ExploreGayle PadgettLocals Travel Tips

A Great Place to See Flocks of Flamingos in Provence

Calling all nature and bird lovers! During your trip to Provence, you won’t want to miss the family-friendly Parc Ornithologique de Pont-de-Gau. This birding hot spot in the Camargue is near Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, where you will see pink flamingos and many other birds.

See Flamingos in Provence

Red and Purple Flamingos poster ©Clement Papalardo

See Flamingos and More

This is far from a contained bird zoo. Instead, it’s a sprawling, open-air nature park. The fabulous flamant rose (Greater Flamingo) flocks here all year in majestic numbers, along with tons of other stunning species—various herons and egrets, storks, stilts, avocets, and ibis. Birds of prey, such as the Peregrine Falcon, are occasionally fly-bys. You’ll be amazed at the number of birds and the diversity of species winging in and out, creating an exhilarating atmosphere.

See Flamingos in Provence

On our latest foray to the park in July, my husband and I observed nearly 40 species in about two hours, including simply watching the birds do what they do. For flamingos, this means that often, they might be taking a snooze, standing motionless on one leg. But most likely, you’ll see large numbers snacking, prancing, or preening. One of my favourite scenes is observing flamingos race across the water’s surface, wings flapping ferociously before taking flight. And then following them as they soar, their mighty coral and black wings outstretched. It’s such a marvellous and unexpected sight and can catch you off-guard. So I wasn’t surprised to see a mother pointing to the sky and shouting excitedly to her child, “Look, they’re FLY-ing!”

See Flamingos in Provence

Blue Flamingos poster ©Clement Papalardo

How intimate it feels sets this nature space apart from other natural zones. In the southern section alone, nearly three (3) kilometres of wide, smooth paths wind around huge ponds, allowing spectators to get quite close to the birds. Consequently, the experience makes an impressive impact, and you don’t need massive photographic equipment to capture the special moments. And the flat circuit means it’s welcoming to baby buggies and those with limited mobility.

bearded reedling photo

Bearded Reedling poster ©Clement Papalardo

Venue for Winged Wonders

The park began in 1949 when Camargue resident and nature lover André Lamouroux opened a small zoo and garden. Twenty-five years later, his son René expanded the park, added “discovery” trails, and planted vegetation to attract various bird species, transforming the park’s mission from primarily avian observation to nature appreciation and preservation.

Parc ornithologique du Pont de Gau

From just a few aviaries at its inception, the venue now covers 60 hectares (148 acres) and boasts beyond seven (7) kilometres (4.2 miles) of trails, where two hundred bird species may be seen. Many birds stay all year; some are “snowbirds,” just residing for the winter, while others touch down for some R&R while migrating.

But regardless of the season you visit, you’re guaranteed to encounter a wondrous range of winged wonders. Be prepared to be enthralled.

Purple Swamp Hen

Purple Swamp Hen poster ©Clement Papalardo

Practical Information

Parc ornithologique du Pont de Gau
RD 570
13460 Stes Maries de la mer
Telephone: +33 (0)4 90 97 82 62

Here is the website for more information about tariffs, guided tours, avian research, the Care Center, and the Association of Friends.

Opening Hours:
April 1st to September 30th – 9 am to 6 pm
October 1st to March 31st – 10 am to 5 pm
The actual visitation time depends on the trails chosen, but allow an hour to an hour and a half or more.

Entry tickets are all-day passes
Picnics are allowed
To protect the wildlife, dogs are not permitted.
The 2.8 kilometres of trails are accessible to those with reduced mobility and anyone pushing a stroller.
Natural outdoor WCs (water closets) are located near the entry.

Also, there is an outdoor art exhibition area, a buvette (refreshment stand), picnic tables, viewing stations, and, scattered throughout the park, many playful “Have you seen this bird” flip notebooks, visiting even more fun for youngsters and adults alike. You see the bird on the front and flip the cover to read its name and details—in English and French.

Don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent, sunscreen and drinking water, as the season may require.

For more birding in the area, check out this excellent guide: Where to Watch Birds in France, by Jean-Yves Barnagaud, Nadal Issa and Sébastien Dalloyau.

Gayle Smith Padgett is the author of The Birdwatcher’s Wife: A Quest across France for Birds and La Belle Vie and Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie. She and her husband have lived in Provence since 2011.

The Birdwatcher's Wife Book by Gayle Smith Padgett

Passion for Provence Book Gayle Smith Padgett


Please share this with friends and family.

All rights reserved. Perfectly Provence articles and other content may not be published, broadcast, rewritten (including translations into other languages) or redistributed without written permission. For usage information, please contact us.
Syndication Information
Affiliate Information
As an Amazon Associate, this website earns from qualifying purchases. Some recipes, posts and pages may have affiliate links. If you purchase via these links, we receive a small commission that does not impact your price. Thank you in advance for supporting our work to maintain Perfectly Provence.
Previous post

Cocktail Hack: What to do with Leftover Rosé?

Next post

Where to Eat? Restaurants in Eygalières to Try Now

Gayle Padgett

Gayle Smith Padgett, a UCLA graduate, has two master’s degress, neither in French. After studying in Mexico and South America, she worked as a language specialist in California and Virginia and later as a management analyst and US government liaison in Heidelberg, Germany. In 2011, she and her husband moved to Provence where they continue to crack French culture codes.

Discover more about Gayle's backstory and writing on her website - gaylesmithpadgett.com and read her books Passion for Provence: 22 Keys to La Belle Vie and The Birdwatcher's Wife: A Quest across France for Birds and La Belle Vie.

No Comment

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.