The Camargue is an area of outstanding natural beauty just south of Arles in France. It’s a vast marshland famous for its free-roaming white horses, flamingos and wandering bulls. It’s also a brilliant place to eat. These are three of my favourite spots.
Chez Bob (above image)
This place is literally in the middle of the Camargue; you have to turn off a road to find it and you would never know it’s there. It’s in someone’s house. It’s the kind of place where there will be a band, who know by heart every single Bob Dylan and Neil Young song and they’ll be out in the back playing. Or a proper Gipsy King will turn up and start playing the most amazing music. The food is simple but great: it’s cooked on the barbecue, and they do bull and prawns and big plates of vegetables. Inside, there’s all kinds of bullfighting memorabilia on the walls. It’s a 20-minute drive from Arles and it’s really worth the trip.
Chez Bob, Mas antonelle le petit, near Arles; restaurantbob.fr
La Grande-Motte is a town built in the 1960s and ’70s by the architect Jean Balladur. It’s a Modernist seaside resort with all these massive pyramidical buildings made of concrete. It’s an amazing place. When we were there we discovered this hole-in-the-wall seafood restaurant run by an oyster farmer. It’s a tiny place jammed in the middle of two other restaurants with just a few tables outside. A kind of plastic-menu kind of place, but the food is incredible. It’s a place for seafood purists: you can’t even get any chips or anything, just great seafood platters of crab, prawns, oysters, mussels and clams, all drenched in garlic.
Saveurs Marines, 438 quai Georges Pompidou, La Grande-Motte
This is a place to go to now while it’s still a bit under-the-radar because it’s going to be massive. It’s in the Margaret Hotel in Nîmes, which is a great city full of Roman treasures. The chef is a woman called Georgiana Viou and she was born in Benin, so she brings a load of African spices into the food she cooks. Everything is beautifully presented and tastes amazing. She’s going to get a star before you know it.
Rouge, 6 Rue Fresque, Nîmes; margaret-hotelchouleur.com
Barnaby Roper makes films and takes photographs for Hermès, Lancôme and many others. barnabyroper.com