Region covered by this guide
This guidebook covers the French region of the Provence and part of Bouches-du-Rhone. More precisely, it covers the land between Montpellier in the west to Nice in the east. The northern border is roughly the line linking Nîmes, Bollène and Digne. In the south, the book covers the entire coastline, including the islands off the coast of Hyères.
There are many nature reserves in this area, all of which are all covered in this guide. The main natural areas are: Camargue, La Crau, les Alpilles (in the southwest), les Calanques, Massif des Maures and Îles Port-cros in the south, the Grand Canyon du Verdon in the north and the Vaucluse and Mont Ventoux in the north-west.
The Crossbill Guide is a thorough and practical guide for naturalists and nature lovers. It offers background information and detailed routes and site descriptions, plus tips on finding and watching all kinds of wildlife. Each route offers detailed descriptions of where and how to find wildlife and wildflowers and shows you the characteristics of the landscape and geology. The book offers a mix of walking routes and car itineraries with stops and short walks. Although some are challenging, all the walks in this book are designed to explore the landscape and find birds and wildlife rather than simply covering ground.
About Provence and Camargue
The Provence is the richest wildlife region of France. There are the spectacular, bird-filled wetlands of the Camargue, but right next to them lies the arid, almost desert-like plateau of La Crau. Then there are the sizzling hot Mediterranean hillsides and the inviting clear seas of the Cote d’Azur. Just a little inland you can marvel at the fairylike, gnarled beech forests on the north slopes and the flower and butterfly rich subalpine plateaux in the mountains. All of this variety is present within the small region of the Provence.
Look for more information and images on our Wildlife Site Page on Camargue and Crau.
About the authors
Dirk Hilbers (The Netherlands, 1976), set up the Crossbill Guides Foundation and travels Europe
to research the guidebooks. This is the 27th guide on which he worked. When not in the field, Dirk Hilbers is a lecturer of environmental ethics at the University of Amsterdam.
Constant Swinkels (The Netherlands, 1995) has been a naturalist from the moment he was able to hold a pair of binoculars hence his academic specialism in ecology. His interests are broad – from birds to wildflowers and butterflies to reptiles. Constant specialises in vegetation ecology and (co-)authored the routes, the bird section and the ecological chapters of this book. This is the first Crossbill Guide on which Constant has worked.
Albert Vliegenthart (The Netherlands, 1975) works at ‘De Vlinderstichting’ – the Dutch butterfly conservancy and is a butterfly and dragonfly specialist, as well as being a keen birdwatcher. Albert has (co-)authored the routes and contributed to the insect and bird sections of this book.