An advert for Preferred Travel Services in the Western Gazette, led to a dream holiday for Crewkerne news reporter Ana Collingridge and her husband Graham. Ana had wanted to visit the Camargue region of France for over 30 years and the escorted holiday to Provence – Arles, Avignon & The Camargue, offering a flight with EasyJet from Bristol to Marseille, proved to be the ideal choice. Staying at the Best Western Atrium hotel in the wonderful friendly city of Arles, famous for its Roman architecture and the Van Gogh trail, Ana enjoyed included excursions to the Camargue National Reserve, the walled medieval city of Aigues-Mortes, Avignon where the Popes were resident during the 14th Century and Pont du Gard – 50km Roman aqueduct built to carry water to Nimes.
The Camargue is famous for its white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos. On a river cruise along the Petit Rhone, Ana got a close-up shot of the white horses and black bulls and saw many different species of wild birds, although the flamingos were less prevalent due to the Mistral. Le Mistral is a strong north-westerly wind that blows from southern France into the Gulf of Lion in the northern Mediterranean, bringing cool, dry weather with clear skies that blows away pollution and dust, giving Provence its luminous light that has attracted painters for centuries and enhances the colour of shots for photographers.
Temperatures are much cooler during the Mistral, which lasted for three days while Ana was in Provence, although the sight of a flock of flamingos flying over the hotel one evening, heralded the start of warmer weather and end of the strong winds. Ana said: “It was an amazing holiday. I loved the area and we made some wonderful friends who were on the same tour as us. A big thank you to the PTS tour director Guy Pâques and his lovely wife Urai for making our stay so enjoyable. It was a wonderful holiday that produced some incredible memories and over 100 photographs.”