First of several FRANCE trip reports
Friends! It was such a great trip…and we had far too much fun to put it all in one blog post, so there will be a series. Stop back often to check for updates! And while you are here, don’t forget to click on the “NEW PRODUCTS” tab above to see the great apparel that we have! Each item features our lovely logo with the Beatrice Bulteau Lusitano. AND seats are going fast for the January Symposium, so click that tab too and get registered! We are waiting to welcome you to Barbier Farm!
We began our trip in Marseilles with a fabulous seafood dinner featuring…BOUILLABAISSE! This is, after all, a BARBIER trip, so food will feature nearly as prominently as the horses.
The next day we trekked into the Camargue, the region that is the delta of the River Rhone where it empties into the Mediterranean. It is known for its abundance of natural beauty, including pink flamingos, the famed black bulls, and of course, the white Camargue horses. But this marshy river delta is an agricultural basket with a huge production of rice and salt and is home to more than 400 species of birds, and numerous fish species, both salt and freshwater. But aside from the Camargue horses and the bulls, the thing that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet is the culture of the Camargue people. Centuries of cultural influence from the Roma people, along with French and to a smaller degree, Spanish influence, has created a distinct lifestyle centered around the horses and bulls.
We had a wonderful time riding across the beaches and through the marshes. Going by horseback through this wild area gave us the opportunity to feel the rhythm of the tides, the flocks of birds, and see net-fishing by hand. We saw dwellings with the traditional thatched roof, all pointed in the direction of the famed MISTRAL winds. And we learned a great deal about the culture and natural environment from our guides.
Our base for a few nights was the stunning Mas de la Fouque hotel and spa. We’re posting the pictures so you can have a sense of the special nature of this land and its inhabitants. Even at the very southern edge of the country, practically ON the Mediterranean, our lodgings were trés chic and deliciously comfortable. We’ll be looking forward to a return!
Before we headed north, we spent a day at Manade Saint Antoine, complete with riding into the marshes to round up bulls. We separated a few bulls from the herd to have an exhibition of the Camargue style of bullfighting (More like bull-tagging…..not much like fighting…but very daring and dangerous!). Later, we all enjoyed a traditional lunch of bull stew at the Manade. Thank you, Alexandre and team for a spectacular day!
Coming next: a report from St. Remy de Provence and Avignon! Food is the small headline, Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado are the big headline!