Paul Ricard's work

Tourism starts at the Domaine de Méjanes

The first domain open to visitors

Wanting to share the beauty of his domain and discoveries with a wider audience, Paul Ricard start an important tourism development project in Méjanes. Very quickly, two restaurants open their doors. “Chez Bob” that will later become The Mazet du Vaccarès, and “The Méjanes”, which reopened its doors in 2020 under the new name of The Bergerie de Méjanes. At the time, Paul Ricard serves the aperitif every day for free and for everyone. About 15 of the Camargue huts are built as accommodation for travelers. With the help of Jean-Jacques Lamote, arenas are built to organise courses camarguaises, corridas, horse shows, and gardian’s game. Paul Ricards’s manade is now formed. The breeding of Spanish and Camargue bulls is developed on the domain along with the breeding of horses. The first stallion, named Coucou – the horse in La Caraque Blonde and additional horse – with the gelded horses, Vagabon, Moustique, and the Parisian, are the family’s favorite horses. They bravely take tourists for rides every day around the swamp and all the way to the sea by the seawall. Marius Lescot, Charles Fidani, and Ramon Gallardo are the three important figures in charge of the manade, shows, and arenas. In 1955, the Ricard Company puts the domain in the spotlight. The firm’s official calendar is dedicated to Méjanes. A pride for the people living on the domain ! Plenty of tourists are coming by coaches arriving from all around the country. After years of being abandoned and then going through the war, the Domaine de Méjanes becomes a paradise full of joy, parties, and encounters. A place to discover the strong and anchored, lively Camargue traditions. Once again, Paul Ricard sees his most cherished wish come true. Make people happy. And this is only the beginning.

The Petit Train de Méjanes

Undoubtedly influenced by his travel to the United-States, and advised by his friend, the American railway’s director – whose wife was received every summer in Méjanes – Paul Ricard came up in 1968 with the idea to create The Petit Train de Méjanes. A unique train that travels on rails allowing tourists to discover the domain in the most unusual and exclusive way.

A train formed of three charming carriages with 32 seats in total, attached to two locomotives whose chimneys and cowcatchers give Westerns throwback.

Paul Ricard traces himself the 3,5 kilometers-long way. Starting right by the arenas alongside the Vaccarès Pond, it goes along the conservation area nearest to the Camargue’s fauna and flora. It then passes by the old castle’s fortress to finish back at the starting point. As in any good Westerns, you’ll hear the train whistle or rather ring, three times on the way. It is in his firm’s workshops in Marseille that Paul Ricard has his train designed and built. Once finished, it is brought to the Domaine de Méjanes by the road. On the 6th of May 1968, Paul Ricard boards the train for this innovation’s first trip. A first at the time. Today, this first train aimed at tourism is the only train using rails in the Camargue! It brought and still brings awareness to tens of thousands of tourists from all regions and worldwide about the beauty and conservation of this paradise that is the beautiful Camargue.