And it is many of these attempts that Edwin Mullins chronicles in his book The Camargue, Portrait of a Wilderness, as well as the rich stories and often violent history of a region that still excites and intrigues.
Starting with the river Rhone that sets out from the Alps you are introduced to the Romans and the important role they played in establishing trade links and creating an infrastructure, evidence of which can still be seen today.
Of course the Camargue inspired many writers and artists, from the champion of the region Frederic Mistral, to the vibrant colours and landscapes of Vincent van Gogh, their work brought the region into the parlour rooms and galleries of the world.
Edwin Mullins brings meticulous research skills, and a clear love of the region, to the book as he weaves tales of the Crusades and pilgrims, as well as the religious battles and political struggles that saw many suffer a violent death.
The Camargue would not be the place it is without the white horses, black bulls and pink flamingos that have become symbols of the region, and yet you learn how each faced threats throughout time, even up to recent times.
These threats have also galvanised people to protect the region and Edwin Mullins highlights how the Camargue could be seen as the testing ground of the early environmental movement, flighting industry as it looked to exploit the area's natural riches.
Thankfully the Camargue still retains much of its character, with sunlight reflecting off the lagoons and flamingos heading off into the sky, there is still that feeling of wilderness and excitement in a world that many find oppressive and constrictive.
Find out more about The Camargue: Portrait of a Wilderness by Edwin Mullins on Amazon, and if you buy a copy then I receive a small commission which helps keep the cogs oiled on This French Life.
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