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Often seen as a land of capitalistic excess, there’s more to the United Arab Emirates (or UAE) than meets the eye. While its giant shopping malls and skyscrapers can make you a bit dizzy, its beautiful mosques and museums make for interesting sightseeing, and the flux of expats from all over the world gives the city a cosmopolitan feel. However, you do need to leave the cities before you realize that the UAE is more than just Dubai or Abu Dhabi!

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Sillons de sable du désert Émirati

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What is the UAE?

Sand furrows in the Emirati desert










Seven emirates, with Abu Dhabi as their capital.
A federal state surrounded by Saudi Arabia, the Persian Golf and Oman.
2/3 of the country is made up of the Rub’ al Khali sand desert.
110 inhabitants/km2, only 17% of whom are Emirati.
86% of the population lives in the cities, mainly Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Chardja…

…mainly to make space for the giant stretches of desert!










Seven emirates, with Abu Dhabi as their capital.
A federal state surrounded by Saudi Arabia, the Persian Golf and Oman.
2/3 of the country is made up of the Rub’ al Khali sand desert.
110 inhabitants/km2, only 17% of whom are Emirati.
86% of the population lives in the cities, mainly Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Chardja…

…mainly to make space for the giant stretches of desert!

Rub’ al Khali Desert

Circulation de nuit à Abu Dhabi

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Stronger Together

Night traffic in Abu Dhabi











Ever since the first oil rigs were built in the 1960s, the Emirates have developed very quickly.
In 1971, they joined together in the UAE and have ever since enjoyed a lot of influence in world politics.

Indian, European and Asian expats abound, largely outstripping the number of locals.
New infrastructure projects spring up daily and the cities are constantly getting bigger,
eating up space on the seas and in the desert.











Ever since the first oil rigs were built in the 1960s, the Emirates have developed very quickly.
In 1971, they joined together in the UAE and have ever since enjoyed a lot of influence in world politics.

Indian, European and Asian expats abound, largely outstripping the number of locals.
New infrastructure projects spring up daily and the cities are constantly getting bigger,
eating up space on the seas and in the desert.

Abu Dhabi

Coucher de Soleil sur la plage d'Abu Dhabi

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Abu Dhabi, Capital City

Sunset on a beach in Abu Dhabi











Made up of several islands, Abu Dhabi is full of beautiful landscapes,
long stretches of beach and even a few mangroves.
All along the Corniche, which up until a few years ago was just a simple dock,
thousands of people get together on the weekends to spend time together,
drink coffee or simply watch the sunset.











Made up of several islands, Abu Dhabi is full of beautiful landscapes,
long stretches of beach and even a few mangroves.
All along the Corniche, which up until a few years ago was just a simple dock,
thousands of people get together on the weekends to spend time together,
drink coffee or simply watch the sunset.

The Corniche – Abu Dhabi

Aperçu de nuit de la Grande Mosquée Sheikh Zayed.

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Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque

Night lighting on the Great Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi










A giant building in white marble, this mosque was
commissioned by Sheik Zayed, the founder of the UAE.
His mausoleum was built in the heart of the mosque.

Extremely imposing with its 80 domes and four minarets
at more than 100 meters tall, the building is made all the more magnificent
by the flower motifs done in semi-precious stones that cover the walls.










A giant building in white marble, this mosque was
commissioned by Sheik Zayed, the founder of the UAE.
His mausoleum was built in the heart of the mosque.

Extremely imposing with its 80 domes and four minarets
at more than 100 meters tall, the building is made all the more magnificent
by the flower motifs done in semi-precious stones that cover the walls.

Abu Dhabi

Aperçu de la Grande Mosquée d'Abu Dhabi

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Meeting Place

Outside alleys of the Great Mosque Sheikh Zayed












All around the mosque, long passageways let tens of thousands of people visit on religious holidays.
Water, a necessity for desert countries, greatly accentuates the feeling of calm and peace.











All around the mosque, long passageways let
tens of thousands of people visit on religious holidays.

Water, a necessity for desert countries,
greatly accentuates the feeling of calm and peace.

Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi

Aperçu de la plus haute tour du monde, la Burj Khalifa




De début juin à fin juillet, la présence des dauphins communs est particulièrement attendue
le long du littoral de la Wild Coast, par les passionnés de vie sous-marine.

Car ce sont les acteurs clés pour l'observation d'un phénomène incroyable: le sardine run!

Ce sont en effet des milliards de sardines qui migrent en banc vers le nord,
le long de la côte Est d'Afrique du Sud,
entraînant avec eux une grande variété de prédateurs!

Des centaines, parfois même des milliers de dauphins communs, grâce à leurs techniques de chasse élaborées,
rassemblent alors les sardines en bancs compacts coincés sous la surface de l'eau.

Dans une véritable frénésie alimentaire, de multiples variétés de requins, de dauphins
et d'oiseaux océaniques se regroupent autour de ce festin, lorsqu'il ne s'agit pas également des baleines de Bryde.

L'occasion rêvée pour observer un phénomène naturel rare et époustouflant...
et approcher de nombreuses espèces de requins sans avoir à les attirer par de la nourriture.

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A Giant in Dubai

The Burj Khalifa, the highest tower in the world, seen from the Dubai Mall










As the City of Excess,
there can be no doubt that you’re in Dubai
when you look at the tallest tower in the world.
828 meters high, the tower is located in the heart of the city,
dwarfing the skyscrapers surrounding it.

You can take all this in and more from the largest
shopping center in the world, the Dubai Mall.










As the City of Excess,
there can be no doubt that you’re in Dubai
when you look at the tallest tower in the world.
828 meters high, the tower is located
in the heart of the city,
dwarfing the skyscrapers surrounding it.

You can take all this in and more from
the largest shopping center in the world,
the Dubai Mall.

Burj Khalifa – Dubaï

Bivouac dans le désert, à proximité d'Abu Dhabi

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Among the Skyscrapers

Bivouac in the desert near Abu Dhabi











Once you get out of the city for a few dozen kilometers,
you feel like you’re in a different world!

This is a reminder that the UAE is above all an immense desert
that only harbors a handful of rare and precious oases.











Once you get out of the city for a few dozen kilometers,
you feel like you’re in a different world!

This is a reminder that the UAE is above all an immense desert
that only harbors a handful of rare and precious oases.

Outside of Abu Dhabi

Aperçu de flamants roses à Abu Dhabi

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Natural Wealth

Pink flamingos in the Abu Dhabi lagoon











Despite the desert environment, the mangroves, wadis
and mountains house different varieties of animals.
You can find about 400 kinds of bird, fifty different land reptiles
and twenty different mammals, including endangered species
such as the Arabian gazelle, the Arabian tahr and the incredibly rare Arabian leopard.











Despite the desert environment, the mangroves, wadis
and mountains house different varieties of animals.
You can find about 400 kinds of bird, fifty different land reptiles
and twenty different mammals, including endangered species
such as the Arabian gazelle, the Arabian tahr and the incredibly rare Arabian leopard.

Flamingos – Outside of Abu Dhabi

– Seven emirates, with Abu Dhabi as their capital.

– A federal state surrounded by Saudi Arabia, the Persian Golf and Oman.

– 2/3 of the country is made up of the Rub’ al Khali sand desert.

– 110 inhabitants/km2, only 17% of whom are Emirati.

– 86% of the population lives in the cities, mainly Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Chardja…

…mainly to make space for the giant stretches of desert!

Sand furrows in the Emirati desert
Rub’ al Khali Desert

Ever since the first oil rigs were built in the 1960s, the Emirates have developed very quickly.

In 1971, they joined together in the UAE and have ever since enjoyed a lot of influence in world politics.

Indian, European and Asian expats abound, largely outstripping the number of locals. New infrastructure projects spring up daily and the cities are constantly getting bigger, eating up space on the seas and in the desert.

Night traffic in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi

Made up of several islands, Abu Dhabi is full of beautiful landscapes, long stretches of beach and even a few mangroves. All along the Corniche, which up until a few years ago was just a simple dock, thousands of people get together on the weekends to spend time together, drink coffee or simply watch the sunset.

Sunset on a beach in Abu Dhabi
The Corniche – Abu Dhabi

A giant building in white marble, this mosque was commissioned by Sheik Zayed, the founder of the UAE. His mausoleum was built in the heart of the mosque.

Extremely imposing with its 80 domes and four minarets at more than 100 meters tall, the building is made all the more magnificent by the flower motifs done in semi-precious stones that cover the walls.

Night lighting on the Great Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi

All around the mosque, long passageways let tens of thousands of people visit on religious holidays.

Water, a necessity for desert countries, greatly accentuates the feeling of calm and peace.

Outside alleys of the Great Mosque Sheikh Zayed
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi

As the City of Excess, there can be no doubt that you’re in Dubai when you look at the tallest tower in the world. 828 meters high, the tower is located in the heart of the city, dwarfing the skyscrapers surrounding it.

You can take all this in and more from the largest shopping center in the world, the Dubai Mall.

The Burj Khalifa, the highest tower in the world, seen from the Dubai Mall
Burj Khalifa - Dubaï

Once you get out of the city for a few dozen kilometers, you feel like you’re in a different world!

This is a reminder that the UAE is above all an immense desert that only harbors a handful of rare and precious oases.

Bivouac in the desert near Abu Dhabi
Outside of Abu Dhabi

Despite the desert environment, the mangroves, wadis and mountains house different varieties of animals. You can find about 400 kinds of bird, fifty different land reptiles and twenty different mammals, including endangered species such as the Arabian gazelle, the Arabian tahr and the incredibly rare Arabian leopard.

Pink flamingos in the Abu Dhabi lagoon
Flamingos – Outside of Abu Dhabi

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