Bouches du Rhône

Bouches du Rhône

Things to do - general

Bouches du Rhône is a department in the south of France named after the mouth of the Rhône River. It is the most populous department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Bouches-du-Rhône is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from the western part of the former province of Provence and the principalities of Orange, Martigues, and Lambesc. It lost part of its territory in 1793, including Orange and Apt, when the Vaucluse department was created.

The department is part of the current region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. It is surrounded by the departments of Gard on the west, Vaucluse on the north, and Var on the east, and by the Mediterranean Sea on the south. The Rhône River delta forms a vast swampy wetlands area called the Camargue in the southwestern part of the department. It is bordered by the Rhone to the west and the Durance to the north. The Rhone divides into the Grand Rhone and Petit Rhone south of Arles ; the area between forms the Camargue, a large wetland.

The department has a Mediterranean climate, with contrasting temperatures within a range of 15 degrees. Precipitation is irregular, with only 65 days per year where rain falls in excess of 1 mm. However it falls in sudden downpours, with an average of 500–700 mm annually. This mainly happens in the spring and autumn; summer is very hot, winter mild. Violent winds are common, especially the famed mistral, which blows 100 days per year with a maximum of 100 km/hr. The coast is drier, especially along the Côte Bleue, the Calanques and the Bay of Ciotat, which include some of the driest areas in France, with only 450 mm of rain per year. Higher areas receive more precipitation and lower temperatures. The Arc valley in the interior is much colder than other areas, with heavy frosts in winter.

The department is well represented in French art. Paul Cézanne painted numerous representations of the Mont Sainte-Victoire. Vincent van Gogh spent much of his life in Arles, painting many scenes in the area.

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Country France
Visa requirementsVisa in not needed for EU citizens.
Languages spokenFrench
Currency usedEuro
Area (km2)5,087 km2

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