A Day In: Les Etangs de Villepey
February 04, 2007
Between the beaches of Saint-Aygulf and the modern port of Fréjus, hidden behind the seafront N98 road, a flock of charcoal-colored Eurasian coots (Fulica atra) wades in a wide shallow pond; next to a field of reeds almost incandescent in the evening light, a black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus) pokes the lake shore with a beak as long and thin as a needle.
Over 220 birds have been spotted in the protected natural sites of the wetlands of the Villepey lakes (Etangs de Villepey).
The marshes of Villepey represent 260 hectares of land acquired by the Conservatoire du Littoral between 1982 and 1997 for protection and conservation.
Villepey displays a myriad of landscapes: sand dunes by the beach, reed fields that shield the inner marshes from the eastern sea wind and from salty spray, fresh water ponds, plots of land cultivated with cereals and pasture.
Such a diverse protected landscape translates into diversity in fauna and flora.
In about 3 hours, you can walk the 7 km marked loop around the Etangs de Villepey and experience the sites first-hand (note that a section is open only from June to September). You might meet a few great cormorans (Phalacrocorax carbo) standing on the trunk of a beach wood, their wings stretched to dry in the wind. You might hear the striking laugh of a green and spotted marsh frog by a pond,
Warning, the richness of its flora and fauna might absorb all of your senses and all sense of time.