I had the pleasure of visiting the Camargue area in the south of France at the end of March 2015. It was my first time to the area and I have to tell you that it was truly remarkable. A fantastic blend of both French and Spanish influences (they have cowboys, wild bulls, delicious red rice, and some really interesting architecture) make this a unique place to visit, and, best of all, there was a vast array of unexpected wildlife that is easy to spot but so satisfying to see. In particular, I was really taken by the white Camargue horses that roam the marshy land (around a third of the whole area consists of lakes or marshland), which provide a stark contrast to the black bulls which are also native to the area.
For me, the real highlight (even greater than spotting coypu – they look like beavers but have different tails – pootling about in the river) was seeing the famous Camargue flamingos. They come in a wide variety of pinkish shades, though some of them barely have any colour at all.
I would definitely recommend a visit to the Camargue National Park if you are in the area. There is a lovely (and flat) walking trail that allows you to see the flocks of flamingos first hand. It really is a sight to behold!
I have loved flamingos for a while now – their striking silhouettes and garish pink shades make for some excellent interior accessories, from wallpapers to prints to cushion covers – so I thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to share some of my top 5 buys to inject a little flamingo into your home, courtesy of the Camargue.
- Not for the faint-hearted, this bold wallpaper makes a pretty strong statement. If I was to pick a flamingo based wallpaper (and I refuse to rule that out), I think this would be the one. Its by Albany and is available from Wallpaper Direct at only £16.99 a roll.
2. A more subtle way to bring flamingos into your home would be via this gorgeous cushion cover by twentysevenpalms on notonthehighstreet.com. It’s a steal at only £18 and its tropical brights would add some real zing to a neutral colour scheme.
3. I also love these Sommarfint glasses from Ikea – I couldn’t resist picking two of them up last time I was there. I style mine on a tray with my Villeroy and Boch decanter for a real juxtaposition of styles and prices! These glasses are good quality and are perfect for cocktails or summer entertaining. And best of all?! They only cost 50p a glass. Perfect.
4. Or how about a stylised flamingo print, like this gold one that I found on etsy.com by Sutil Designs? Flamingos don’t always have to be pink you know….! Ikea RIBBE frames are perfect for displaying your favourite prints – I like to swap mine around from time to time to keep my rooms fresh and interesting (and not because I am fickle at all….nope, not at all).
5. Lastly, I came across this pretty fantastic flamingo lampshade by Katie and the Wolf on notonthehighstreet.com that I felt had to be included in my top five. The dark grey background with the bright pink of the flamingo head is a real head-turner. And, importantly, it doesn’t look tacky, it actually looks pretty darn sophisticated and I would be more than happy to have this on display at home. It’s £57 so isn’t especially cheap, but it is made from silk, comes in two sizes (add a further £8 for the larger size), and can be ordered to fit a table lamp or a ceiling light fitting. There’s also a matching cushion…..!
So that’s it for my top 5 flamingo-inspired design buys, prompted by my Camargue visit. I do urge you to go if you get the chance. Bring mosquito repellent (the marshy areas are a prime breeding ground for the nasty critters) and do stay in or near Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer as we did. It’s surrounded by countryside, is perfectly located for visiting the national park and is absolutely beautiful. The place we stayed, La Palunette, offers an excellent breakfast, friendly service and provides cute little apartments with views over the marshes. We had a white horse outside most evenings and enjoyed some beautiful and dramatic sunsets. I would also recommend a trip to Aigues Mortes, an ancient walled city which is well worth a visit (below).
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the Camargue – I’ve particularly enjoyed remembering my visit and truly hope I can get back there in the future. In the meantime if you want any more hints and tips for the area, let me know! I’d be happy to pass on the knowledge I gained from my time there.
Have you visited? Is the flamingo micro-trend dead? Let me know in the comments below!
Happy travels and shopping,