Le Grau-du-Roi (in Provençal lo Grau dau Rei), is a Camargue commune; more precisely, Petite Camargue, located in the south-east of France, in the south of the Gard department in the Occitania region.

It’s a popular location of the La côte camarguaise of the Mediterranean resorts of France.

A Mediterranean climate, Le Grau-du-Roi is drained by the the Vidourle River. The Camargue (Rhône delta) commune has a remarkable natural heritage: two Natura 2000 sites (the Petite Camargue and the Petite Camargue laguno-marine”), five protected areas (the Boucanet woods, the Camargue Gardoise, the Espiguette, the Camargue and the Petite Camargue) and 13 natural areas of ecological, fauna and flora interest.

Le Grau-du-Roi is an urban and coastal commune that, as of 2021, had 8,438 inhabitants, after having experienced a sharp increase in the population since 1962. Le Grau-du-Roi was, in fact, a beneficiary of the Racine mission from 1963.

Le Grau-du-Roi is located in the south of the Gard department on the border of Hérault and La Grande-Motte, its neighbor to the west. It is the only maritime commune in the department. The commune of Aigues-Mortes borders the commune of Grau-du-Roi.

The town is located in the agglomeration of the Grau-du-Roi and is part of the Grau-du-Roi catchment area. Its inhabitants are called Graulens or Graulennes.

Tourism and what to see

Although it has largely developed thanks to mass tourism, to which it owes in particular Port Camargue or its Seaquarium, the city has managed to keep its Camargue identity. Grau-du-Roi is, thus, renowned for its abrivado and bandido, which take place during its votive festival and for its arenas entirely dedicated to the Camargue race, as well as for its old lighthouse. The east of the town is occupied by the Pointe de l’Espiguette, a vast protected natural area that houses the Espiguette lighthouse, classified as a historic monument.

The architectural heritage of the town includes two buildings protected as historic monuments: the former Grau d’Aigues-Mortes lighthouse, and the Espiguette lighthouse, both listed in 2012.

The town center, built around the canal connecting the ponds (and Aigues-Mortes) to the sea (Grau), still retains its traditional character today. Beyond the historic heart, the houses and holiday buildings spread out over the decades: to the west is the Boucanet district, which extends from the city center to the Bois du Ponant (also known as Boucanet pine forest), and to the east, beyond the city center, is the Palais de la Mer district and then Port-Camargue.

Full list:

• The old lighthouse covered with a copper lantern (1828).
• The so-called Dolphin House, facing the church, typical of 1900 architecture.
• The Belle Époque Villa Parry, next to the lighthouse, which houses a cultural center. The balcony terrace is supported by ornate cast iron columns.
• The Rédarès Villa, a fine example of art deco seaside architecture from the 1920s. The last vestige of this style was demolished in May 2011. The new town hall was built in its place in 2013.
• Château Leenhardt, a monument that has become emblematic of Grau (Right Bank Beach), built around 1875 by the merchant Henri Leenhardt (1822-1904), was demolished in the 1970s, after a century of existence. Its construction was the occasion for an original test of the use of sand bricks, which gave it a particular gray color. Many postcards show it when it became a Protestant boarding house. Lots of swimmers had their photos taken on the beach bordering the building.

Port-Camargue and its beaches

Port-Camargue is a district of the town of Le Grau-du-Roi. Built in the 1960s, it is, today, one of the biggest marinas in Europe.

With 4,600 berths, Port-Camargue is one of the top marinas in Europe. More and more permanent residents live there, and commercial activity has intensified, with more than a hundred shops. Tourism, along with yachting and boating, is the essence of the economy of Port-Camargue.

Note, moreover, the presence near Port-Camargue, of numerous campsites and vast beaches (including that of Espiguette, which extends to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer).

Access to the marina is through a channel open to the northwest, in an axis, leaving little room for swell. The bottom is sandy and dredged, on average, at five metres. Landing under sai,l in fairly strong mistral weather, can be difficult but without any major risks.

How to get to?

From Paris: 7 hr 35 min (759 km) via A6 and A7

From Toulouse: 2 hr 39 min (268 km) via A61 and A9

From Carcassonne: 1 hr 51 min (177 km) via A61 and A9

From Perpignan: 1 hr 50 min (182 km) via A9

From Marseille: 1 hr 50 min (139 km) via A55

From Monaco: 3 hr 39 min (323 km) via A8

From Andorra: 4 hr 25 min (358 km) via A9

From Barcelona: 3 hr 48 min (369 km) via AP-7 and A9

From Madrid: 9 hr 44 min (972 km) via A-2

From Moscow: 34 hr (3,269 km) via E30/M1

From Belgrade: 16 hr 43 min (1,626 km) via E70

From Istanbul: 28 hr (2,575 km) via E70

From Bern: 6 hr 3 min (602 km) via A1

Main information

Area: 54.73 km2

Population: 8 438

Coordinates: 43°32′17″N 4°08′14″E

Language: French, Provençal

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

See also France travel guide

See also Spain travel guide

See also Pyrenees travel guide

See also Andorra travel guide

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