the ride, we also really enjoyed our stay in the town as they serve great local cuisine and incredible seafood! We enjoyed the beach and the bubbly town a lot and I truly recommend staying here a few days to go horse riding and exploring. We camped under a pop-up mosquito net almost every night during our road trip which allowed us to witness the beautiful night sky in the south of France, which was an absolutely amazing decision! It made the road trip and camping experience so much more enjoyable and stunning. It was an amazing experience to be by yourself, in a vast nature reserve, on top of a mountain, watching the sun set. On the picture below you can see one of the streets of the cosy Frnech town at night, it was lovely to walk around with music playing at every corner and the friendliest people!
If you're also planning to go road tripping or horse riding in Europe, you can do fantastic overnight horse riding tours in Switzerland, ride Tinker horses through the Polish forest and visit the Spanish riding school in Vienna. Last but not least, don't forget to check out the best places for horse riding in the Netherlands and beach rides on a Dutch island. You can do fantastic rides all over Europe, with varying landscape and horses. Almost all these places offer multi day or over night horse riding tours and short rides! This truly makes Europe a horse lovers paradise and perfect for your horse riding holiday.
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